Phurpa Lhamo | Gasa

Twenty women ran 17.5km yesterday in hopes to raise climate change awareness such as the disaster caused by a landslide that killed 10 people in Laya.

Two hours and eight minutes after the race began, with the Gasa dzong in the backdrop, one of the survivors of the landslide, 30-year-old Karma Yangden completed the race first.

At home in Laya, a house that had belonged to a deceased couple has been closed, orphans are being raised with relatives, and the fear still lingers, Karma Yangden said.

Karma Yangden was the first to complete the race (Photo: Gyem Tshering)

Karma Yangden said that climate change is felt every day in the highlands. She represented Gasa dzongkhag in the run.

Karma Yangden said that she had not expected to win, as the participants were highly experienced. She has also previously won the 2016 Laya run.

Eight minutes after Karma Yangden was Phuntsho Wangmo, representing Bumthang.

In the first 10km, Phuntsho Wangmo closely followed runners from Haa and Tashigang, who were behind the Gasa dzongkhag runner.

Phuntsho Wangmo overtook the runners from Haa and Tashigang further in the race, as the route became tough due to the unpaved 4.5km road.

Phuntsho Wangmo, 22, said that she was nervous, as she represented Bumthang and had received a lot of support from the dzongkhag officials.

“I am happy that I came in second. I really want to thank Dasho Dzongdag and other staff.”

Twenty women ran 17.5km to commemorate the 10th Royal Wedding anniversary (Photo: Gyem Tshering)

The runner representing Tashigang dzongkhag, Tashi Chozom, 39, was the second runner up.

Runners for the Haa and Wangdue dzongkhags followed.

Except for the runner from Paro dzongkhag, 19 other runners completed the race.

The Snowman Race Secretariat organised the one-day ‘Women Race for Climate’ to dedicate and celebrate the 10th Royal Wedding anniversary of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen.

The race is part of the Snowman Race, which will be held on October 13 next year. A total of 30 runners—eight Bhutanese and 22 international runners—will run for five days from the Gasa Dzong parking area to Chamkhar town, Bumthang along the Snowman Trek route.

The Snowman Race originated from the vision of His Majesty The King to protect the natural environment and preserve the living and unique cultures of the remote communities adversely affected by climate change.

At the event, the Snowman Secretariat and sponsors in Bhutan made a contribution of Nu 500,000 towards the conservation of area in Gasa recently affected by the flash flood.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk