Picture yourself running; your feet hitting the road in perfect harmony with your heartbeat.The finish is nowhere in sight and you are looking for inspiration to keep powering on. As if on cue, you spot a romp of otters watching you intently as you pass by. This year, race directors have come up with trails that might motivate you enough to outdo yourself. You can choose half marathons, marathons and ultrathons, depending on your level of fitness (the organizers disqualify participants who are suspected to be unfit).Each race has a separate fee for locals and foreigners.
Kihim Running and Living Beach Half Marathon
If tracks and parched land aren’t your scene, go to Kihim, near Alibaug in Maharashtra. You will get to run on the flat, hard-packed sand of this serene beach at low tide. The distances are 21.10km, 10.55km and 5km. Registration closes on 28 February. For more details, visit Runningandliving.com.
Far East Ultrathon
In this ultrathon, you literally run into a different country. Categorized into three distances—65km, 45km and 25km—the race starts from Kwatha, a quaint village in Manipur. From there, the participants cross the Indo-Myanmar bridge into the border town of Moreh, continuing till the Tamu monastery in Myanmar, from where they return. One can’t enter Myanmar before 7am, so the organizer has changed the format a bit this time around. “I am starting the race a bit further away from the border. By the time we reach there, the gates will open,” says Naorem Kumar, a retired army colonel and the race organizer. And don’t fret if you can’t participate in April. “I usually have around 30 people interested in attending the event, so I will organize the ultrathon a couple of times this year,” Kumar adds. Registration closes on 1 April. For more details, visit Fareastultrathon.com.
Organized by Rimo Expeditions, the Ladakh Marathon is one of the toughest races in the world. It is part of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, and a key event in the global marathon circuit. There are four races to choose from—a 7km run, a half marathon, a marathon and the Khardung La Challenge—and the participants are expected to reach Leh at least a week before the race to acclimatize. The Khardung La Challenge is the toughest ultrathon and, at 5,370m, one of the world’s highest. This race will take place on 9 September, a day before the other races. Registration will open mid-March and close by 15 July for all races except the 7km race. For more details, visit Ladakhmarathon.com.
Kaveri Trail Marathon
The Kaveri Trail Marathon is one of the more popular marathons in India. The race—categorized into a 10km event, a half marathon and a marathon—starts next to the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and the path runs along a canal of the Kaveri river, close to Balmuri Falls. Meeting a few otters and getting to see more than 100 varieties of birds is an added bonus. There were around 1,900 participants last year, says Rajiv S., one of the organizers. He is expecting more this year. Registration likely to start in March. For more details, visit here .