The fourth edition of the Ladakh Marathon is all set to kickoff on the 13th of September. The first eco friendly marathon took place in 2012, two years after the floods that ravaged the area. It is the world’s highest Marathon at a height of 11,500 ft. The first year saw 1500 runners and the number has been rising with every passing year.
The second and third editions held on the 8th of September 2013 and 14th of September 2014 respectively have seen even bigger response, with 3rd edition having more than 3000 participants from Ladakh, India and around the world.
The full marathon will be of the standard length of 42.1 Km, the Ladakh Marathon is also a full member of the AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Distance Races). There are four different races, 7 km Race, Half marathon, Marathon and Khardungla Challenge.
The 42.1 km. course veers west to Changspa, loosing elevation as one proceeds towards the Army Officer’s mess and Army general hospital and the Leh Airport. Runners then go past the Hall of fame from where the race heads for Spituk gompa, passing through the village of Spituk crossing the mighty river Indus. After this, the race passes the village of Palam, and past the village of Chushot.
From here, runners get magnificent views of the Stok range and the Indus valley. Heading south towards Shey they take a loop just before the Shashi Bridge at Chushot. Passing through the village of Chushot, the course is lined with Willow and Poplar trees as we continue to the village of Choglamsar where groups of runners again cross the River Indus.
From here the course gradually ascends and passes the summer residence of H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama and the Mahabodhi campus. After this the final 2km run is on the Leh-Manali highway before finishing at the Ladakh Public School.
- 07 KM Race: This is the shortest race but you still need to be in good physical condition to run at 11,500ft. It is also the most fun and enthusiastic race featuring everybody from school students and tourists jostling for space at the start.
- Half Marathon: The half marathon takes you through the town of Leh and its outskirts and includes a loop that starts at the Shanti Stupa and goes past the village of Choglamsar.
- Full Marathon: The world’s highest marathon begins and ends in Leh but the route takes you through the outskirts and the stunning Leh Valley where the road crosses the Indus River several times.
- The Khardungla Challenge: This ultra-marathon is a 72km race for the elite runner who wants to push the limits of endurance. It starts in the scenic Khardung village and then goes uphill all the way to the Khardung La (17,618ft) along the world’s highest motorable road past summer yak pastures and stunning views of the East Karakoram mountains of Ladakh. The good thing is that once you reach the pass, it’s all downhill
All races except the Khardung La Challenge start at 6 a.m. from Shanti Stupa, Leh.
The Khardung La Challenge starts at 3 a.m. from Khardung Village. Participants need to report to the Ladakh Marathon office a day before the race day. They will be transferred to Khardung village, and accommodation and food will be taken care of. During September the morning temperature is about 8-10° Celsius, so runners should carry a light jacket and track suit.
What will runners receive?
Bibs and T – shirts for the race 07 KM Run Ladakh for Fun will be distributed from 8th September onwards at the Ladakh Marathon office in Leh.
Timing Chips, Bibs and T-shirts for all other three races will be distributed from 11th September onwards at the Ladakh Marathon office in Leh.
Medical support antd Volunteers:
The race is being organized with the full support of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) in Leh that will be providing support for crowd and traffic control as well as medical support including ambulances, doctors and nurses on standby. Volunteers equipped with walkie-talkie will be situated at regular intervals along the course as will other volunteers on mountain bikes. Water, juice, glucose, fruits, and garbage cans and toilet facilities, as well as emergency vans and medical support will be available along the course at different intervals. A sweep bus will follow Runners who cannot continue and bring them to the finish point.
The weather is supposed to be at a maximum of 12 degrees celsius. So runners can expect a cold day with the weather dropping to -5 degrees celsius. There is no chance of rain and the Sun will shine through the day.
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