Embracing the Adventure: Nepal’s Capital to Country Multi-Day Ultra

The Capital to Country Ultra Marathon brings in a variety of competitors — all with different goals for this five-day stage race.

By on April 23, 2024 | Comments

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by guest contributor, Simon Hollis, the race director for the Capital to Country Multi-Day Ultra.]

In the midst of his ascent of a mountainside in Nepal, Dharmesh Mistry (U.K.) paused to absorb the breathtaking panorama stretching out before him. The beautiful hills, the meandering river below, and the distant snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas created a scene of unparalleled beauty. This was no ordinary run or race; this was the 2023 Capital to Country Multi-Day Ultra.

Capital to Country Multi Day Ultra - Shrine

One of many shrines of Nepal. All photos: Adrian Howes Photography

Taking place over five days, starting on November 24 and running to December 1, 2023, this self-sufficient 123-mile race traversed the stunning landscapes of Nepal, from the bustling streets of Kathmandu to remote villages nestled amidst rugged terrain. For Mistry, a seasoned ultrarunner who has completed challenges like the Marathon des Sables in Morocco, this race was a dream come true — a fusion of the grueling climbs of UTMB and the desert endurance of the Marathon des Sables. Mistry embarked on this adventure hoping to relish every moment of the unique experience.

Mistry was joined by fellow competitor Tarne Westcott (U.K.), who had previously attempted UTMB. Westcott found the relaxed atmosphere of the Capital to Country race a refreshing change, allowing him to immerse himself fully in the journey without the pressure of competition. Yet, the competitive spirit inevitably emerged, and Westcott found himself inadvertently racing against fellow ultramarathoners amidst the rugged Nepalese terrain. Connecting historic temples to breathtaking viewpoints, each stage of the race had challenging steep climbs and technical trails that revealed the beauty and diversity of Nepal.

Capital to Country Multi Day Ultra - Race start

The start of the race, leaving Kathmandu, Nepal.

For Helen Ramwell (U.K.), the race held a deeper significance, providing solace and closure following the loss of her father. Running through the mountains of Nepal became a spiritual journey, and she felt him with her for the journey. The race was a way to bid farewell while embracing the raw beauty of the landscape.

In contrast, Emily Moore (Australia), an Ironman triathlete, approached the race with a different perspective, exploring Nepalese culture and connecting with the locals. Her experience powerhiking through Nepal’s villages and temples became a testament to the warmth and hospitality of the area’s people. During her race, she enjoyed a wedding and a trip to a school! In her opinion, it was worth adding an extra 10 minutes to a stage in order to interact with people in the villages.

Capital to Country Multi Day Ultra - Emily Moore - powerhiking

Emily Moore (left) powerhiking the beautiful route.

As the race concluded, amidst cheers from locals and in the towering presence of the Himalayas, each participant carried with them memories of an unforgettable journey — a journey that transcended mere competition and offered a profound connection to nature, culture, and the human spirit.

As the Capital to Country Multi-Day Ultra prepares to return to Nepal in 2024 for another edition starting November 25, the allure of this unique adventure beckons once more. For those seeking to challenge their limits amidst the splendor of the Himalayas, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Call for Comments

  • When racing in unique destinations, do you focus more on the race or take the time to enjoy the culture?
  • Have you had the opportunity to race in Nepal?
Capital to Country Multi Day Ultra - Monkey Temple - Kathmandu

One of the residents of Kathmandu’s famed monkey temple.

Capital to Country Multi Day Ultra - Runners exploring Kathmandu

Runners exploring Kathmandu before the start of the race.

Capital to Country Multi Day Ultra - Local supporters

Local children who came out to support the race.

Capital to Country Multi Day Ultra - Himalayas

A spectacular view of the Himalayas along the route of the Capital to Country Multi-Day Ultra.

Guest Writer
Guest Writer is a contributor to iRunFar.com.