After two successful Kathmandu Ultra events, and many other shorter events held in the Shivapuri-National park, the new park warden (Chief Conservation Officer) Kamal Jung Kunwar.
Inexplicably he decided that a running event (ours) would not be given permission until the rule book was amended, even though his two predecessors had been happy to work together with us.
Why? It is not clear. While clearly stating it is was not against any law or rule to hold a running event in the national park, it did not explicitly say in the park rule book that “running events are allowed”. It’s fine to land a helicopter in the park, drive a bus or jeep in, have a mass picnic, ascend to the temple en mass for religious festivals, drive dirt-bikes in or go in a s a group of mountain bikers – but no running races.
Normally rule books say what is not permitted. When we know what is not allowed, then everyone can abide by the rules, keep the peace and harmony, and enjoy the park environment.
In this case, we’ve waited, petitioned, called in favours from higher-up people, pleaded, persisted, but no result. A letter was written to suggest that the rules be amended, and it is passing so many desks and so many pens in the bureaucracy before it will result in the 349 page national park rule book finally being updated to reflect the fact that running races are permitted.
We held out hoping this would happen for us in time, but a “stop calling me” style of customer service from those responsible means we have no hope of helping the process along.
A boring story maybe, but has meant a hell of a lot of work for us – we have to relocate the race and design four courses within 10 days over Christmas.
However – we’ve been working on some great trails around the Phulchowki hill which at over 2900m is the highest in the Kathmandu Valley. We’ll update you very,very soon!