Nepal holds high-altitude marathon to mark second quake anniversary

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(170427) -- RASUWA, April 27, 2017 (Xinhua) -- Runners take part in the second Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) International Langtang Marathon at Kanjin monastery, with an altitude of 4000 meters marking the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake 2015 in Rasuwa, Nepal on April 25, 2017. (Xinhua/Sunil Sharma)(wll)

RASUWA, NEPAL (Xinhua) – Marking the second anniversary of the 2015 devastating earthquake, Nepal on Tuesday organized the International Langtang Marathon 2017.

Over 100 Nepali and foreign trekkers participated in the marathon that started from Kanjin monastery in Langtang Valley, located around 4,000 meters above the sea level.

The full marathon in both male and female categories was organized by the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) to promote Langtang as a safe destination for foreign trekkers.

“Langtang valley got severely damaged during the earthquake. However, we have rebuilt all the damaged infrastructure and the trail is completely safe now. We organized this marathon to spread positive message to the world that Langtang has already bounced back,” Surya Bahadur Ghimire, spokesperson of TAAN told Xinhua.

Langtang, located to the north of the capital city Kathmandu, is one of the most popular trekking destinations among the foreign trekkers. The valley is renowned for the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, lakes, flora and fauna and rich culture of local inhabitants.

Over 300 people including 80 foreign trekkers had lost their lives in Langtang region alone in the devastating earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and made more than 500,000 homeless.

“I am very delighted to be a part of this marathon that has been organized with a noble cause to revive Langtang’s tourism,” 21-year-old Sarita Basi, winner under the females’ category, shared with Xinhua.

Basi, who works for Nepal Army, completed the 42-kilometer-long distance in 5 hours 13 minutes. Under males’ category, Hom Lal Shrestha became the winner completing the distance in 3 hours 34 minutes.

Organizing the international-level marathon, Nepal is also on the move to promote itself as a major destination for sports tourism.

The first edition of Langtang Marathon was held in Gosaikunda Lake area located in the same district where Nepal also held ski fest in December.

Keshav Bista, member secretary of the government-owned Nepal Sports Council said, “Langtang Marathon is a historical event that has contributed to attracting more foreign tourists to this quake-ravaged country, particularly in Langtang.”