Woman and soldier win first Snowman Run
Gopa Sangay Wangchuk from Royal Bhutan Army (RBA), Tencholing, completed the Snowman Run clocking at 4:46:34 in the male category. He was followed by Chuma Dechen Ugyen from RBA at 4:48:37, and Chuma Tshering Wangchuk, RBA, from Lungtenphu.
In the female category, Yangden, a mother of two from Laya, who completed the race within 7:12:41, secured the first position while Chimi Dema, 19, from Royal Thimphu College stood in the second position completed the race within 7:39:10, followed by Lhamo from Laya.
The two-day Snowman Run from Gasa Tshachu to Laya, spanning 53 kilometers, is one of the most difficult in Bhutan and toughest in the world.
The open cross-country race ascends from 2,231 meters (m) above sea level to 4,000 m.
Crisscrossing high mountain passes, jungle, and narrow Himalayan tracks, the race is perhaps the toughest cross-country in the world. The trail starts by descending to the bank of Mo Chhu.
The Snowman Run was launched as part of the Royal Highland Festival. The race starts from Gasa Tshachu and ends after 28 km at Pun- zhithang on the first day.
The 25 km second leg of the race starts from Pungzhithang which ends at Langothang, Laya, at the festival venue.
The winners of the race were awarded cash prizes of Nu.150, 000 and Nu. 130, 000 and 100, 000.
The high elevation trails were wet and muddy during the monsoon season, making them vulnerable to degradation from runners.
Chimi Dema, a good marathoner, beat the women team on the first day. However, the second half of the race turned into a tire game. “The area has many trails and the next day trail was difficult,” she said, adding that the muddy conditions and uphill trail made her race tough.
More often, the trail was drenched in heavy rain and running to a high altitude destination for a race, she said, was difficult. However, she completed the trail without altitude sickness. “Successful completion brought me much happiness,” she added.
Except for a man and two women who gave up on the second day, other participants made it to the festival ground.
An official from Bhutan Athletes Amateur Federation, Tshering Choden, said it was not without challenge to the runners. However, she said the first ever snowman run was without any altitude sickness and problem.
The first edition of The Snowman run has received overwhelming response from the runners across the country, according to the organizer.
The snowman run saw 107 participants out of which 26 were female including 19 foreigners, 11 of them male.
The Snowman Run is one of the activities of the three-day royal highland festival held in the country. The two-day cross-country race organized at an altitude of 4,000 m above sea level.