The Sixth Mussoorie Writers’ Mountain Festival was arguably the best ever this year with a wonderful array of mountaineers, authors, poets and musicians entertaining packed crowds over the four day event.
This year’s festival culminated in the second Mussoorie Half Marathon on Sunday, which saw runners make their way out to Everest House from Mall Road and back to Woodstock School, one of the most gruelling half marathons in India.
The men’s race was won by Woodstock Head of PE Steve Luukkonen in a time of 1hr 39 minutes. In second place was Deepak Kumar followed by Surinder Chand of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police in third.
In the women’s event Kaaren Matthias, a doctor with the Emmanual Health Association and a Woodstock parent, took first place in 2hrs 01 mins. She was followed home by Woodstock PE teachers Shannon Schultz and Christina Hazlett in second and third places respectively.
In the team relay event, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police took first place, followed by the Grade 8 team from Woodstock, while the Grade 11 team took third.
On Saturday at the festival doctors Jeph and Kaaren Mathias talk about how they became the first team to navigate the entire length of the Mekong River from its source in the Tibetan Plateau through China’s Yunnan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Polish mountaineering legend Krzysztof Wielicki, the first man to to climb Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, and Lhotse in the winter, told stories of his experiences in the Himalaya, while other highlights included animated films on folklore from Sikkim and Arunachel Pradesh, and a session on the folk theatre of Uttarakhand by Dr D R Purohit.
Ed Beavan, communications associate at Woodstock School, said he felt this year’s festival was one of the best ever.
“My congratulations to organiser Steve Alter, the line-up was superb this year with a wide variety of subjects covered. Author William Dalrymple was particularly entertaining, while Rom Whitaker’s film on leopards in India was informative, exciting and scary! I’m looking forward to next year’s festival already, although this one will be hard to beat!”