Frozen Lake Marathon Race Review & Benefits

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Ladakh’s winter temperatures prompted an adventurous group of runners to launch the country’s inaugural frozen lake marathon at Lukung to Maan village, Ladakh. Their goal: raise awareness about climate change while encouraging sustainable tourism practices between border villages.

Adventure Sports Foundation of Ladakh (ASFL), Leh Hill Development Council and tourism department collaborated on organizing this adventure as part of their Vibrant Villages programme.

The Course

The Frozen Lake Marathon, hosted by ASFL (Adventure Sports Foundation of Ladakh), is an inaugural event of its kind in India and seeks to raise awareness about climate change through sports and adventure activities.

Running enthusiasts will take part in a 21-kilometer marathon at Pangong Tso, situated at 13,862 feet elevation. Organisers hope that this will help preserve its unique environment while drawing more tourists to visit Pangong Tso.

Participants of this marathon will also have an opportunity to break the world record for highest frozen lake marathon. They must cross the finish line within 60 hours from when their first loop began; this poses a great challenge, particularly because temperatures on frozen lake are typically between minus 30 and -40 Celsius.

Organisers of the marathon have made arrangements for various amenities for participants. This will include tents, food, drinks and essentials like medical assistance and safety team monitoring the situation. Furthermore, an elaborate plan has been devised by organizers to safeguard runners against cold and other risks during their run.


As runners traverse across a frozen lake, they will come upon numerous bridges constructed on its ice. Participants should exercise extreme caution when crossing these bridges as they could collapse under their weight if they are exposed to too many people. It is advised to wear warm clothing and bring along a first aid kit while running at Frozen Lake Marathon.

There have also been other events like these held elsewhere, including the North Pole Marathon at sea level and Antarctic Ice Marathon held in Tisleifjorden in Norway. Participants in these races must undergo extensive acclimatisation prior to participating.

Organisers of the Pangong Frozen Lake Marathon have encouraged runners to approach this event with an open mind and heart. Athletes must come prepared for extreme climatic conditions and should possess experience in high-altitude adventure runs.

The Challenge

Participants of the marathon must be fit and prepared for an extreme challenge, as experts will be on hand to monitor conditions to ensure participants’ safety. A course has been marked out on ice, with runners required to wear reflective gear; additionally, emergency supplies should also be carried in case an unanticipated situation arises.

Organisers have given the marathon the name, “Last Run”, to draw attention to the rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers due to global climate change. Chamba Tsetan of Adventure Sports Foundation of Ladakh (ASFL), who together with Leh district administration organised it, believes this could be its final run due to their precarious state.

Seventy-five athletes from India and abroad are taking part in this marathon event, hoping to achieve entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for this high altitude frozen lake marathon. Participation is not for those prone to altitude sickness; the selection procedure ensures only those experienced with running adventure races above 10,000 feet are considered.


As this event is being hosted in an area bordering China, special security arrangements have been implemented. Both the Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been involved to implement an action plan for this occasion.

Even though a frozen lake marathon may not rank amongst the toughest events worldwide, it remains one of the toughest to run. Navigating across its uneven ice surfaces presents unique challenges to any marathon runner; debris and sand need to be navigated around as well as cracks and holes which compromise its integrity in places.

This event provides the region with an ideal opportunity to expand tourism beyond Chadar Trek and snow leopard sightings, and the Hill Council has pledged its support. Organisers hope that it can become an annual tourist attraction, with support promised from both parties involved to maximize local rural tourism efforts in this event.

The Logistics

runners from around the globe are coming together for this high-altitude marathon race that could set a Guinness World Record for highest frozen lake marathon. Organised by Adventure Sports Foundation of Ladakh (ASFL), in collaboration with Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. ASFL founder Chamba Tsetan states that they named this run, known as The Last Run, to send a message about global climate change-induced glacier melt and this potentially being one of the last times when Pangong Tso in Leh freezes solidly.

He emphasizes that they will strive to ensure a safe and comfortable running course for all runners while considering carrying capacity issues as well as local resident safety concerns. He is confident that this marathon will be a resounding success.

Participant come from various parts of India as well as France, Russia and the US; four will stay in Leh while two are located at Pangong for six-day acclimatisation prior to taking part. They will also undergo medical exams by district administration officials as part of their registration. Finally, an officer from this office noted that an independent medical team will monitor participants during the marathon run.


As well as attracting a large number of runners, this marathon will also draw large crowds of spectators. Organisers have organized several stalls that showcase local culture and cuisine – as well as an ice hockey exhibition match during this festival!

The marathon will coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Vibrant Village Program, which seeks to develop border villages of Ladakh. As part of this effort, hill council has been encouraging winter tourism so as to expand beyond summer season tourism; home stays and zero waste concepts should also benefit local communities; this marathon serves as an ideal platform to bring these issues to light as well as foster sustainable winter tourism development.

The Finale

Participants from around the country and globe flocked to participate in the Frozen Lake Marathon hosted by Adventure Sports Foundation of Ladakh (ASFL). All runners found the run to be successful, leaving each one feeling proud of their achievement.

The event sought to raise awareness about climate change through sports and adventure activities, while emphasizing sustainable tourism practices in the Himalayas. Participants ran across Pangong Tso ice sheets over 21 kilometers within four hours – participants must complete all 21 kms before returning back.

This was India’s inaugural frozen lake marathon and provided an invaluable opportunity to raise awareness of our environment’s fragility. Organisers hope that it becomes an annual event so more people come out and visit this remarkable spot.

Closing Thoughts

Ladakh is an immensely popular tourist destination, yet with increasing numbers visiting each year it has become more difficult to ensure sustainable tourism in this beautiful region. Overtourism has negatively impacted its natural surroundings, so protecting it from further degradation should be prioritised; Pangong Tso Marathon provides an excellent example of how people can help protect this beautiful region for future generations.

Ladakh recently made history when it held a half-marathon on Pangong Tso lake at 13,000 feet altitude – marking a 21 kilometer trail starting in Lukung and ending at Maan village – breaking a Guinness record for highest frozen lake half-marathon run! This amazing achievement marked Ladakh as an innovator.

Leh District Development Commissioner Shrikant Balasaheb Suse said that 75 selected athletes participated in the race without experiencing any injuries as part of “The Final Run”, in order to send out a message about climate change’s rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers.

Other countries also host icy races, such as the North Pole Marathon and Antarctic Ice Marathon. Norway offers its own Icebug Frozen Lake Marathon held at an altitude of 819 meters in Tisleifjorden.

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