Indian Navy creates a new course record at the highest foot stage race in the world Six runners from Indian Navy participated in a foot stage race from Manali to Leh from June 18-22. The race was organized by an outdoor sports event organizing company The Hell Race and it was its 04th edition. The six runners in a category called as High 5s in which runners run 42.2kms of distance (full marathon) every day, for the five consecutive days. The race passes through extreme altitude and each day, runners have to cross a pass. Such is the way every day’s stage is designed. It tests the mental power, grit and perseverance of every runner. On top of that, the weather conditions this year were harsh in all the four editions of the race. Due to late snowfall up in the mountains, the route had a lot of snow on the passes, slush, streams and occasional rains during the race.
The runners who represented Indian Navy were Yogesh Tiwari, Sanjay Kumar, Pranav Kumar, Kapil Kumar, S. Jena and Shailesh Kumar. Three of the six runners broke the course record and Sanjay Kumar put up a very challenging time for the future participants of the race. The first stage was from Marhi to Sissu and runners crossed Rohtang Pass at 4050m of altitude, second day was from Deepak Taal to Bharatpur and runners passed through the ever-challenging pass weather-wise, Baralacha Pass at an altitude of about 4900m. Third day was challenging enough to test their spirit as they crossed two passes and Gata Loops. Remember, this stage had an altitude of 4500m for the whole distance. The stage four was on Morey Plains at an altitude of 4700 with the minimum elevation gain in all the stages, but it’s where the head winds played a huge role but Yogesh Tiwari finished the marathon distance in an impressive 5 hours. Last day, the challenge was big enough with the fatigue built up for the last four days as runners had to cross the highest pass on the highway, Taglang La at an altitude of 5300m.
The race provided the runners every kind of challenge and scenic beauty but the runners spirit were high all the time as they motivated each other. They took each day and every stage individually, one-by-one, they finished every stage and celebrated their victory in Leh city at an altitude of 3500mtrs where they celebrated The total time taken by each runners in all the five marathon distance stages are as below:
Sanjay Kumar: 28 hours, 45 mins and 12 secs
Yogesh Tiwari: 30 hours, 13 secs and 09 secs
Kapil Kumar: 33 hours, 48 mins and 19 secs
Pranav Kumar: 38 hours, 29 mins and 38 secs
S. Jena: 38 hours, 44 mins and 42 secs
Shailesh Kumar: DNF
Shailesh couldn’t finish the last stage. His total time for the 04 stages was 27 hours, 53 mins and 23 secs.
Only the ones who ran the distance knows what mammoth of a task it was for them. No amount of words could explain what emotions, and physical and mental suffering the runners went through and came victorious on the other side of all the passes.