Chencho Dema | Punakha 

Members of the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA)and Royal Body Guards (RBG) took most of the medals in the ninth annual Bhutan International Marathon in Punakha on March 4.

Gawa Zangpo, 28, of the RBG, who completed the 42.2kms in 2 hours, 46 minutes, and 26 seconds, won the full marathon category. Kinley Gyeltshen from the RBA came in second, followed by Choki Dorji from the RBG.

Gawa Zangpo was the winner of the five-day Snowman Race held last year.

In the women’s full marathon category, Kinzang Lhamo from the RBA came first completing the race in 3 hours 43 minutes and one second. Ang Bee Yen, a Singaporean was second, and Pema Zam came third.

Winners for both men and women received Nu 40,000, Nu 30,000 and 20,000 as cash prizes in the full marathon category.

The full marathon (42.2km) started from Tashithang, Gasa while the half marathon (21.1km) flagged off from Uma Resort in Punakha.

There were three female runners and fifteen male runners, including 14 Bhutanese and one runner each from the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. The youngest participant was 19 years old and the oldest was 66 in the full marathon.

In the men’s half-marathon category which covered around 21.1kms, BAAF runner Kinley Tshering bagged the first prize crossing the finish line in one hour 23 minutes and 45 seconds.

Tshering Tobgay from the RBA won the second prize while Tshering Dendup, also from RBA took the third prize.

A 19-year-old and a student of Motithang HSS, Chimi Zam won the first prize in the women’s half-marathon category. Tshering Dema bagged the second prize followed by a Japanese woman, Ohuchu Haruko.

Half marathon winners received Nu 20,000, Nu 15,000 and Nu 10,000 cash prizes respectively.

There were 69 men and 29 women who participated in the half marathon. Of that, 82 were from Bhutan, seven from Japan, one each from Thailand and the United States, and seven from India. Til1 Bdr Rai,15, was the youngest runner, and Tsutomo Sakakiyama, 67, of Japan, was the oldest.

Special awards were given to the top three master’s men (those above 50 years) for both categories.

Altogether 116 runners including 84 men participated in the event organised by Bhutan Olympic Committee.