How To Prepare

World’s cruelest ultra-marathon

How To Prepare

Preparing well is the key to you having a good volunteering experience at the La Ultra. Again, this is not a full-time picnic or sight-seeing adventure, so please plan on adequate preparation prior to coming out to Leh.


Please review the schedule for the next race carefully. It is not compulsory for volunteers to stay for the entire duration like the runners, but acclimatization is still important. For those short on time, we advice on reaching Leh at-least 6 days before the race if not 11 like all participants, this will help you acclimatize well. For the most part, the guest house in Leh will be your home base. Many volunteers choose to take this opportunity to take a 2-3 day sight-seeing trip to one of the lakes or other destinations during the acclimatization period. If you are not planning to do that, then you will only be away from Leh during the race. Once the race starts, the core team supports the runners for the first leg through to South Pullu (87 kms). If you are assigned to a runner’s team, you should plan on being with your runner from this point, until the finish of the race. After the race, everybody returns to Leh for the post-race party.

Reaching Leh

We usually try to organise group travel from Delhi to Leh for our volunteers. Watch out for emails or announcements on this site for information on this as we approach the event.

There are basically two options to reach Leh. You can fly in from Delhi on one of the daily flights. Check any of the travel sites for information and booking. Flights to Leh can get very expensive if you book too late. So we suggest you book early. You can also get to Leh by road from Srinagar or Manali. We suggest you look for a shared taxi option on a travel site or connect with any tour operator in Leh, Srinagar or Manali on the Internet.

Flying to Leh is of course the fastest way to get there. But do remember that you land directly at 11,000+ feet and you must factor in this quick altitude change into your acclimatization plans. Basically, we recommend that you do almost nothing for the first 48 hours other than walk around Leh. Getting to Leh by road can take two days, so you will have to factor in an extra day into your travel plans.

Clothing & Equipment

You can experience the entire spectrum of weather on the same day in Leh-Ladakh! Be prepared for extreme heat and sun, rain, ice and snow. Having said that, do not overload your bags. Always keep a day pack with 30-40 liter capacity handy for race days and short trips around. Use your room in Leh to keep your stuff and only carry what you need for the day or for the race during race days.

It is easy to get sunburn in Leh-Ladakh due to the high UV factor. We strongly recommend that you wear light-coloured clothing to cover yourself as much as you can. A light full-sleeves top, light trousers and headgear that shade your face and neck fully are recommended. Sunscreen of SPF-50 or higher is recommended. From our experience it is easy to get sunburn despite sunscreen. So it is best to cover yourself as much as you can during the day. If you suffer from sunburn, you will be miserable and be that much less useful to your runner and team.

Since conditions can change quickly, prepare yourself with multiple layers. For extreme cold and windy conditions, plan an inner technical layer, a mid-layer of fleece or something equivalent and an outer down jacket. Additionally, ensure that you have some protection if it gets rainy. A beanie or balaclava is a must. Additionally, have warm socks, gloves and at least two pairs of footwear in case one gets wet. Lip balm and moisturising lotion is very important.

We have provided an equipment list for your reference below (courtesy: Ravi Singh, Decathlon)

Equipment List

(All suggested items below have been mentioned keeping in mind easy availability of the large variety in India across various cities. As a volunteer you are free to choose similar product of any other brand you wish to or have better access to. )

Health and Fitness

It is important that you take good care of yourself. You will not be able to help your runner or your team if you need care and attention yourself! In the run-up to the event we suggest that you get adequate exercise and be relatively fit. You might have to keep your runner company at times and this can be demanding. You will be out of your daily routine. Lack of adequate nutrition, improper hydration and lack of sleep can take their toll quickly.

Please be sure to inform the Race Director and medical team if you have any past health-history that may require attention.

Communication and Emergency Contacts

Leh has some connectivity but it can be very erratic! In the extreme case, be prepared to have zero connectivity. From our experience, BSNL and Airtel Postpaid connections work the best in and around Leh. Apart from this, you might get some connectivity at higher points on the highway. Please note that out of Jammu & Kashmir prepaid SIM cards will not work due to security regulations.

Most guest houses will have some WiFi hotspots, but they are very erratic and slow. At best, you might be able to access email and make some quick social media updates.

As we get closer to the race, you can get contact information in Leh for the Race Director and other core team members. You can share these as emergency contacts while you are at the La Ultra with your family and friends.

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