The 10th international long-distance stage race ends in Paro

Chencho Dema

Anton Schäfer from Germany came first by completing the 10th edition of the six-stage 200km race in 24:08:28. In the second position was Sonam Chophel, a police constable, who finished in 26:45:00. Joshua Riff from the USA came third, completing the race in 27:10:57.

In the women’s category, Josephine Kucera from the UK completed the race in 34:15:01coming first followed by Sarah Kucera, also from the UK, who finished the race in 35:13:44. Mattea Geraci from Italy came third, completing the race in 36:03:48.

The lone Bhutanese female representative, Tashi Chozom, despite her injury, completed the fourth stage but lost her overall leading position, which she had maintained since the first stage.

Left-right: Sonam Chophel, Anton Schäfer, and Joshua Riff

The first stage of the race began ffrom Bazam, the wooden cantilever bridge over Mochhu and finished at Chorten Nyingpo in Kabjisa gewog in Punakha where the competitors halted for the night. During the first stage, the runners ran 31 km.   In the second stage, the runners covered 29 km till Kabisa (Thimphu), followed by 28km to Phajoding, 38km to Shari (Paro), 54km to Drukgyel, and 15km to Taktshang.

The runners covered 200 km in a span of six days with the race taking off-road tracks. 

The 10th edition this year saw 22 racers from 12 different nations, including three from Bhutan. Most of the runners were from Italy. The award ceremony took place in Paro yesterday.

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 ninth edition last year saw 59 racers from 16 different nations, including one from Bhutan.

ATC Travels is the local cooperation partner for the race in Bhutan, and the race is organised by Global Limits, the global race organizer. It is an annual event. 

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 runners missed the chance to participate for the next race in Cambodia. They had to win the race to qualify for the Cambodia race.