By Tenzin Dharpo
Kunchok Dolma at the finish line/facebook pic
DHARAMSHALA, Sep. 10: A Tibetan woman has bagged top honors while a Tibetan man has come third at the 2018 edition of the world’s highest altitude marathon held on Friday at Ladakh’s Leh city. The 72 km Khardung-La Ultra-Marathon Challenge demands hyper fitness and endurance from runners who run past the world’s highest motorable road, the Khardung la point.
Kunchok Dolma finished the 72 km race fastest with the overall timing of just over 11 hours in the women’s race while Karma Soepa finished third with the timing of just over 7 hours in the men’s race, the organisers told Phayul. Both the Tibetans who finished the race carried the Tibetan flag. The two belong to the Sonamling Tibetan settlement in Leh, Ladakh.
The race in its 7th edition, has had growing local and international participation vying for honors in the four disciples of the marathon in both the men's and women's category. The 2018 Ladakh marathon has attracted over 6000 runners with 2000 of them from various parts of India and over a 100 from 23 different countries such as Japan and Germany.
Murup from Rimo Expedition, the founder and organisers of the ‘Ladakh marathon’ told Phayul that the platform provides local youngsters a home-grown perspective on fitness and competitive running. He said that all past winners in all the disciplines have been Indians and that no foreign runner had been successful in winning the high altitude race since its inception in 2012.
Among the four disciplines of the marathon, the 72 km race from Leh city to Khardung pass and back poses the greatest challenge with the race course jutting up to an altitude of 11,500ft.