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.
|1||Arrive in Leh|
|2||Short Crew Meeting; Local sight-seeing in and around Leh; Small walks|
|3 - 7||Acclimatisation. You can plan short 2-3 trips to one of the lakes or other tourist destinations or join the runners in short acclimatisation trips and runs in and around Leh|
|8 - 9||Planning meetings in Leh and Medical briefs Plan on being in Leh or close by. Possibly 1-2 crew activities|
|10||Move from Leh to Start Line Camp (Nubra Valley)|
|11||Rest during day; final plans with runners. Race starts 10 pm|
|12 -14||Main Race Days|
|15||Post-dinner party, prizes and fun|
|16||Departure from 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)
(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. )
|Balacklava / Warm cap||Preferably with wool or fleece lining that can protect you in sub-zero temperatures and in windy conditions|
|Thermal base layer||Merino / Acrylic / polyester base layer.|
|Thermal mid layer||Acclimatisation. You can plan short 2-3 trips to one of the lakes or other tourist destinations or join the runners in short acclimatisation trips and runs in and around Leh|
|Down Jacket||A lightweight - medium down jacket with comfort limit of Minus 5 - Minus 10 will suffice. This in addition to mid & base layers mentioned above will keep you warm in temperatures as low as Minus 10-12 C.|
|Hard Shell||This is a water proof outer layer for times when it's raining and snowing. This will also protect you during very windy conditions.|
|Insulated Socks||Along with your regular cotton / polyester socks, we recommend having a pair or two of insulated socks made of wool. These will help you during lower temperatures at night at high altitudes.|
|Outdoor hiking trouser||We recommend restricting use of your regular jeans / cotton trousers till Leh that will not be very cold in August. During race days / outdoor times, for better protection from wind / temperatures changes we recommend getting a pair of hiking / trekking trousers.|
|Thermal base layer||For night times at very high altitudes when temperatures will drop well below freezing, a thermal base layer below your hiking trousers is a must. You can also buy insulated trousers separately if your budget allows.|
|Gloves||A pair of insulated & wind resistant gloves is a must for activities during night time at very high altitudes.|
|Head Torch||A good head torch with 80-150 lumens of output will suffice for outdoor activities.|
|Sunglasses||UV protected sun glasses are a must for protection from high radiation at high altitudes.|
|Hat||It can get 35-40 degree C hot during day in Leh and surrounding areas at similar altitudes. Hat will give you a good cover from the harsh sun.|
|Sunscreen lotion||We recommend SPF 50 & above creams for protection from blistering heat during day.|
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.