Thinley Namgay

Athletes from Bhutan’s armed forces dominated the first day of the snowman race which began yesterday from Gasa to Bumthang.

As of 9pm yesterday, 28 runners of the 29 reached the first aid station at  Narithang. It is located at an elevation of 4,650m above sea level and is 40km away from Gasa Dzong.

The top four participants of the day were all from Bhutan’s armed forces.

Gawa Zangpo from Royal Body Guards was the first to arrive at Narithang. He reached there at 12:56 pm. He took 6hrs, 57mins and 26secs from Gasa Dzong.

Gawa participated in South Asian Cross-Country Championship 2017 in Thimphu.  In the same year, he participated in Laya Run and came second.

Sangay Wangchuk from Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) in Gelephu was the second runner to reach Narithang in 7 hours, 36mins, and 24secs.    He is the winner of the Snowman Calibration Run held in 2019 from Gasa to Bumthang.

Sangay from Commando Wing of the RBA in Paro came third. He reached Narithang in 7hrs, 39 mins, and 19 secs. Sangay took part in the 2016  International Half Marathon and came fourth.

All three runners are former national athletes from Bhutan Amateur Athletic Federation.

In the women’s category, Sarah Keyes from the United States of America was the first runner to arrive at Narithang. She arrived there at 9hrs, 7mins, and 55 secs.  Sarah is an ultra-trail runner based in the Edirondack Mountains, New York, USA.

Sarah was closely followed by Kinzang Lhamo who completed the race in 9 hrs, 12 mins, and 55 secs. She is an RBA soldier from Damthang, Haa. Kinzang Lhamo came second in the coronation marathon in Paro this year.

Karma Yangden, from Laya, came third.  She finished the race in 9hrs, 17mins, and 55 secs. She participated in the women’s race in Gasa last year and came first.  She also took part in the Laya run in 2016 and 2017.

David Mendelsohn from Australia withdrew from the race.  He could not proceed after reaching the Roduphu checkpoint, which is 35km from Gasa Dzong.