Thinley Namgay

Coinciding with the Royal Wedding Anniversary, Bhutan is preparing for the world’s toughest and most challenging ‘Snowman Run’ (SMR), which will take place later this year, on October 13.

Challenging the world’s fittest and most elite runners, the Snowman Run intends to help raise awareness on the impacts of climate change.

The marathon will take runners across the pristine landscape of Lunana-lakes, glaciers, majestic mountains, shrubs, isolated villages and the highest place within the Himalayan mountain range.

Country Representative of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Dechen Dorji, said the idea for the run emanated from His Majesty’s visit to the highlands with a goal to protect the natural environment and preserve the unique age-old culture and tradition of the highland communities, adversely affected by climate change.

The run, which will start from Gasa, will challenge the runners to cover 300 kilometres in less than five days, taking them to elevation ranging from 2,850 metres to 5,470 metres before ending in Bumthang. Runners will cross 11 passes, glaciers and two national parks – Jigme Dorji National Park and Wangchuck Centennial National Park.

As of now, a total of Nu 10.643million was raised by the SMR team with support from Druk Holding and Investment, WWF, Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited, TCB, and Bhutan Power Corporation Limited.

Two rounds of trial run were completed with the help of RBA.

The first trial run was conducted on October 14 to 19 from Sephu- Gasa in 2017. Jan Gisle from Finland and Dorji Tshewang from Bhutan have completed the run in four days whereas Liro Kakko from Finland took six days.

From October 19 to 27, 2018, Christian Gamsjaeger from Austia, Liro Kakko and Jan Gisle from Finland, Dorji Tshewang, Wangyel and Choda from Bhutan took part in the second trial run from Gasa to Dhur village.

The run is a timely initiative by Bhutan in accordance with the 2015 Cop 21 agreement in Paris, France, where the world leaders agreed to combat climate change by taking necessary actions and investments for a sustainable low carbon future.