Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Ladakh Marathon KhardungLa challenge

Over the past 1 week, i have been reading about the road to KhardungLa and various blogs that talk about high-altitude running. The KhardungLa pass also called as the "Pass of the Lower Castle" is what connects Leh valley with Nubra valley and further on to Siachen 40 kms North of Leh. It offers magnificent views of the Karakoram range to the North and also the Stok range in Leh

 The 71 km KhardungLa challenge though in the image below looks like a descending worm to Leh, is actually a tortuous and involves extremely steep ups and downs. 
The road consists of steady linear gradients and almost 40-60 ft (4-6 floors) elevations at turns

Being the end of summer when we do the run, there could be snowfall at the pass. The roads may be as smooth as when RedBull pulled off this feat, 

or if the roads have been battered by the heavy tourist traffic of the season gone by, it could be like this

For perspective, the last time i visited KhardungLa pass in a tourist vehicle in 2009, i felt dizzy, sleepy and had a massive headache thanks to the rare air (low O2). As can be seen, these bikers seem to have been affected by Altitude Sickness

The challenge here is not only the rare air and a distance that needs to be covered in 13 hrs, but also the extreme temperatures.

Last year, it was snowing and -5 deg C at the 3 am start of the race which may lead to the pass looking like a snowfield. I would be probably running with a couple of layers which not only adds to the weight but also slows down running..err...walking speed considerably

 and then a blazing Sun at noon causing a hapless runner to shed all the layers and run down to better oxygenated air. 

 Why am I doing this madness???

I am supporting a cause thats very close to my heart. I am supporting Welfare of Stray Dogs ( 

The Ladakhi runners finished this damn thing in 6-7 hrs last year with a time difference of just 1 min seperating the top 2 runners. 
Results: Khardung La Challenge 71.12 Kms

1st Shabir Husain 6:35
2nd Rigzen Nurboo 6:36
3rd Tsering Gyatso 6:42

I am hoping to train HARD and try and atleast at worst finish this run and at best in 10-12 hrs 
 Do follow my blog that will keep you posted on my training, the challenges, updates on some phenomenal work done by WSD, trivia and of course lots of photographs!!!

P.S. - none of the pictures in this post are mine, all picked up from google images,


  1. I think you are crazy! But do it for the dogs I say....
    All the best. Train hard. Looking forward to seeing some fantastic photos on the blog

  2. I think you are crazy! But do it for the dogs I say....
    All the best. Train hard. Looking forward to seeing some fantastic photos on the blog

  3. Amazing.. enjoy your run. also, your supporting a great cause **woof woof all the way**

  4. It must have been a great experience to participate in Ladakh-Khardungla marathon. Nestled between the majestic Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, Leh is a beautiful land with fantastical and surreal landscapes. Also, explore various Leh hotels for accommodation.