Trail Running

A lot of you have been exploring new ways to make your running life vibrant and happy.

Not just by running new races but finding new running friends, routes and trails in the city you live and elsewhere. Some of you have been running in the mountains too. We thought we should help create a community for trail running in India. If you love trail running, this is where you would want to be. Well, you could be a walker, runner or just about anyone. Meet your buddies, explore a new route, keep yourself updated on what’s happening in the world of trail running in India and much more.

Route Map


Trail Running: Trail running is running on the trail. It could be a trail in the city you live or up in the mountains you love. Running on the trail offers a different experience unlike running on the road. You choose your own path and enjoy the journey. Share the trails around your city you live or a trail up in the mountain we can run.

The Stuff of Trail Running: Build up slowly – trails tend to be harder on the body than roads so don’t put in 100% effort on the first attempt. Try to build up the distance and speed so you become comfortable with the terrain.

Take shorter strides – trail runs are full of big hills, which will require more effort. So try not to bend over as this can prevent air from flowing into your lungs. Shorter strides will help you keep your back straight and your lungs at full capacity.

Mix up your training – when preparing for a trail run try combining short, fast runs with longer, slower ones. This will help you prepare for all stages of a Runfrom the hills to the flat stretches.

Keep your eye on the trail – there are plenty of obstacles like tree roots, twigs and rocks which you won’t find on the road so try to look a few steps ahead of you so you know what to expect in your stride.

Control your speed on downhills – it’s tempting to run fast down a hill, but the trails can be dangerous, so make a conscious effort to slow your pace to avoid injury on the descent.

(Courtesy: Tips from Asics Trail Running)

1.I have never run on the trail. Can I take part in a run/race?
Yes, of course. But it would be desirable if you have experience of running and perhaps walking in the mountain.

2. What kind of fitness levels should I have for this race?
You should be a runner and must have done considerable training for this Runfor it involves climbing and descending down the mountain. That means you should be able to run an easy 21 k or more in the city without any sweat.

4.What is an ideal trail running shoe?
Depends on the fit. We have tried Salomon SpeedCross 3. It’s comfortable on the climb, has great traction and superb on downhill. It’s light weight also. You may want to try other trail running shoes.

5.How do I practice for the Run if I am living in a city?
For a start, find the trails in and around your city and start running there to get comfortable off roads. Run wherever you find climbs. You can do inclines on the treadmill if you are training indoors else you can use flyovers.

6.What kind of training regimen should I adopt?

Emmanuel Gault's Top Tips


6.1 Run Uphill

Lean forward slightly into the gradient with your whole body – make sure you don’t bend at your waist. Reduce your stride length and take smaller, more frequent steps, making sure you get up on your toes. Pump your arms to propel you uphill. Keep them bent at 90 degrees at the elbow. Run Downhill

Don’t lean back and land heavily on your heels to put the brakes on. This puts a lot of strain on your hamstrings.

On gentle slopes, lengthen your stride – don’t fight gravity.

If the slope is of medium gradient, lean forward slightly, keep your knees soft, land on your heels and roll through to your toes. Also, keep your arms out wide to stabilise yourself.

If it’s a really steep slope, run down in a wide zigzag to lessen the gradient. If you start to lose control then jump straight up in the air to halt your momentum. Sounds like a recipe for face-planting, but it slams your brakes on.

6.2 Walk Uphill

Don’t let your ego stop you walking – sometimes it’s actually quicker to walk a steep slope than to run it. Plus, you’ll conserve energy.

Take big exaggerated strides.

Keep your hands on your thighs, just above your knees, and use them to push off on each step. This generates momentum and saves energy going uphill.

6.3 Slide Downhill

Identify descents – on snow, or mushy, leafy ground, for example – that can’t be run. Crouch slightly and lean back so your bum is touching the ground, and then start to half slide, half run. Let your heels skid along the floor and occasionally pedal your feet and run a few steps to increase speed. Don’t head straight down. Traverse in zigzags, as if you were skiing. Keep your hands on the ground slightly behind you to act as rudders. Keep your footing

Spot hidden obstacles and uneven ground early by keeping your eyes focused four or five metres in front of you. Look for footprints, tracks or flattened patches of ground where other runners have been before and follow those.

If there are no tracks you can follow, always look for the largest and most solid object to land on.


7. What personal Rungear should I carry for a race?

Though we have ten stations between the start and finish, we recommend you carry a hydration pack. A cap or a visor whichever is comfortable. A watch to have the time. Sunglasses to keep you off the glare. A trail running hoody or a wind-cheater to keep you warm when you stop for breaks. Ideally a middleweight full sleeve running shirt. November in Dharamsala will have a nip in the air but once you start climbing, you should be warm enough. Running shorts or tights depending on what you are comfortable. Definitely a trail running shoe. Please break into your trail running shoes well before you arrive for the race. A lightweight or mid-weight running sock to keep you away from blisters.


