Gearing for the world’s toughest run

As a trial run for the first international and world’s toughest ultra marathon, Snowman Run that will be held on October 13, next year, seven runners successfully completed the five-day Snowman Calibration Run, 2019 on October 17.

The runners covered over 300km taking them to altitudes of 5,320m above sea level from Gasa Dzongkhag to Bumthang.

The run aims to bring the global community together to join hands in committing to combating climate change.

A physical course instructor at the Millitary Training Centre in Tencholing and a member of Bhutan Amateur Athletic Federation, hailing from Khebisa in Dagana Dzongkhag, Sangay Wangchuk stood first after he finished the race in 36 hours, 17 minutes and 19 seconds.

He was awarded a cash prize of Nu 150,000 and received an air ticket to travel to Singapore by Druk Air.  

In short by one minute, farmer from Rukubji, Wangduephodrang, Tandin, 28, stood second, received prize money of Nu 100,000, and was offered a ticket to Bodhgaya by Bhutan Airlines.

The third position was bagged by a yak herder from Sephu, wangduephodrang, 38 years old Dorji Tshewang. He received a cash prize of Nu 75,000.

The Snowman Calibration Run kicked off from Gasa Dzong parking at 6am coinciding with the joyous occasion of the 8th Royal Wedding Anniversary of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty the Queen.

The four Snowman Run aid stations were identified along the trail. The aid stations are established for the runners to halt nights for the five staged days equipped with an emergency response team, and essential supplies.

The run started from Rodophu (4,215m) and runners had to cover 63km to reach the next base at Tsojo in Lunana (4,069m). The first runner to reach the station took 6 hours, 10 minutes, and the rest took a maximum of 7 hours. 

Towards the third station, Geche Wom (4,500m), the runners crossed the highest point of the run, Gophula (5,470m). The runners completed in less than 7 hours completing 51kms of the day.

The runners reached the 4th station, Dhur Tsachu (3,900m) completing 39 kms of the day from Geche Wom.

On day five, the runners completed the race covering 62km and were received by the Snowman Run board members, Bumthang Dzongkhag officials and students in Chamkhar town, Bumthang.

This ultra marathon takes runners across the breathtaking, pristine landscapes of Lunana lakes, glaciers, majestic mountains, shrubs, isolated villages, and the highest places within the Himalayan mountain range.

The unforgiving terrain tests the true test of strength, resilience, and willpower of even the most daring and fittest athletes.

Bhutan, through the Snowman Run, also invites world leaders and the global community to take bold and transformative actions that will avert the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced.

The seven runners were selected based on their positions held when running  from Jewlila or Chelela to Kalila (Haa), out of 29 registered Bhutanese participants. The runners covered 23kms, crossing over 4,250 metres.

These participants travelled to Laya on September 28 to acclimatize the environment and practiced above the tree line everyday and come down to Gasa on October 10.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu