Lahaul-Spiti hosts India’s 1st snow marathon
The first-ever snow marathon was held at Sissu near the north portal of the Atal Tunnel, Rohtang in Lahaul-Spiti on Saturday which also marked the end of month-long snow festival in the tribal district
The first-ever snow marathon was held at Sissu near the north portal of the Atal Tunnel, Rohtang in Lahaul-Spiti on Saturday which also marked the end of the month-long snow festival in the tribal district.
Sub-divisional magistrate Priya Nagta flagged off the marathon at 6 O’clock in the morning in which more than 100 runners from across the country and from the Army competed in the race amid sub-zero temperature at an altitude of over 10,000-feet where low oxygen levels make breathing tough during the normal walk, leave aside running.
The marathon was held in five categories—full marathon (42 km), half marathon (21 km), 10-km, 5-km and 1-km run. The marathon was organised by the Reach India and Gold Drop Adventure under the aegis of district administration and in the leadership of Winter Sports Federation of India president Col Jodh Dhillon.
Lt Col Bhuven Khare, a well-known outdoor and winter sports expert, was also part of the organising committee while ultra-runner Kieren D’Souza was the brand ambassador.
Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner Neeraj Kumar said hosting the country’s first snow marathon was a proud moment for the district.
He said that the marathon will be an annual feature in winters and would be organized on a grand scale in which runners from other nations will also be allowed to compete in the future.
Chief event adviser Col Arun Natrajan said there are about 10 such snow, ice and winter marathons across the globe, including those popular in the Arctic Circle, North Pole and Siberia.
“It is for the first time that a snow marathon was conceptualised and held in India in the cold desert of Lahaul,” said the organisers. They said the snow marathon will be a prestigious affair for any serious runner from across the globe and the challenge involved will be a notch higher than any existing marathon format for Indian runners.
“Lahaul has been chosen for this extreme winter sports event as the valley remains covered with snow for most time of the year,” they added.
Meanwhile, a snow sculpture exhibition was also put up at the North Portal of Atal Tunnel in collaboration with Koksar Panchayat. The snow craft, archery completion, antiquities of the valley and local food stalls were the main attractions at the event.
Apart from this, a food festival was also organised in Gondla valley where traditional dishes of Lahul valley were served.
The DC said such events had helped Lahul-Spiti to establish a global image both in terms of sports and tourism.