Most of the 22 racers are from Italy 

Chencho Dema

Punakha—The 10th edition of the six-stage 200km race saw 22 racers from 12 different nations, including three from Bhutan (One female and two male) complete the first stage yesterday in Punakha. 

Most of the runners are from Italy. In 2023, the ninth edition saw 59 racers from 16 different nations, including one from Bhutan.

Organisers said the reason for the decrease in the number was because some of the runners missed their flights while some could not arrive on time to catch their connecting flight. 

For day one, runners started from Bazam, the wooden cantilever bridge over Mochhu and finished at Chorten Nyingpo in Kabjisa gewog, where the competitors will halt for the night. 

The first stage covers 31km, in the second stage they will run 29km till Kabisa (Thimphu), followed by 28km to Phajoding, 38km to Shari (Paro), 54km to Drukgyel, and 15km to Taktshang.

The five-day race will end at Paro Taktshang, covering 200km in a span of five days. 

The race takes off-road tracks. 

Bhutan hosted the inaugural multi-stage race in 2014, but owing to the pandemic, the event could not be held in 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

The entry fee for the international participant is Euro 3,700.  Bhutanese racers are sponsored by the organisers. 

The race is organised by Global Limits, the global race organiser with ATC Travels as the local cooperation partner for the race in Bhutan.

Meanwhile the winner of the marathon will get a free entry fee to participate in their chosen destinations. There are six similar races in the world. 

Bhutanese winners could participate in the next race in Cambodia only.