Thinley Namgay  

Thirty-five  men and two women aged 55 years and above ran 12.5kms  in a veteran race in Thimphu on June 4.

Coinciding with the 32nd birth anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen, the race titled ‘Boomers for Climate Action’ was to create awareness of climate change and generate climate action.

In the race that started from Taba and ended in Tandin Nye, the participants were divided into two categories__ veteran for people aged 55 to 60 years and master veteran for those aged above 61 years.

Completing the race in an hour 25 minutes and 59 seconds, John Yarington,57,  won in the male veteran category. He is a private worker.

He was closely followed by Pema Dorji, who completed the race in an hour 37 minutes and 35 seconds. A 58 years old Pema Dorji is Brigadier at Royal Body Guard.

A 55 years old Ranger Janga Bahadur Rai stood third by completing the race in an hour 37 minutes and 37 seconds.

Of the two women, former teacher Kelzang Lhaden completed the race in two hours six minutes and 42 seconds whereas Jit Maya Gurung completed in two hours  45 minutes and 8 seconds. Jit Maya Gurung is a senior administrative assistant at the agriculture ministry.

In the master veteran category, Nim Gyaltshen, 66, finished the race in an hour 34 mins and 35 secs and bagged the first position. Nim Gyaltshen worked in tourism.  A 63 years old consultant Uwe Draeger stood second by ending the race in an hour 46 mins and 11 secs. Towpow Drukpa,65, came third by completing the race in an hour 51 minutes and 48 seconds.  Towpow Drukpa is a private worker.

Nim Gyaltshen said that everyone should be concerned about climate change. “The problem of plastic waste is increasing because of the import of foreign goods.”

He said that we should consume local products and change our dietary habits.

One of the two women participants, Kelzang Lhaden, said the run was well organised and the trail was new. “It was a refreshing moment for us.”

Sharing her message about climate change, she said that rivers, roadsides and forests have now become waste dumping sites for some people, which contribute to global warming.  “We must reduce plastic usage.  Many of us do not take bags when we go for vegetable shopping.”

She said that it would be beneficial to recycle waste and try to use local products.

The Snowman Race Secretariat organised the race and officials said the run was focused on boomers this time as they have rich traditional knowledge and experience in climate change, and have a high carbon footprint of all age groups.

“Boomers are physically, financially and emotionally less resilient to the effects of climate change,” an official said.  “The Snowman Race is looking to create a community of climate ambassadors to come together in mitigating the negative impacts of climate change through individual or collective efforts to initiate climate actions.”

Meanwhile, a similar race was organised for women in Gasa called ‘women for climate action’ in October last year.

The run was also a pre-programme for the upcoming Snowman Race in October coinciding with the 11th Royal Wedding Anniversary of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen.

To realise the vision of His Majesty The King to raise awareness on the issues of global climate change and to protect and preserve highland communities and the environment, the Snowman Race Secretariat will host one of the world’s most challenging five-day ultra-marathon across the difficult landscapes of the Himalayan ranges.

In the upcoming ultra marathon, 30 runners will cover 222kms from Gasa to Bumthang at an elevation of 5,470m metres above sea level.