India on Sunday organised the Snow Marathon Lahaul, the highest in the world, in Lahaul & Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh. Conceptualised by Guarav Schimar and organised by Reach India with support from Lahaul Spiti district administration saw the participation of over 100 sportspersons.
Schimar said: “This was the first time that a snow marathon was organised in the country.”
“Till now, snow marathons were conducted in countries of the cold icy regions such as the polar circles, Antarctica, Russia and northern Europe. With Snow Marathon Lahaul, India not only stepped into the elite club of countries where Snow Marathons are organised but by organising it at an elevation of above 10,000 feet, it now holds the distinction of organizing a snow marathon at the highest altitude.”
Shashwat Rao won the Snow Marathaon Lahaul in the men’s category with a time of 4:41:07. The Karnataka native spent a long time practising in Manali with the snow marathon as a focus area. Dolma Tenzin, a local, won the women’s category with a time of 5:05:30.
In the 21-km half-marathon category, Rohan stood on the top step with a time of 2:53:00 in the men’s category, while the women’s title went to Diksha, who clocked 2:59:00.
Daulal Ram won the 10-km run in the men’s category with a time of 1:04:00, while Hemlata won the women’s category with a time of 1:20:00. Navneet was the winner in the 5-km men’s category, while Shrishti won the women’s category.
The organisers also introduced a 1-km race to create enthusiasm for running among the local residents that saw huge participation.
District Deputy Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said the tradition of snow marathons should continue and assured help from the district administration to scale up the event.
Reach India’s Rajiv Kumar said in a statement that the event would ramp up India’s running quotient. “It has been years in the making and while there are few established snow runs on the planet, the time is just right to introduce this format of running to India”.
The event’s chief adviser Colonel Natarajan said the event was not just about running in snow and its inherent trials and tribulations, but also about facing the elements, including the challenges of the altitude challenges.
Winter Games Federation of India President Colonel Jodh Singh Dhillon said: “Snow Marathon Lahaul while giving runners and audience an unparalleled experience is also about bringing awareness to perhaps what is the biggest challenge being faced by the Himalayas, i.e. of waste management, and that is the cause behind the event.”