Gear up for a unique marathon in the Kangra Valley
Have you been practising for the marathons? Curious about your stamina and strength? Then go for the Bir-Billing Half Marathon in Himachal Pradesh, slated for April 16 this year. It is a part of a larger series of endurance races called The Hell Race (thehellrace.com) and features mountain biking and running in the Himalaya.
The route cuts through the scenic Bir region of the Kangra valley–through pine forests and alpine meadows, past hill streams and through small Tibetan settlements steeped in Buddhist culture. But it is not an easy run. The tricky mountainous terrain will exact every ounce of your strength and determination to carry on. The Race Route is a mix of tarmac and jeep track on rolling terrain. If you want to avoid the rigorous run yet want to enjoy the countryside, there is a 10 km category option for runners who want to take it easy
Participants have to register in advance. Registration charge for the half marathon is â‚¹1,850 per person and that for the 10-km run is â‚¹1,550 per person. Charge include a racing kit, a post-race lunch and other services. You can stay at the Runners' Village, a camping site located on a large meadow in Bir. There are local hotels and homestays that you can stay at as well.
The Runners’ Village is a concept village built exclusively for the runners, something that has so far happened only in events like Olympics and Asian Games, claim the organisers. The village will have accommodation for 150 people in eco-friendly tents with all basic amenities, including toilets, hot water baths, charging facilities, sleeping bags and food. Guests can participate in various activities and events such as campfires, folk music, adventure activities, local treks, and on-spot competitions. There will be a shuttle service for runners from the camp site to the starting point of the race. You can avail of various accommodation packages, beginning from â‚¹1,350 per person per night (vegetarian meals included) on a 4-person occupancy.
The nearest airport is at Gaggal, located approximately 14km from Dharamshala, which connects the valley to Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh. From the airport, you can make the onward journey of 68km to Bir by bus or a prepaid taxi. However, as flight operations are dependent on weather conditions of the mountains, a road journey, though time consuming, is a better option in the long run. A network of state-run and private local buses connects Bir to Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala and New Delhi. There is only one direct air-conditioned HRTC Volvo bus from New Delhi to Bir, which departs from Kashmiri gate ISBT at 6:45 pm and arrives at Bir at 6:30 am. You could also take the many Volvos that ply between Delhi or Chandigarh and Kangra, Baijnath or Joginder Nagar. For registration and more details, go to the website.
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