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Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon

Quick facts

Location Punakha Dzong, Bhutan

Distance Marathon

Date 07 Mar 2020

About Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon

The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is a land of high mountains and deep valleys where compassion and wisdom are the benchmark against which all things are measured, and where the King rules by ‘Gross National Happiness’.

On your 26.2 mile(42km) or 13.1 mile(21km) journey through stunning rural countryside and villages, before finishing at the historic Punakha Dzong, you’ll discover the geographical and cultural wonders of a country naturally designed to be a tantalizing destination for adventure and spiritual seekers.

100% of the profits made through this event will support Bhutan’s Youth and Olympic Sports programs. Come for the event, and stay for the travel experience of a lifetime.

Distances

Marathon

  • 42.195km

Half Marathon

  • 21.097km

Practicalities

Aid Stations

Aid stations are located approximately 2-3.5 miles(3.2km-5.6km) apart. Aid stations will feature water, bananas and sports nutrition products. There will mile marker signs designating your current run distance, at each aid station. All runners are encouraged to carry a water bottle and any other necessary personal food supplements between aid stations as needed. Aid stations are designed to provide aid to those within the 6.5 hour cut off time. Toilet facilities will be set up at each aid station along the route. Medical personnel will be available at the finish line as well as roving on the course. There will be an ambulance on standby.

Maximum Time

Cut off time at the finish line is 7 hours from the start line.

Timing

There will be intermittent and undisclosed check points along the course where you will check in with timing personnel. You will be given your finish time at the Awards Ceremony. Runners shall cross Punakha Suspension Bridge by 1:30 pm. If not, they will be picked up by the sweep team.

Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon Route Map

Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon Route Map

Start:

Jigme Dorji National Park

Punakha Dzong,bt

Finish:

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong,bt

Highlights

Participants will discover the geographical and cultural wonders of a country naturally designed to be a tantalizing destination for adventure and spiritual seekers.

Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) is the second largest national park in Bhutan with an area of 4316 sq. km. Located in the north western park of the country, the park also shares international border with the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. JDNP is rich in biodiversity with a present record of 36 mammals, 328 birds, 5 reptiles, 300 medicinal plants, and 39 butterflies. It was in JDNP where tigers were first sighted above 4000 meters sharing habitat with snow leopards. Besides the rich floral and faunal diversity, the sources of four major rivers, Pachhu, Wangchhu, Phochhu and Mochhu lie in the park as well.
The park spans across 5 districts, namely Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Gasa. Park headquarters based in Damji, Gasa and its 4 range offices addresses common challenges faced by protected areas elsewhere, like human-wildlife conflicts, unsustainable collection/or use of forest resources, and illegal wildlife trade.

Punakha Dzong is arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country, especially in spring when the lilac-coloured jacaranda trees bring a lush sensuality to the dzong's characteristically towering whitewashed walls. This dzong was the second to be built in Bhutan and it served as the capital and seat of government until the mid-1950s. All of Bhutan's kings have been crowned here. The dzong is still the winter residence of the dratshang (official monk body). Guru Rinpoche foretold the construction of Punakha Dzong, predicting that '…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant'. When the Zhabdrung visited Punakha he chose the tip of the trunk of the sleeping elephant at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu as the place to build a dzong.

Overview

Marathon Route Description

The marathon route is mostly rural and approximately 50% on hard pack dirt and 50% on pavement.

The marathon will start at 8:00 AM. The elevation at the start line is 6700 feet. We recommend you wear warm clothing over your running clothing and bring any other personal items you might need. These will be transported for you back to the finish line. Do not bring any valuables to the start line.

From the start line runners will descend into a few shallow rollers before the course mostly flattens out while proceeding toward Punakha. The route follows the Mo Chhu (river) through rural Punakha Valley. After leaving the rain forest area the valley will open up and you will have stunning views of the Khamsum Yulley Temple, monasteries, rice paddies, rain forest, villages and Chortens. Route is mostly rural and approximately 50% on hard pack dirt with some rocky and uneven surfaces and 50% on pavement.. The terrain is flat to rolling with many gradual down hill sections and with an overall elevation loss of over 1000 feet.

Approximately .5 mi(.8km) before reaching the Punakha Dzong, runners will turn left off the main road, cross a bridge onto a paved road and then and take a hard pack dirt track through a small village bypassing the cremation site. At the cremation site you will have approximately 7 miles(11.27km) to go to the finish line. You will climb over a cattle barrier then up a short hill, before crossing a stunning 300 foot long suspension bridge across the Pho Chhu. Make sure you take a moment to enjoy the view! This is a very stable suspension bridge and quite runnable.

You’ll descend a short steep hill off the bridge area before continuing on hard pack dirt for about 3 miles(4.8km) while following the Puna Tsang Chhu south from the suspension bridge. You’ll reach your last aid station on the course just before before turning into pavement for the remainder of the event. Runners will then cross the Puna Tsang Chhu on a standard vehicle bridge and head north back toward Punakha Dzong via Khuruthang town and past the Khuruthang Monastery and Chorten. The finish is at the picturesque Punakha Dzong.

Runners must reach the Pho Chhu suspension bridge (18.6miles/30km) by 1:30 PM and the finish line by 3:00 PM.

Half Marathon Route Description

The half marathon route is mostly rural and approximately 40% on hard pack dirt and 60% on pavement.

The half marathon will start at 7:30 AM. The elevation at the start line is approximately 4311 feet. We recommend you wear warm clothing over your running clothing and bring any other personal items you might need. These will be transported for you back to the finish line. Do not bring any valuables to the start line.

The half marathon route follows the Mo Chhu (river) through rural Punakha Valley with stunning views right off the bat of the Khamsum Yulley Temple, monasteries, rice paddies, rain forest, villages and Chortens. Route is mostly rural and approximately 50% on hard pack dirt with some rocky and uneven surfaces and 50% on pavement.. The terrain is flat to rolling with many gradual down hill sections.

Approximately .5 miles(.8kms) before reaching the Punakha Dzong, runners will turn left off the main road, cross a bridge onto a paved road and then and take a hard pack dirt track through a small village bypassing the cremation site. At the cremation site you will have approximately 7 miles(11.27km) to go to the finish line. You will climb over a cattle barrier then up a short hill, before crossing a stunning 300 foot long suspension bridge across the Pho Chhu. Make sure you take a moment to enjoy the view! This is a very stable suspension bridge and quite runnable.

You’ll descend a short steep hill off the bridge area before continuing on hard pack dirt for about 3 miles(4.8km) while following the Puna Tsang Chhu south from the suspension bridge. You’ll reach your last aid station on the course just before before turning into pavement for the remainder of the event. Runners will then cross the Puna Tsang Chhu on a standard vehicle bridge and head north back toward Punakha Dzong via Khuruthang town and past the Khuruthang Monastery and Chorten. The finish is at the picturesque Punakha Dzong.

Runners must reach the Pho Chhu suspension bridge (8.7K) by 1:30 PM and the finish line by 3:00 PM.

The race information has been found on the official website of the event or through publicly available sources. Always refer to the official website the latest race information. Please let us know if any data is wrong or missing, by emailing us.