Logo of Ladakh Marathon
|Date||8th September 2019|
|Location||Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India|
|Event type||Road race|
|Distance||Ultra Marathon, Marathon, Half Marathon, 7km Ladakh run for fun,|
|Primary sponsor||Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)|
|Course records||Men's: 2:56:51 (2019)|
Women's: 3:18:56 (2017)
|Official site||Ladakh Marathon|
The Ladakh Marathon is a marathon held in Leh, a town in the Ladakh region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It claims to be the highest marathon in the world, held at a height of 11,500 to 17,618 feet (3,505 to 5,370 m). The seventh edition of the Ladakh Marathon was held in 2018. It is full member of Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. The marathon was organised "to foster national spirit and to encourage sport in Ladakh". It is the fifth marathon from India to get international recognition.
The Ladakh Marathon was started in 2012 following the 2010 Ladakh floods which claimed 200 lives as well as making several hundred people homeless. According to The Tribune of India, "The initiative was started to convey to the world that Ladakh is back and running. It is aimed at encouraging the youth of Ladakh to live a healthy lifestyle by taking up running in hostile weather conditions and by becoming more aware of the need to protect the environmentally fragile region."
The Ladakh marathon is claimed to be the highest marathon, but this claim is not supported by the Guinness Book of Records, which recognises the Everest Marathon which starts at over 5,200 metres (17,100 ft), though 72 km Ultra Ladakh Marathon goes up to height of 17,618 feet.
The Ladakh Marathon is organised by India's Rimo Expeditions with the support of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). The LAHDC is an autonomous government body which administers the Leh district. Apart from recognition by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races the event is supported by the Indian Army,Jammu & Kashmir Police, tourism ministry of the Jammu and Kashmir government. "Timing Technologies" is the timing partner "Enerzal" energy drink partner and Bisleri the hydrant partner of the event.
- 7 km Race: This is shortest form of this marathon. Schools students as well as tourists usually participate in this race. Although it is shortest form of the race, it still requires good physical health to run it at height of 11,500 ft.
- Half Marathon: 21 km race. It starts at NDS stadium on the Leh Manali highway and passes through Choglamsar village.
- Full Marathon: 42 km race. It starts and ends in Leh town, and passes through the Leh valley. The marathon course crosses the Indus river several times en route.
- The Khardungla Challenge/Ultra Marathon: 72 km race. It starts in the village of Khardung and then continues uphill on the way to the village of Khardung La at a height of 17,618 ft. With a distance of 72 km and a height of up to 17,618 ft, it is known as toughest and most challenging event of the Ladakh Marathon. "Travel India" called this event the "Mother of all Marathon races".
The inaugural running of the Ladakh Marathon in 2012 included 1,500 participants. Since then number of participants has been increased. The 2013 edition had 2,200 participants while in 2014 about 3,000 people participated. The recent 2018 marathon included close to 6,000 participants from 23 countries.
The Ladakh Marathon is held at a height of 11,500 to 17,600 ft. Acclimatization is the foremost issue at this height. Altitude sickness can occur at this height due to lack of oxygen. The Ladakh Marathon has a long pre-marathon work-out schedule to train the participants, helping them acclimatizing to the high altitude and hilly conditions. As per the official website of the Ladakh Marathon, athletes participating in 72 km "Khardungla Challenge" should arrive at Leh at least two weeks before marathon day.
Race day photos
In the 7th edition of Ladakh Marathon, the organizers continued the partnership with marathon photography experts SplitSecondPix to provide photo technology for the event. A team of 25 photographers ventured out into the extreme terrains of Ladakh to capture the action of the marathon. From 17586 ft Khardung La pass to the Leh Valley the photographers capture the timeless moments through its lenses. Participants can visit the event website or SplitSecondPix website to find these photos on basis of their Bib number.
The Khardung La Challenge (72 km)
Since 2015, special 72 km Khardung La Challenge for women was started.
Women Khardung La Challenge 72 km winner
Marathon 42 km
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- Tribune News Service. "With courage higher than mountains, amputee to run Ladakh marathon". tribuneindia.com.
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- Highest marathon, Guinness World Records, Retrieved 9 October 2015
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- "Ladakh Marathon – Results 2013". ladakhmarathon.com.
- "Ladakh Marathon – Results 2014". ladakhmarathon.com.
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