5395 meters !
Not a soul…..
Not a sound….
just the runner and the road!
Oxygen Content: 40% as compared to Sea Level
Terrain: Cold Desert
Surface: Rocks, Gravel, Ice, Tarmac
Total Ascent: 3107 meters
Total Descent: 2704 meters
Distance: 222 km
Average Elevation: 4115 meters
When: From July 24th 2010
Cut-off Time: 72 hours
Mind boggling????? Shocking???? Challenging????? Inspiring?????
Well, it depends from where you are viewing it.
It then goes downhill to join the beautiful Indus valley basin. Then it passes through a string of magnificent Buddhist monasteries to begin the ascent to the 2nd highest road in the world, the TanglangLa pass (5359 meters).
From the TanglangLa Pass the route again descends to an amazing accident of geography- the Morey Plains, a 15,000 feet high table top of 40 kms length! Yes, the race finishes in the middle of nowhere- somewhere in those plains!
Why Run This?
If you are an ultra-marathoner you already know the answer!
It is not about getting from place A to place B, neither it is about the bragging rights for accomplishing what looks a real tall order but it is about pushing yourself to the next limit. Yes, the terrain is hostile (remember it is a cold desert), yes the altitude is sickening (oxygen content never more than 60% at sea level) and the weather would be unpredictable (things change before you can ever imagine at that altitude), but then there is the spirit of the runner partaken into a ever lasting duel till the finish line.
If you are an ultra-marathoner, this is one of the “must do-s”, for there is no event in the world that is organized at this altitude.
While you run through the 222 km, you will be kept company by the tallest mountains in the world, by the mighty Indus River and of course the highest roads in the planet!
Who Are Organizing It?
Back2Fitness group of New Delhi, India are the primary torch bearers of this maiden event.
Rajat Chauhan, an acclaimed sports medicine expert and the primary catalyst of Back2Fitness is the race director is pretty much the nerdy professor behind the invention. A veteran marathoner/ultra-marathoner his vision is more of a by-product of a runners aspiration than anything!
Naturally an event of this magnitude needs supportive hands from all quarters and there are enough crazy people out there to support the cause. The people who are supporting the cause are:
Who are Running?
This year, being the 1st event- La Ultra-The High is organized on an invitation basis. There are certain qualifying criterion of course but the most important criterion is probably the will to complete something of this scale!
Well that much for the introduction to a race which will surely earn its name among the legends in near future.
In less than 7 days from now the introductory version of La Ultra-The High would begin from the most virgin landscapes of Indian Himalayan region of Ladakh. The runners would have 72 hours to beat the altitude, hypoxia, cold, snow, high winds and most importantly- the clock!
How would it be to run in the cold nights in a cold desert on a full moon lit night sky with billions of starts from all far flung galaxies gazing at the runners and the snow capped peaks of Himalayas giving them company?
I have no clue.
But I know it would be a hell of a ride for sure.
I shall be cycling along with the runners in this event to bring the up close and personal stories of the runners. I have no idea about how one can run such a long distance in such unforgiving terrains but then that is what La Ultra-The High is all about!