Over the last few days, I have shared some amazing photos of La Ultra the High with you, a race that is – quite simply – like no other.
I’m now going to try and explain something of this extraordinary event to readers who might not be familiar with Ladakh, the high-altitude plateau in the Indian Himalayas.
Ladakh is, first of all, one of the most stunningly beautiful, fabulous, gorgeous places you will ever see.
Stark, arid, empty, the Ladakhi landscape stretches for ever, towards endless ranges of mountains, under an over-arching deep blue sky. The sun is brutally fierce during the days, and the nights are freezing.
The capital city of Ladakh, Leh, is at an altitude of 3500 metres. From the moment you alight from the plane, into eye-wateringly bright sunshine, you have to cope with breathing issues, because of the altitude. Slow and steady is the mantra, to help you acclimatise. You need to rest, walk v-e-r-y, v-e-r-y slowly, and let your body adapt to the thin air.
And the amazing runners of La Ultra, once acclimatised, coolly set off to run 111/222/333km in this thin air, in this difficult terrain. Over mountain passes. Through the blisteringly hot days. On through the freezing cold nights. (No, no, of course they don’t stop for the night. Perish the thought. They run non-stop)
Isn’t it an amazing, crazy, fabulous adventure?
More jaw-dropping facts and figures in the next post 🙂