Himalayan Pioneer

Jan Turner

Every event I created in Nepal was inspired by the ideas and efforts of the people that I met there and especially by the incredible spirit of the Nepalese people.

A Little About Me

I was born in Bermuda in 1957 and moved to England in 1966. After attending Wymondham College as a boarder for seven years up to 1975, I was accepted to do a foundation course in Art and Design at Great Yarmouth college of Arts and Technology. After Yarmouth I went on to study Fine Art Painting at St Martins where I studied for 3 years and attained a first class Honours Degree in Fine Art Painting. I was then accepted on the MA course of Fine Art Painting at the Royal College of Art where I studied for a further 3 years.

Events in Nepal

I first went to Nepal in 1981 between studying at St Martins and the Royal College of Art. I was travelling around Asia painting and 'accidently' ended up in Nepal whilst waiting to fly home from Delhi. It was love at first sight. Whilst at the royal College I made two more trips to Nepal ostensibly to paint. This got me thinking that when my grant ran out I would have to find another way to return to Nepal. That was where the idea of organising sporting events came from. And the rest, as they say, is history.

If you have participated in any of my events and have photos of yourself doing the event I will happily include them on this site with a full credit.

Everest Marathon

The Everest Marathon was conceived by Tony Hunt and I in late 1984 when, inspired Band Aid and The London Marathon, we decided to organise the highest marathon in the World to raise money for Nepalese charities.
In November 1985 we went on a reccy and held an impromptu half marathon from Namche Bazar to Tengboche and back. A small number of tourists took it on board and the idea was confirmed to us as a good one.
On returning to England I advertised for participants and recieved 35 interested enquiries. A trekking agent (Bufo Ventures) also showed an interest in organising the logistics.
It wasn't until the press started to run scare stories saying the idea was mad and people would die that people sent their money to participate. The Daily Telegraph wrote a ludicrous half page article entitled "Marathon Madness on Mountain" .
At one point there were two versions of the event. It is now known as the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon.

Annapurna Triathlon

This iconic race was Nepal's first Triathlon. It was conceived by me and organised with the help of Jane King and John Williams and a lot of enthusiasm from Andy Brown, Ian Willox and Bernie Shrooesbri.
It took place in Pokhara, using the trekking paths around lake Phewa Tal and the lake itself for the swim.
We organised it for 3 years before before Ramesh Bhattachan took the reins and produced a first class event for the next 4 years.

Kathmandu Marathon

On the 30th of January 1993 saw the first official Kathmandu Marathon. I was asked by the Nepalese Government to create an international event, which I organised for two years with Ajay and Sam Simha
It took a year to organise. The main difficulty was the traffic which the government was not prepared to stop. The course was designed by me and measured by Hugh Jones from the Association of International Marathons.
I was the race director and was told that I could not participate.... I actually had to wear a suit for the duration of the event which for me was infinitely more testing.
It was not until the political turmoil in Nepal settled down that it resumed and is now well established under a different organisation.

Annapurna 100

On October 31st 1995 Sir Ian Botham, World renowned cricketer, started a new 100k race - one of the most difficult 100k races in the World.
I first thought up this event in Dec 1983 when I was rushing back to Pokhara from Tatopani, in a pair of Doc Martens shoes, with a back pack.
I designed the original course, Tony Hunt measured it, Ramesh Bhattachan rationalised it. With the support of Sir Ian Botham and Nike UK
Twelve local runners proved that a run from Pokhara to Poon Hill and back was possible in less than 12 hours. The route normally would take an average trekker 5 days.
The winner took 11 hours 55 minutes and 55 seconds I directed the first four races before Richard Ball took it on and turned it into an internationally acclaimed event.
The event became a casualty of Covid and is at present looking for new management.When it returns try to get there for an unforgettable experience, whether participating or spectating!

Everest Ultra

In April of 2009 on a family 'holiday' I took my family to Everest to climb Kala Pattar and do the reccy for the Everest Ultra.
A year later on the 10th of April 2010 came the first Everest Ultra, conceived again by me, organised by Ramesh Bhattachan and pioneered by 15 runners.
Starting at Gorak Shep and finishing in Lukla. Starting at -5 degrees and finishing at 90 degrees it went from a height of 18000 feet down to 8497 feet before climbing back to 9380 feet.
Going from glacial moraines, ice, rock, precarious bridges to trekking paths, forests, river beds and rural farmland, this is surely one of the greatest races on the planet.
Ramesh and I organised this event three times before handing it on to the organisors of the Hillary Tenzing Everest Marathon. They have modified the course and if anything made it even more challenging.

The Dogs of Kathmandu

Over the years I have been pursuing a Photographic Project called "The Dogs of Kathmandu"
The idea around the project is to give an impression of the city by photographing the dogs that live there.

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