Snowman Run – As Important As It Is For Bhutan, The Run Is For The World
The run was envisioned by His Majesty The King after multiple visits to the highlands.
By Staff Reporter | Kuensel
The Snowman Calibration Run 2019 which started yesterday in the district of Gasa is perhaps the most challenging and gruelling ultra-marathon in the world.
The calibration run is a test run for the first edition of the most challenging race in the world – the Snowman Run (an ultra-marathon), scheduled to take place in October next year.
Flagged off exactly at 6am from Gasa, all the seven runners had completed the first-day run and successfully reached their station at Rodophu (4215m above sea level) yesterday.
Photo: Instagram/Snowman Run
The participants will be covering more than 300km in total, crossing the highest altitude of 5470m over five days before reaching their final destination - Chamkhar in Bumthang this coming Thursday on October 17.
The runners carry their own gears such as sleeping bags, mattresses, hydration bags, energy bars and hot water bottles as they traverse through rugged but breath-taking terrains.
The selected Bhutanese men are all trained runners and the necessary safety measures are available along the trail. Five stations have been set up for their night halts with all the supplies and a first-aid facility in place. The runners are also being monitored and their movements can be tracked through GPS.
The Snowman Run – more than just a test of physical endurance
Bhutan has the one of the most pristine of the world’s protected areas, which is the result of the nation’s far-sighted conservation efforts.
The run was envisioned by His Majesty The King after multiple visits to the highlands, where he witnessed the impact of climate change in the communities, and to preserve the unique age-old culture and tradition of the highlanders.
Photo: Snowman Run
Therefore, the event is more about creating awareness of our fragile environment than a test of the participants’ physical endurance.
Snowman Run serves to remind the world of the negative impact of climate change on mountain communities
It does not matter how many kilometres the participants run, what matters is to what extent are we familiar with the challenges faced by the people living in the mountains, as their homes become increasingly unstable.
This brings us back to the reality of this tough mountain race - as important as it is for Bhutan, the run is for the world.
What Bhutan hopes to gain from this event is that lobbying for the environment becomes a bit more powerful the world over. The signs are that environment consciousness is rising by the day but there is still an extra mile to tread.
Bhutan, as a mountainous country, continues to witness the devastating power of climate change, as Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), flash floods and their direct impact on food security have been growing over the years.
If the Snowman Run is solely about showcasing Bhutan, we would be ashamed to the core. Bhutan is doing this simply to remind the wider world of the fragile environment we live in and the dire impact of climate change.
There has to be limit to everything - from production to consumption to negation. But where can we find the balance between development and harmony with nature?
The Snowman Run exists for that ‘search and hope’.
This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.