Khardung La ( Khardungla Pass) is a pass in the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh. Khardung La is quite famous now and it is also known as the Highest Motorable Road in the World. Due to high altitude, many people suffer from a lack of oxygen. In this terrain and altitude, Ladakh conducts the World’s Highest Ultra Marathon every year. Yes, you heard it correctly! It goes by the name Khardung La Challenge which is for 72km. This race is one of the toughest and ultimate challenging endurance race for serious runners who wants to push their limits to the extreme. Here the proverb “ Only the fittest survives” goes perfect as only the fittest and experienced runners can complete the race in these harsh conditions. Here the runners have to run 60 km above 4000m (14,000 ft.) the sea level which makes it even more difficult. Hence, a maximum of 150 runners is only permitted every year.
The Ultra Marathon Race was going to be held on 10-13 September 2020 but due to COVID -19 Pandemic, the race has been canceled. It will now be conducted next year on 10 September 2021 to ensure everyone can participate and make it a memorable event.
So basically the whole race of 72 km is divided into four parts. There are 4 cut off times and you have to reach the checkpoint before the cut off time. Failing to reach the checkpoint before the cut off time will make you leave and retire from the race. Otherwise, you might also get disqualified.
Not everyone who wishes to run the marathon is permitted as they have some eligibility criteria to be followed. The following are the eligibility criteria and if you come in any one of the categories you can participate :
a) Two full marathons under 5 hrs in the past two years
b) Complete two ultra-marathon races over 70 km in the past two years.
c) Complete a full marathon under 5 hrs and an ultra-marathon over 70 km in the past two years prior to the race day.
Also for the participants, hydration points and medical support are being provided after every 5km. Water facility, energy drinks and some snacks are given to the participants to keep them hydrated and boost energy.
So if you want to participate and if you fit in any of the categories, go on and register for this marathon!! It’s truly gonna be a lifetime experience to run the World’s Highest Ultra Marathon and also you can blend in the nature and picturesque views of the mountains and to push your limits.