The local boy Chhaperam, would have never thought of running a marathon in his backyard and competing with international runners and a contingent from the Indian army. Little did he know, that he would be sliver medalist in the 10km men’s category of the UnCrushedLeaves Himalayan Marathon held in Jibhi on 20 May, 2018.
This was unprecedented in Jibhi and excitement among locals was palpable for the event. The marathon was organized by UnCrushedLeaves, a travel experience outfit. Early morning on the 20th of May, the marathon was flagged off for 21kms, 10kms and 5kms. The half marathon that went up on the Seraj-Banjar range with picturesque curving roads, pine trees by the side, offered runners the challenge to gain 944 meters in elevation.
The army man, Hemant, from J&K Rifles won the 21km category with a time of 1hr 18m 14s; he was followed by Peter Mwangi, a participant from Kenya with a timing of 1hr 20m 13s. The local girl, Prema Devi, was the winner in the women half marathon category with a timing of 1hr 54m 01s.
Mr. Surendra Shourie, MLA from Banjar constituency and chief guest for the awards ceremony, appreciated the event and said that there are new projects being implemented in the valley which shall further boost tourism.
The Himalayan Marathon was sponsored by Decathlon, Fast & UP and TimesCard. It was supported by JVTDA whose president Bhawan S. Rana said that course was challenging for runners, which makes the UnCrushedLeaves Himalayan Marathon unique. He added that such events shall shape tourism in the valley and JVTDA is happy to be part of this event.
Local flavor was another welcome twist for the marathon. During the event traditional instruments and musicians were used to motivate the runners and after the marathon they were treated to a round of delicious Himachali cuisine.
The founder of UnCrushedLeaves, Kunnal Sharma, said that concept of Himalayan Marathon is to promote healthy living and Eco-tourism. He emphasized that future marathons shall further amplify this cause and provide increasing degree of challenge to runners.
UnCrushedLeaves is travel experience outfit based out Thane, near the Mumbai Metropolitan region. For over past two years, travelers have experienced different parts of India with UnCrushedLeaves and it has a growing tribe of over 28,000 followers on Facebook and 17,000 followers on its blog.
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