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Ahead of India’s first snow marathon today in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul, experts share tips to run

Open for men, women, and juniors, the event will be held in five categories -- full marathon (42 km), half marathon (21 km), 10-km run, 5-km run and 1-km run — on a snow-covered trek at Sissu at an altitide of 11,000 feet

lahaulThe snow marathon will take place at Lahaul (Source: Representative; Express Photo by Pradip Das)

For the first time, a snow marathon is taking place in the world and right here in India. In Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul-Spiti Valley, the pilot edition will see around 150+ running enthusiasts participate in the event, which is scheduled for today, March 26.

Open for men, women, and juniors, the event will be held in five categories — full marathon (42 km), half marathon (21 km), 10-km run, 5-km run and 1-km run — on a snow-covered trek at Sissu at an altitide of 11,000 feet. The starting and end point of the marathon is the Sissu helipad, according to the website.

Here are some more details

Men: Full (42.198 kms), half (21.0.95 kms), 10k, and 5K
Women: Full, half, 10K, and 5K
Juniors: Half, 10k, and 5K
Joy run: 1K open for all

What is the aim of the marathon?

All profits from the event will go towards the ongoing and future projects of waste management in the region being carried out by various grassroot organisations actively working in the field, informed the oragnisers on their Instagram page.

“With snow marathon Lahaul, we also plan to set an example of zero carbon footprint travel and organising events of this nature,” the statement on its page read.

How to run a snow marathon?

Rajiv Kumar, CEO of Reach India Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based event company that is presenting the marathon, shared a few pointers with indianexpress.com.

*Acclimatise a few days in advance
*Daily few kilometres run
*Exercise in snow
*Rest one day before the marathon

What should be your gear?

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According to the snow marathon website, “dressing in thin albeit warm layers is the right way to costume up”.

Torso and legs

For the upper body, a warm, sweat-absorbent inner-most layer, followed by a fleece layer in the middle, and an outer hard layer of wind and waterproof jacket with a hood, is what is recommended. For the legs, one inner thermal and a technical running outer pant will suffice for the run. It is advised to carry two pairs of uppers and lowers, one to run in and one as a backup in your backpack, in case one set gets wet, you can quickly change into the spare set, as it is vital to stay dry while running in the snow.

Hands

For the hands, three pairs of gloves are ideal. One thin sweat-absorbent warm innermost glove liner, followed by a good warm outer, with a pair of mittens on the outer. The right set of gloves is vital, as hands tend to get quite cold in snowy runs, and running without good hand protection can lead to complications.

Head and neck

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For a long distance run in the snow, what is ideal is a neck gaiter, a woollen scarf or what works best is a balaclava. Along with this you can add up a woollen or wind-proof cap or hat and have some added protection for the ears.

Eye

Most people, especially those who are not used to seeing snow regularly, can experience snow-blindness. That is highly avoidable for anyone who is looking to tread on snow. Hence a pair of snow goggles or any UV resistant sunglasses is highly recommended. You may also opt for ski goggles, which are easily available these days.

Feet

You should be geared up in two or three pairs of socks, i.e. one sock liners followed by a fleece or woollen socks, and you may go an extra step with an outermost nylon, water-resistant socks. As the most vital gear – the shoes – you are advised to run in trail running shoes, with the best possible grips available. You can wear spikes or crampons, which can be attached to your running shoes, which will give more traction and grip to tide over icy terrain.

Here are some other tips to ace marathons, according to Rajat Khurana, managing director, ASICS India.

*Mornings are the best time for a quick run. Listen to your body and give yourself ample time to warm up and get comfortable.

*Eat no later than an hour before the start. You can’t run without fuel but eating too close to starting time will only cause cramps.

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*Have a hydration plan for long-distance races. Once you are used to running shorter distances, it is time to gear up for distances of 10 km or more. It is important to stay hydrated as you run. Decide if you prefer to run with a bottle or take drinks at intervals at the water stations ahead of time and incorporate that method into your training so that you’re ready for race day.

*Decide your running strategy. If you’re a beginner, try pacing yourself at the start — passing those over-enthusiastic people in the second half will make you feel much better!

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*Relax. Try to do a mental check-over every now and then during the race. Try to relax your hands and shoulders and your breathing.

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First published on: 26-03-2022 at 11:25 IST
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