Only 22 of the 29 runners remain in the race 

Thinley Namgay  | Gasa

Athletes in Snowman Race today will have to cross the highest peak at Gophula which is at an altitude of over 5,400 metres above sea level.

Runners have to reach Geche Wom which is 43km from Lhedhi today. Yesterday, they ran from Narithang to Lhedhi, which is 44km.

Some officials who went for the 2019 calibration run said the third-day trail will be challenging for the athletes considering the altitude.

A runner, Meghan Hick from the USA spotted the pugmarks of a snow leopard while coming down from Karchung la on her way to Lhedhi yesterday. Forest officials later confirmed them.

Meanwhile, seven international runners have voluntarily withdrawn from the race. Five of them couldn’t proceed from Narithang (the first aid station) and one could run only a few km from Narithang yesterday. One of them withdrew on the first day before reaching Narithang.

The seven athletes will reach Gasa today and they will travel to Bumthang tomorrow for the closing ceremony. A team of Snowman Race officials are in Gasa to receive them.

Officials said that the withdrawal of the athletes indicates how difficult the race is. All athletes were in ‘stable condition’ and ‘good spirit’ as of yesterday.

Sangay Wangchuk, who came second on the first day came first yesterday reaching Lhedi in 5hrs, 55mins and 23 secs.

He was followed by Gawa Zangpo who finished the race in 5hrs, 59mins and 23 secs. Sangay came third for the last two days. Yesterday, he touched the finish line in 6hrs, 15mins and 31secs.

In the women’s category, Karma Yangden from Laya was first to arrive at Lhedi in 8hrs and 30mins. Karma was in second place on the opening day.

The youngest runner Lhamo, reached the station in 9 hours and 14 minutes followed by Kinzang Lhamo who completed the race in 9hrs,  and 31mins.

If the athletes don’t reach the aid station before 10pm, they don’t get the point for the day.

Students and teachers of Lhedhi Primary School and officials received the participants. Students performed cultural programmes after dinner.