Meghalaya, the Abode of Clouds, is set to welcome runners from all over the country to an incredible hill running experience at the second Sohra Marathon this month. Easily one of the most scenic marathon courses in India, it follows the winding Shillong – Cherrapunjee highway, passing mist-covered hills, hamlets and several magnificent waterfalls on the way.

As any school-child will tell you, Cherrapunjee is a land of record rainfall, and one of the wettest places in the world. It is credited with receiving 1042 inches of rainfall in a single year – the heaviest on earth – and to celebrate this, the event invites 1042 runners to take part in this year’s event. According to organizers, the marathon also aims to raise awareness about the need to protect the fragile Khasi Hills and give a hand to sustainable tourism through the run, besides generally promoting running as a sport that cuts across communities and differences.

The marathon begins at Café Cherrapunjee (Mawkdok Village) 16km from Shillong, and drops in elevation towards the Mawkdot Bridge, which marks the beginning of the spectacular landscape and panoramic views of the Khasi Plateau. There is one tough climb leading up to Laitryngew after which it’s downhill to Cherrapunjee. The full marathon loops back from Cherrapunjee Market after which begins the challenging climb back to the starting point. The total elevation loss and gain is about 1300ft over the 21km loop.

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The Sohra Cherrapunjee Marathon comes with the following categories:
• Elite Indian Professional Race: Full marathon of 42.2km and half marathon of 21.1km
• Amateur Race: Full marathon of 42.2km and half marathon of 21.1km.
• Kid’s Fun Run of 2km
• Inclusive Run: Open to all including persons with different abilities.

There’s also a celebratory pasta party planned for the night before the marathon, 16th July, which will see well-known runners impart some much-needed pep talk and wisdom to all participants before the race. For more information, visit the Facebook page.

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