8. How should I be outfitted on Run day?

November in Dharamsala will be nice and pleasant with a nip in the air. Days will be warm and nights should be cool with a clear blue sky. You will be covered for a little portion of the climb and from the Triund ridge, you will be exposed. Sunglasses and a cap/visor are a must. A running shorts/running tight with a full sleeve running shirt ideally one that wicks moisture and sweat. Carry a wind cheater or a trail running hoody to keep you warm incase if you have to rest on your way. Carry a hydration pack with a few energy bars and gels. There will be ten stations with water, energy drinks and water en-route. A watch to keep time.

» Triund Trail Run:
A couple of friends have been meaning to put together a run in the Indian Himalaya. The run starts from Mcleodganj and finishing at Indru-Nag Temple at Dharamsala. The idea is to run on the trail. And it is exactly what you will do. Lot of you may have walked to the Triund ridge from Mcleod. Now, it’s now time to run.

» » Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj & The Kangra Valley

McLeod's stunning location above the Indian plains and beneath the backdrop of the shimmering peaks of the Dhaula Dhar-combined with the presence of the the 14th Dalai Lama and his government in exile-have contributed to its popularity among trekkers keen to explore the trails across the Dhaula Dhar- Garry Weare in Trekking in the Indian Himalaya

Dharamasala is the district administrative headquarters of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. Located at an altitude of 1250 M, Dharamsala was ruled by the Katoch dynasty before the days of Raj. In 1848, it was annexed by the Birtish. It became a cantonment town in 1849 when troops moved from Kangra to occupy a station. The second Lord Elgin, Viceroy of India died here in 1863 and is buried in the cemetery in St.John in the Wilderness, a small Anglican church on the way to Mcleod Ganj. It became a popular hill station for the British. In 1905, the Kangra Valley suffered a major earthquake killing thousands of people. While the Gurkhas rebuilt the town, the British moved to Simla making it as the summer capital.

McLeod Ganj or Upper Dharamsala at nearly 1,800 metres, is nestled in the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges and surrounded by a forest of deodars. it is home to His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzing Gyatso and the headquarters of the Tibetan Government In Exile. McLeod Ganj offers travellers an opportunity to experience shades of a vibrant Tibetan culture. It also attracts a a lot Indian and western tourists, academics and seekers of spiritualism. It is also the gateway to a few treks into the Dhauladar-Indrahaar and Kareri Lake circuit are a few popular ones.

During the winter months, starting from December till middle of February the town receives snowfall and temperatures can go down to below freezing while summer temperatures can go up to 30 deg C.The monsoons arrive during the middle of June and stay till middle of September.

» » RunDetails

RunDistance: 16 Km
Cumulative Ascent & Descent: 2200 M
Ascent: 900 M
Descent: 1300 M
Start: 1900 M
Triund: 2800 M
Finish: 1400

»»» Run Profile

Start: Regional Mountaineering Centre, Dharamshala

The run starts from the premises of the Regional Mountaineering Centre, above Mcleod Ganj, just short of Dharamkot at an altidue of 1857 M. Once you leave the premises, you hit the cobbled path and start climbing, running alongside the Tushita meditation centre's boundary wall. A short climb takes you Dharamkot's main junction. Instead of going into Dharamkot, we continue go up skirting the water tank and take the trail on to your right into the deodar forest.
It's a straight route from here. Follow the cobbled path for a kilometre or so, a climb all the way through the deodar forest, till it joins the wider trail on to you left where you will see the first signage, a couple of bends and you are at Galu temple. It has a couple of shops. You will see the first water station here. You leave Galu and keep going straight, you will go past a few shops and guest houses on your left as the trail climbs up. The next water station is at Magic View, which is roughly the halfway mark to Triund. Rest, hydrate and have a banana or eat something. Also enjoy the views of Dharamkot and Mcleod Ganj. You leave Magic View Cafe and the trail narrows. Our next water station is Best View Cafe and on a clear day you can see the Pong reservoir. You have covered three fourth of the distance to Triund.
At 2450 M, the climb steepens with twists and turns and the last 200 M before Triund gets more steeper. You will be greeted by our team members on the Triund Ridge. Rest if you must, hydrate and eat something. Enjoy the views of Upper and Lower Dharamsala. Traverse the ridge, which means you will running towards east and by now hopefully the sun should be behind your back. You will be guided on the exit from the Triund Ridge and there will be a aid station at the exit.
You will run past the new rest house, and start descending. The first landmark on your way down is the shepherd huts at Kathani where you will see an aid station. After crossing Kathani, you will reach a spur, keep going down and keep to your left where you will arrive at a clearing from where you will see the huts of Mana village. From now, you will run northwards, cross the Mana village huts which will be on your left and go past a small makeshift temple, which will be on your right, follow the trail for a few hundred metres, and turn east before you descend.
A flight of steep stone stairs and you would be running southwards towards Bangotu. You will pass our water station before you descend the flight of stairs. You can see the trail winding southbound before you climb down the stairs. Keep heading south and the trail will take you to Bangotu village. You will be guided by our aid station team in the village so that you are on the right path. You run through the village and past the school and keep continuing for another two kilometres before you run down to your finish, short of Indrunag temple.

