The Great Himalayan Running Festival was truly a journey of a lifetime – running 14 km every day for 5 days, through some of the highest mountain passes in the world along the Manali – Leh highway.
My name is Guillaume Arthus, I’m 26 years old and I live and work in Paris. For me, running has become a form of discovery and exploration. I have been training very hard for the 480 km ultra, as this is the highlight of this season for me. I primarily run very long distances, on trails and mountain ranges, and I’ve been training throughout on reduced oxygen capacity, as I hope this will help me better at the altitude on the Manali-Leh highway.
I was born into a farming family in the Dhule district of Maharashtra and through my childhood and youth, I wasn’t involved with any major sport, except for the only consistent outdoor activity in life which was walking barefoot for long distances. My tryst with running started more than ten years ago in 2006 when I was in Mumbai for work and noticed an advertisement for a half marathon, that I then completed in under 3 hours. I did the same race twice the following years and managed good time in it as well, till I graduated to the full marathon in 2009 apart from participating in various other races in the country.
I simply loved every moment on that trail. Some 9.5 km from the start, by some stroke of luck I found myself all alone on a small hillock after having carefully crossed a slippery stretch of the trail. Here, it was like the clouds had come down to embrace me. It felt like I had reached heaven. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the place that I cried copiously- tears of joy and thanked my good fortune for being healthy and hearty to be there at that moment of time. It was pure bliss!