As you read this, some 29 runners are gathered in the small Asian country of Bhutan, to participate in the 2022 Snowman Race.
The Snowman Race is a five-day stage race with about 125 miles and 34,000 feet of climb following a portion of the revered Snowman Trek through the Bhutanese Himalaya. The Snowman Race’s route crests over a dozen high passes, with the tallest one a few feet shy of 18,000 feet. It takes place from Thursday through Monday, October 13 through 17, 2022. This is the event’s inaugural edition.
Statistics aside, the Snowman Race is much more than a running race. It’s also a race for climate action.
Bhutan is the world’s only carbon-negative country, but it’s still feeling the effects of the climate crisis, especially in its highest, most remote areas and among its most vulnerable citizens. So, the country wants to use the Snowman Race to draw attention to the climate emergency by showing climate change in action in the Bhutanese Himalaya.
It also wants to use the event to encourage change toward a more sustainable future that will support mountain ecosystems like those in Bhutan and around the world. The country is hoping that participants will become messengers whose words and stories will make small splashes in a sea of growing change toward better protecting the earth and its natural resources.
Participants were selected for their previous experience with rugged, high-altitude mountain travel, and their voices in and passion for effecting social and environmental change. The high-caliber roster includes Bhutan’s Sangay Wangchuk, who was the far-and-away winner of the test run on the course in 2019.
The USA’s Sarah Keyes should feature in the women’s race, with a previous second place at the 2021 Black Canyon 100k and 12th place at the 2021 Western States 100 on her resume. Luke Nelson, of the USA, is fresh off a sixth place at the 2022 Hardrock 100. The USA’s Roxy Vogel brings the high altitude experience of being a Seven Summits finisher to the women’s race. Expected top entrant Gabe Joyes, of the USA, had two second places in 100 milers in 2021, at the Scout Mountain 100 Mile and High Lonesome 100 Mile.
iRunFar is a media partner to the Snowman Race, with iRunFar’s own Meghan Hicks a participant and Bryon Powell a part of the race organization.
Be sure to visit the Snowman Race website to learn more about the event.
Follow the 2022 Snowman Race
Click over the Trackleaders page for the 2022 Snowman Race or watch via this embedded tracker. Please expect delays in tracking updates due to the extremely remote location and terrain.
2022 Snowman Race Women’s Entrants
These 12 women will participate in the inaugural Snowman Race, including four Bhutanese runners.
- Ashly Winchester (USA)
- Claire Perks (Canada)
- Emily Keddie (USA)
- Holly Zimmermann (USA, lives in Germany)
- Karma Yangden (Bhutan)
- Kinzang Lhamo (Bhutan)
- Meghan Hicks (USA)
- Ms. Lhamo (Bhutan)
- Nicki Rehn (Canada)
- Roxy Vogel (USA)
- Sarah Keyes (USA)
- Tashi Chozom (Bhutan)
2022 Snowman Race Men’s Entrants
These 17 men will participate in the 2022 Snowman Race, including five Bhutanese men.
- Choki Dorji (Bhutan)
- David Mendelsohn (New Zealand, lives in Thailand)
- Gabe Garcia (USA)
- Gabe Joyes (USA)
- Gawa Zangpo (Bhutan)
- Ian Sharman (U.K., lives in the USA)
- Kah Shin Leow (Singapore)
- Kinley Gyeltshen (Bhutan)
- Luke Nelson (USA)
- Mattias Kastner (Germany)
- Nate Bender (USA)
- Mr. Sangay (Bhutan)
- Sangay Wangchuk (Bhutan)
- Simon Mtuy (Tanzania)
- Takuya Wakaoka (Japan)
- Wataru Lino (Japan)
- Yoann Gilbart (France)
Thoughts from 2022 Snowman Race Participants
We asked a few of the 2022 Snowman Race participants to share their thoughts ahead of the event, about what inspired them to be a part of it.
“I came to Bhutan to participate in this race because I have a deep sense of respect and reverence for the mountains, particularly the Himalaya, which I have been fortunate enough to visit multiple times over the past decade. It is evident that these once pristine and remote environments need protection, and the impact of climate change is felt by all those who live, work, and recreate here. I hope my involvement in the Snowman Race helps shed light on the need for immediate action to address the current climate crisis.” — Roxy Vogel
“I’m running this Snowman Race because the people all are talking about climate change. One people or one country can’t change the planet, but we’ll run through this trail, the Snowman Trek, and we will see how the climate is changing here and we can share that with our friends and with the world… I’m very excited because I can see very good international runners, plus our national runners. I am very excited to run with international runners.” — Sangay Wangchuk
“In the weeks and days before coming to Bhutan and in the few days I’ve spent here, I feel a bit like it’s too good to be true, that I’m not worthy of this honor. My new friend Vivi [Tshering] told me today that I must have put out good karma in a past life to be here today. I am a true believer that what you put out into the world will come back to you, whether positive or negative. The precedent set by the Bhutanese is one of kindness, ingenuity, and respect. While being the only carbon-negative country in the world and one that is most affected by climate change could be a daunting and vexing problem, they are taking action through positive means. I only hope to be able to continue that trend! I am most looking forward to sharing miles with the other women here, including the female Bhutanese runners!” — Sarah Keyes
“I am running to represent the friends and families of the elite runners and those who would want to run but were not invited or do not have the ability to run such a challenging race. I also want to show my family that despite what seems like insurmountable obstacles, hard work and consistent small steps can get you toward your goals. This mindset parallels my thoughts toward climate change. Many people think their actions don’t matter in the big scheme of things. But if the collective 7.5 billion humans on earth all made a small action, the positive impacts would be exponential. So in the race and in life I will be taking small steps forward.” — Gabe Garcia
“The Snowman Trek is said to be one of the toughest treks in the world. I love hiking and trekking in remote places and the Snowman Trek was on my bucket list, just to complete the trek. But before that, I got selected for the Snowman Race. I am honored and privileged to be part of the Snowman Race. Winning is not my goal, just to be part of it, to be an ambassador for tackling climate change, and to be a part of His Majesty the King’s vision on climate change.” — Tashi Chozom
“I wanted to see and experience the physical beauty of the Himalaya, and to be challenged in its high altitudes. I also wanted to experience the beauty and culture of the people of Bhutan. This place has surpassed my expectations in every single way, particularly the opportunities to interact with other runners and the blessings we’ve received from so many monks. I could have never dreamed that this experience would be to enriching so far.” — Gabe Joyes
“When I was initially asked to participate in the Snowman Race, I knew it was an honor given to an elite few. I also knew that the purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the effects that climate change has had on Bhutan. But what I didn’t realize then, but have learned since being with the group in Bhutan, is that these athletes have all been chosen as humble messengers for a very real and eminent environmental threat to the Bhutanese and they are serious about doing something about it. They truly believe that bringing us here to run 200 kilometers through their beautiful country will bring positive change. And the amazing thing about that is that all of us athletes are starting to believe that too.” — Holly Zimmermann
“I’m pretty sure my life will now be divided into ‘before Bhutan’ and ‘after Bhutan.’ I knew this experience would be memorable, but I could never have imagined the magnitude of emotion I’ve felt. And we haven’t even started the run yet. I’ve been impacted by the hospitality and gentleness of the Bhutanese people, the mystic of the landscape, the camaraderie of our team, and the humble but passionate plea to save the future of this planet. The run seems both central and secondary at the same time.” — Nicki Rehn