La Ultra – The High: The Highest Ultra-Marathon of the World

La Ultra - The High: The Highest Ultra-Marathon of the World!

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

Where: Ladakh, Himalayas, India

When: From July 24th 2010

Cut-off Time: 72 hours

Mind boggling?????   Shocking????    Challenging?????    Inspiring?????

Well, it depends from where you are viewing it.

Presenting, the highest ultra-marathon of the World- “La Ultra – The High” !

A unique extreme high altitude foot race that runs through the two highest roads in the planet transecting the high Himalayan cold desert of Ladakh, India.

The Route

The Route

The route starts from a moderate altitude of 14,400 feet at Khardung Village of Ladakh. It crosses through the highest road in the world, the legendary KhardungLa pass (5395 meters).

The Khardungla Pass- The highest road in the world

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).

Thiksey Monastery: One of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh

Down to Indus Basin

TangLangLa Pass: The second highest road in the world

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!

Race Finish Line: In the middle of nowhere on the Morey 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.

Also Ladakh is a charming land. It is barren and scarce in resource, inhospitable and harsh but at the same time has one of the most spectacular views of the Himalayan landforms.

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:

Back2Fitness, Himalayan Heli Adventure, Above 1400 ft, Adventure 18, Happily Unmarried, Desert Sky Adventures, Chlorosoul and MapMyIndia.com.

For detailed information on who are supporting La Ultra- The High please click here .

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!

This year La Ultra-The High has a few very distinguished participants. Check out who is running this year here.

Sign Off

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.

Watch out this space for live blogs from 24th July onwards to know what is happening in Ladakh, the deserts in the sky, while the 1st edition of the highest ultra-marathon of the planet unfolds.

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!

Get set…Go!

La Ultra - The High

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13 Responses to “La Ultra – The High: The Highest Ultra-Marathon of the World”

  1. priyank Says:

    did i hear you say , you will be cycling all along? :) manasij, my best wishes for you. will keep coming back to check your (& the runner’s) daily progress.
    Go boy Go!

    cheers.

    • manasij Says:

      thanks priyank…….
      yes it would be a challenge to match the pace and the endurance of these international athletes…..
      don’t know for how long will i be able to sustain this but it would be a great ride for sure….
      hope to get enough connectivity to keep posting the updates as ‘live’ as possible :-)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Best of Luck….
    Bhai….!!!!

  3. Ajay Says:

    All the best Manasij; looking forward to lots of interesting posts from you :)

  4. priyank Says:

    and so its July the 24th. all the best!!!

  5. priyank Says:

    not enough connectivity to get you going, iguess. anyway, all of us readers, waiting anxiously to experience this awesome event through your blog.
    more ,when you are back.
    god speed.

  6. Steve Says:

    Uh-oh, no updates – did this event come off?

    I was wondering if BSNL was going to have any connectivity along that route…

    • manasij Says:

      The event went well and it proved a tough race for sure!
      The blog would be updated by this weekend.
      Keep an eye on it!

  7. priyank Says:

    Manasij… please get back to writing :)

  8. manasij Says:

    hey priyank,

    yeah i need to do that….
    one or two days max and the full account would be ready….

  9. Steve Hoge Says:

    Are you still up in Ladakh? It sounds like the weather’s gone very bad up there. Still hoping for site updates.

    -Steve

  10. Hazlul Says:

    im trying to reach ur cell phone! it says unreachable! can u give me again?

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