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Story So Very Far

The inception of a run on Leh-Manali highway happened way back in 2009 after Rajat, along with Melvin Barreto, had attempted to run from Manali to(wards) Rohtang Pass. They managed 30ish kms. Looking at the waves on Manali-Leh highway altitude map, they were convinced that it simply had to be run. Inspired by Badwater ultra in Death Valley, California, they wanted the run to be a similar distance, i.e. 217 kms. On discussing with friends, Rajat was told that they shouldn’t be copying a distance from anywhere else. That simply meant that it couldn’t be a lesser distance than 217. On a random google search for the significance of number 222, it said if you have stumbled upon this number, you are on the right track and you should carry on. This was the beginning of a love affair with repetitive numbers at La Ultra, which since then has had 11, 22, 33, 55, 111, 222, 333 and 555 categories.

When the idea was further discussed at Adventure wing, Army head quarters, New Delhi, since Ladakh is known for army presence, Rajat was first told that high altitude makes it an impossible project. But Rajat had been bitten by the bug and had done his homework. ‘What if we first acclimatised at higher altitude for a week or more and then ran it?’



Now officers anywhere don’t like being questioned, leave alone being told that someone has a solution to problem that they don’t. Their immediate response was, ‘No, civilians can’t do it.’ And that was it. This supposed impossible task for civilians simply had be proven possible. There was no other way around it.

Rajat was also told by his other friends and well wishers from business community, medical, esp. sports medicine, and local Ladhakis that he had gone insane, that he would go bankrupt, end up killing someone and how could low-landers possibly achieve this when high-landers couldn’t even fathom the idea..

Now it’s been a decade of making impossible yell it’s possible, by getting people to run those crazy distances, ranging from 111, 222, 333 to 555 kms in those inhospitable conditions..


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