Through Deodar Forests
Galu Temple
Magic View Cafe B View Cafe
Triund Entry
Triund Exit
New Rest House
Shepherd Huts- Khatani
Mana
Bangotu
Finish- Temple
Registration Fee

The Run registration fee is Rs.2000 for all participants.
Registration fee for participants from Himachal Pradesh is Rs.1000
Runners will receive a Run-kit, lunch/snack whenever they finish.

»»» Run Day

Start: 0700 hrs
We will be there with you till the last runner walks into Camp Chrysalid.
Tips and Safety precautions

You may be exhausted, but that’s alright but we want you safe at the finish. There are ten stations between the start and finish. Every station will be manned by an outdoor instructor and a marshal. The stations will have first aid and water. Some stations will have energy drinks and fruits. All stations will be connected to the command centre and the Run Director. Please approach the nearest station incase of a problem.

The trail will be marked and will have signages all along the route. Mules will be stationed on Triund ridge to ferry runners to the base incase of an emergency. There will be a doctor and an ambulance at the finish. Trained Wilderness First Aid responders will also be present on Triund.

By the end of the race, you would have done 2200 M of ascent and descent, so plan your Run carefully. From the start, you will climb 900 M to the Triund Ridge and descend 1300 M to the finish. The Run profile is simple. It’s a climb all the way up to Triund and thereafter a descent to the finish. There are places on the trail you may end up walking. That’s normal and perfectly alright.

The trail is quite wide on the way upto Triund, cobbled at places, stone steps at places on your way down, pretty steep at a few places, narrow and non-existent on short stretches.

While we man the whole trail, it’s your duty to take care of yourself. You will have a map and of course signages at appropriate places so that you don’t get lost.

Ideally, we would have shadowed you through the trail, but then what’s the fun of running in the mountain. Ensure you are running with the right gear and running shoes. Though there are water stations along the route, you may want to carry your hydration pack, chocolates and energy bars.

Post Race

Irrespective of where you stay, all of you are welcome to Camp Chrysalid, have a shower, change and have a meal. In case if you are staying at Mcleod, pack a pair of fresh clothes and other necessary items in a day pack and bring it to the start. We will have it delivered to the Camp incase if you want to freshen up at the Camp. You are most welcome to stay at the camp till the post Run dinner party. However those of you who want to get back to your hotels in Mcleod Ganj and get back to the camp for the dinner, we will organise a vehicle for you.

1. How do I get there to Dharamshala?
You can travel by bus, train or plane. The nearest train station is Pathankot from where you can hire a car. It takes 3 hours to Dharamsala. A Volvo bus from Delhi takes about 12 hours and a flight, an hour.

2. Where do I stay?
There’s camping available at Camp Chrysalid, close to where the Run ends. We will let you know the best five or ten options in Mcleod incase if you want to stay in Mcleod. Also there is dormitory accommodation available at the Regional Mountaineering Institute - this is where the run starts from.

3. How far is the start from Camp Chrysalid?
Fourteen kilometres

4. Where does the Run start?
At the Regional Mountaineering Centre, just above Mcleod.

5. How do I get there?
If you are staying at the Camp, a vehicle will drop you at the start point. And if you are staying in Mcleod, it should a ten minute walk to the start.

6. What’s the likely weather forecast during and on Run day?
Clear and cold in the morning. Warmer as you start running.

7. What’s the total distance of the route?
16 km

8. Is this a high altitude race?
No

9. How much do I climb?
900 M

10. How much do I descend?
1300 M

11. What do I carry during the race?
Desirably a hydration pack, energy bars, a banana, cap, sunglasses, windcheater

12. Are there water stations along the trail?
Yes, there are ten stations along the trail between the start to finish

13. Will there be first aid?
Yes.

14. When and where should I collect my Run bib?
A day prior to the run we will have a run brief on camp. All participants need to collect their running kit and bibs post this session. For those who are not able to make it that day can collect the same before race start.

15. Can I collect my friend’s bib as well?
Yes

16. What time will the Run start?
The Run starts at 0900 hrs

17. What’s the reporting time?
You will have to be at the Regional Mountaineering Centre at 0830, Run director’s briefing at 0845.

18.Can I leave my daypack at the start to be ferried to the camp?
Yes, you can leave your daypack with a fresh pair of clothes at the start so that we can carry it to the camp. After the finish, you can shower and change at the camp.

19. How do I reach my hotel after dinner if I am staying in Mcleod?
We will organise a vehicle for all those who are staying in Mcleod

20. What is the registration fee?
Rs.2000

21. What’s included in the registration?
Run kit & snack (after race)

22. How do I pay?
You can pay by cash, online transfer, cheque or a DD in favour of Chrysalid Outdoor Learning Centres India Pvt. Ltd.

23. Are there prizes?
Yes, there are prizes for the first three finishers in men’s and women’s category

24. What about medals and certificates?
All finishers will get a medal and certificate

25. What if I want to cancel my registration?
Yes, you can. And please inform us in advance if you can. There will no refund on the Run registration fee.

5. Contact Us :
You can can contact Vikas at vikas.bhasin@chrysalid.in for registrations, volunteering and sponsorships.



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