Ladakh Marathon

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Ladakh Marathon
Logo of Ladakh Marathon
Date7-11 September 2022
LocationLadakh, India
Event typeRoad race
DistanceKhardungla Challenge Ultra 72Km

Silk Route Ultra 122Km


Half Marathon

7km Ladakh Run For Fun

10.5Km Run
Primary sponsorLadakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)
Established2012 (2012)
Course recordsMen's: 2:56:51 (2019)
India Shabir Hussain
Women's: 3:18:56 (2017)
India Jigmet Dolma

The Ladakh Marathon is a marathon held in Leh, a town in the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh. It claims to be the highest marathon in the world, held at a height of 11,500 to 17,618 feet (3,505 to 5,370 m).[1][2] The seventh edition of the Ladakh Marathon was held in 2018 and its ninth edition is happening in September 2022[3] after being cancelled for two subsequent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[4] It is full member of Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.[1][5][6] The marathon was organised "to foster national spirit and to encourage sport in Ladakh".[7][8] It is the fifth marathon from India to get international recognition.[9]


The Ladakh Marathon was started in 2012 following the 2010 Ladakh floods which claimed 200 lives as well as making several hundred people homeless. According to The Tribune of India, "The initiative was started to convey to the world that Ladakh is back and running. It is aimed at encouraging the youth of Ladakh to live a healthy lifestyle by taking up running in hostile weather conditions and by becoming more aware of the need to protect the environmentally fragile region."[6][10]

The Ladakh marathon is claimed to be the highest marathon, but this claim is not supported by the Guinness Book of Records, which recognises the Everest Marathon which starts at over 5,200 metres (17,100 ft),[11] though 72 km Ultra Ladakh Marathon goes up to height of 17,618 feet.[1]


The Ladakh Marathon is organised by India's Rimo Expeditions with the support of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). The LAHDC is an autonomous government body which administers the Leh district. Apart from recognition by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races the event is supported by the Indian Army, Jammu & Kashmir Police, tourism ministry of the Jammu and Kashmir government. "Timing Technologies" is the timing partner "Enerzal" energy drink partner and Bisleri the hydrant partner of the event.[7][12]


Shanti Stupa (Peace Monument) is the place where the marathon starts

The Ladakh Marathon is divided into the four following categories:[1][2]

  1. 7 km Race: This is shortest form of this marathon. Schools students as well as tourists usually participate in this race. Although it is shortest form of the race, it still requires good physical health to run it at height of 11,500 ft.
  2. Half Marathon: 21 km race. It starts at NDS stadium on the Leh Manali highway and passes through Choglamsar village.
  3. Full Marathon: 42 km race. It starts and ends in Leh town, and passes through the Leh valley. The marathon course crosses the Indus river several times en route.
  4. The Khardungla Challenge/Ultra Marathon: 72 km race. It starts in the village of Khardung and then continues uphill on the way to the village of Khardung La at a height of 17,618 ft. With a distance of 72 km and a height of up to 17,618 ft, it is known as toughest and most challenging event of the Ladakh Marathon. "Travel India" called this event the "Mother of all Marathon races".[2]


The inaugural running of the Ladakh Marathon in 2012 included 1,500 participants. Since then number of participants has been increased. The 2013 edition had 2,200 participants while in 2014 about 3,000 people participated. The recent 2018 marathon included close to 6,000 participants from 23 countries.[6][7]


Board of Indian Army regarding caution at high altitude

The Ladakh Marathon is held at a height of 11,500 to 17,600 ft. Acclimatization is the foremost issue at this height. Altitude sickness can occur at this height due to lack of oxygen. The Ladakh Marathon has a long pre-marathon work-out schedule to train the participants, helping them acclimatizing to the high altitude and hilly conditions. As per the official website of the Ladakh Marathon, athletes participating in 72 km "Khardungla Challenge" should arrive at Leh at least two weeks before marathon day.[13]

Race day photos[edit]

In the last 5 years of Ladakh Marathon & Khardungla Challenge, the organizers continued the partnership with marathon photography experts SplitSecondPix[14] to provide photo technology for the event. A team of 25 photographers venture out into the extreme terrains of Ladakh to capture the action of the ultra marathon. Starting at 3am in Khardong village and temperatures of −10 °C to 17586 ft Khardung La pass and descending into the Leh Valley the photographers capture the timeless moments through its lenses. Participants can visit the event website or SplitSecondPix[14] website to find these timeless photos on basis of their Bib number.[15][16][17][18]


Marathon 42 km (Women)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Siddarth Rishi Battula (11 September 2015). "Your guide to the 2015 Ladakh Marathon". Yahoo News India. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Ladakh Marathon 2015: Runners, gear up for world's highest marathon!". Travel India.
  3. ^ "Ladakh Marathon, Sep 11 2022". World's Marathons. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Ladakh Marathon cancelled for second time due to Covid-19 pandemic". NewsOnAIR -. 10 July 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  5. ^ "LAHDC organises 3rd Ladakh Marathon at Leh | Business Standard News". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "4,000 runners ready for Ladakh Marathon tomorrow". Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d "Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council organised 3rd Ladakh Marathon at Leh". 17 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  8. ^ Tribune News Service. "With courage higher than mountains, amputee to run Ladakh marathon".
  9. ^ a b "4th Ladakh Marathon witnesses huge participation". Jammu Kashmir Latest News – Tourism – Breaking News J&K. 13 September 2015.
  10. ^ Max Lovell-Hoare; Sophie Lovell-Hoare (1 July 2014). Kashmir: Jammu. Kashmir Valley. Ladakh. Zanskar. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-1-84162-396-2.
  11. ^ Highest marathon, Guinness World Records, Retrieved 9 October 2015
  12. ^ "Leh – Official Site".
  13. ^ "Ladakh Marathon – Acclimatization Issues". Ladakh Marathon. Archived from the original on 17 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  14. ^ a b SplitSecondPix
  15. ^ "Ladakh Marathon Photos 2016". SplitSecondPix. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Ladakh Marathon Photos 2017". SplitSecondPix. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Ladakh Marathon Photos 2018". SplitSecondPix. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Ladakh Marathon Photos 2019". SplitSecondPix. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Ladakh Marathon – Results 2012". Archived from the original on 17 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Ladakh Marathon – Results 2013". Archived from the original on 16 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Ladakh Marathon – Results 2014". Archived from the original on 17 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Ladakh Marathon – Results 2015".[permanent dead link]