About the Bhutan International Marathon

Run above the clouds

The Bhutan International Marathon was created in 2012 by the Bhutan Olympic Committee

The Bhutan International Marathon was created in 2012 by the Bhutan Olympic Committee, with the goal of creating the most beautifully scenic and culturally inspiring marathon experience in the world – through the magical Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.

Marathon: Saturday, March 3, 2018

Start Time:  8:00 AM

  • Finish line and parking at Punakha Dzong
  • Start line in the Gasa Dzongkhag
  • National Registration Fee: 1000 Nu
  • International Registration Fee: $150 US
  • Runners must report at the Damchen Parking Lot: 5:30am
  • Race starts at 8:00 AM

Half Marathon: Saturday, March 3, 2018

Start Time:  8:00 AM

  • Finish line and parking at Punakha Dzong
  • The Half Marathon course is the second half of the marathon course.
  • National Registration Fee: 800 Nu
  • International Registration Fee: $110 US
  • Runners must report at the Damchen Parking Lot: 6:00am
  • Race starts at 8:00 AM
  • BIM Rules and Regulations 2016

Experience the magical Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. 

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.

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.

Race Support Services

Aid Stations & Mile Markers
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.

Traffic

Traffic will be open to vehicles, but will be monitored by local police and transportation officers. Most of this route is in rural Bhutan, so the quantity of vehicles on the road is minimal.

Toilets
Toilet facilities will be set up at each aid station along the route.

Medical
Medical personnel will be available at the finish line as well as roving on the course. There will be an ambulance on standby.

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

Participants Receive

  • Pre-race briefing in Punakha
  • Festive race start with officials from the Gasa Dzongkhag
  • Transportation from the finish line at the Dzong to the start of the race
  • Transport of any personal items from the start line to the finish line
  • Technical running shirt with BIM logo
  • Special gift for all finishers
  • Special awards given to top competitors
  • Awards Celebration with Traditional Entertainment
  • Aid stations, medical support
  • There will be a raffle prize drawing at the Awards Ceremony with a chance for ALL participants to win prizes!

Event Schedule

Friday, March 2, 2018 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

  • Packet Pick Up and race check-in inside Damchen Resort in Khuruthang. PLEASE BRING A PICTURE ID TO CHECK IN. 
  • You will receive your race number at this time which will need to be pinned to the front of your running shirt.
  • If you have not yet paid your registration fee, you can do so at the Packet Pick Up.
  • Mandatory Pre-race Briefing will be right after Packet Pick Up at 2:00 PM  inside Damchen Resort in Khuruthang.

Saturday, March 3, 2018, 8:00 AM

Full Marathon runners must report to the Damchen Resort Parking Lot and be on the bus by 5:30 AM on race morning in order to catch the bus to the start line of your event.

Half Marathon runners must report to the Damchen Resort Parking Lot and be on the bus by 6:00 AM on race morning in order to catch the bus to the start line of your event.

  • 8:00 AM. Half Marathon Race Start
  • 8:00 AM. Marathon Race Start
  • 1:30 PM. All runners must reach the Pho Chhu suspension bridge.
  • 3:00 PM. Race cutoff time.
  • 5:00 PM. Awards Celebration in Punakha. Our awards ceremony and celebration dinner will be the evening of the race, March 3, 2018 at 5:00 PM in the Punakha Dzong area. The specific location will be announced at the pre-race briefing.

Awards & Prizes

Full Marathon Cash Purse

  • 1st Male & Female Nu.40,000 (Each) *with round trip ticket to BKK sponsored by Bhutan Airlines
  • 2nd Male & Female Nu. 30,000 (Each)
  • 3rd Male & Female Nu.20,000 (Each)
  • 4th Male & Female Nu.10,000 (Each)
  • 5th Male & Female Nu. 5000 (Each)

Half Marathon Cash Purse

  • 1st Male & Female Nu.20,000 (Each)*with Gift Voucher Sponsored by Uma Resorts
  • 2nd Male & Female Nu.15,000 (Each)
  • 3rd Male & Female Nu.10,000 (Each)
  • 4th Male & Female Nu.5000 (Each)
  • 5th Male & Female Nu.3000 (Each)

Special Awards

  • Top 5 Open Men
  • Top 5 Open Women
  • Special awards given for first Bhutanese woman in both the marathon and half marathon
  • Top 3 Masters Men (masters is designated as 50+ for this event)
  • Top 3 Masters Women (masters is designated as 50+ for this event)
  • Medals for all finishers
  • Bhutan International Marathon T-shirt for all Participants
  • Raffle prize drawing at the Awards Ceremony for all participants

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