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AWOO Team Nepal – 2017 OXFAM Trailwalker Champions

AWOO Team Nepal won the 2017 OXFAM Trailwalker. The boys successfully defended their 2016 title. Purna Tamang (team captain), Tirtha Tamang, Bed Sunuwar and Samir Tamang finished the 100km long race along the MacLehose trail in 12h01min. It was an amazing team performance on an unusually hot November day.

We caught up with the AWOO Team Nepal boys yesterday just before they boarded the plane for a casual chat about their 2017 OXFAM Trailwalker experience. Here is a transcript as accurate as can be given the noisy surroundings at the HKIA departure hall ๐Ÿ™‚

Q: Purna, as a team captain, how do you compare 2016 and 2017 Trailwalker – which one was more difficult?

Purna: This year. This time it was very very hot. Our final time this year was not very good.

Q: So the heat was the main problem. What did you do during the race to manage the heat?

Purna: Sorry, this question will pass to Mr Uttam Khatri ๐Ÿ™‚

Q: So, Uttam, you were their support runner – what did the guys change once it got so hot?

Uttam: They all drank more water, tried to keep pace easier.

Q: Last year you had no support runner. Was it better this year having Uttam as support runner?

Purna: Yes, very good!

Q: (to Uttam) – So what did you do, what was your job?

Uttam: I am very happy to support.

All the guys: Uttam did very good job, very good job! (Uttam ran almost 60km with the team)

Uttam: For me it was different feeling. Three times I ran Trailwalker with no backpack, this time as a support with heavy backpack ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Purna: But overall no problem. Our plan was to win – so our team is very happy. No problem, no worry ๐Ÿ™‚

Q: So what do you think about your support stations.

Uttam: Support this year was very good. In the past when I ran here (Uttam won Trailwalker in 2006, 2012 and 2013) no support, only Ramesh (Bhattachan) supporting.

Q: Yes, I remember a photo of one your guys from 2013 or 2014 at one checkpoint just drinking water from hand, no cup, no bottle, no supportโ€ฆ

Q: For most of our crew this was 3rd time supporting AWOO Team Nepal. Especially after last year we learned that we have to speed up our logistics in order to keep up with you guys. But what else you think we should improve ?

All the guys: No, no, no – no problem, support was good! No complain!

Bed: Every support point we had everything, all the food, congee, fruits, gel, power bar, lots of food – perfect. We are very very happy.

Q: Which one of you was the pace maker – who was deciding the pace?

Bed: We kept changing. Everybody took turns.

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Q: I could see last year when I was running little bit with you from Shing Mun to Needle Hill – you were running up the Needle Hill. This year you did more walking up the Needle Hill. Was this because of the heat that you were walking this year.

Bed: Yea. No problems just to take it easier.

Q: Also last year from CP9 to finish it took you 1h5mins. We were expecting this year maybe a little bit longer, may be 1h10min. But I think you were even slower than that. So did you slow down after CP9 or you kept the same pace? Because if we can believe the timing you were still quite quick between CP8 and CP9 and after that you slowed down.

Bed: Slowed down, slowed down, just jogging. We knew that 2nd team was quite a lot behind. So we were sure they canโ€™t pass us and we wanted to enjoy the last part.

Q: Maybe one more question to Samir. You are the first time winner this time, right? So how do you feel, first time Trailwalker winner.

Samir: I won individual races many times. But this is the first time I am a team race winner. I am very happy.

Q: And all of you are very strong individual runners, you have won many big races. What is the difference when you run on your own and when you run as a team ? How is it different?

Samir: Team, team is a team work, supporting each other.

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Q: Do you like it?

Samir: The team was managed well, the leading guy (pointing at Purna) did good, very strong. Team race is better. When I am tired another guy gives me support, cooperation is very good.

Q: One more question for Bed. Last year when I saw you running everybody was happy but you looked a little tired. This year you arrived at every CP, support point with a big smile. You looked very happy running this year. You looked like you enjoyed it a lot more this year.

Bed: I know I know (with a smile on his face). This year very very easy feeling because we ran slow. And also this year I felt very strong. Last year at some points I was struggling a bit. This time very easy for me ๐Ÿ™‚ .