WILTSHIRE international marathon runner Holly Rush will take a huge stride outside her comfort zone when she tackles the Manaslu Mountain Trail Race in Nepal, writes KEVIN FAHEY.
No ordinary race, the event is held over seven days starting on November 13 and covers a total of 212k– 132.5 miles – through some of Nepal’s most beautiful Himalayan scenery including a part-navigation of the magnificent Manaslu, the world’s eighth highest mountain.
Rush will join a small elite field attempting to run it as fast as possible, although the week may be more a battle of survival as she will have to survive a 5,000m-plus pass, negotiate fearsome climbs and descents and sleep in monasteries along the way.
“To be honest I can’t wait for it now,” said Rush, who lives in Frome Road.
“It is going to be an amazing experience, a real adventure and very testing.
“I am under no illusion that it is going to be extremely tough as it is so different but I am really looking forward to it and I’ll be trying to do well.”
With appearances in the marathon at both the European Championships and Commonwealth Games two years ago on her CV there is no doubting Rush’s ability to perform at the highest level.
And she has methodically prepared for her Himalayan adventure by incorporating very long runs into her training.
“I have been doing 20 milers back to back and also running with a pack and carrying water, which I have never had to do before,” she added.
“I have always wanted to do something like this and I think my strength could lie in ultra races.
“But I still want to run a faster marathon and I would be very disappointed if I didn’t break 2hrs 35mins before my career is over.”
Rush’s first objective in the Manaslu Mountain Trail Race will be just to finish, with the stress on the body day in, day out at altitude a big step into the unknown.
The Team Bath AC runner continued her build-up with victory in the Windsor half marathon on Sunday.
Rush finished 14th overall and easily top woman from a field of 4,087 runners in a time of 1:19.51.