On Sunday, September 9, Rephica Becky Pde, a 36-year-old working mother from Shillong, became the first Indian woman to stand tall at number two position in the Khardung La Challenge (72 km), the highest ultra-marathon in the world.
While the marathon is counted among the toughest and most challenging endurance races, for Pde it was a moment of pride as she completed the marathon in 12 hours 28 minutes despite snowfall and treacherous weather.
“Oxygen level is below 50 percent and it becomes very hard for a person to walk there, let alone run,” Pde described her experience to Highland Post. “The roads were wet and bad, it was snowing, I was wet and freezing. My hands went numb,” she said.
Becky said that though the weather sapped away her confidence during the race, her passion for running did not die. “At one point I thought my hands will fall off, but I managed to regain confidence after getting a jacket from the support crew,” she said.
“I knew it was the toughest run as 33 km was uphill to Khardung point. So I trained every day for months before the event as running has always been my passion,” Pde said.
Being the second position holder in the race that pushes the limits of even the toughest runners, Becky also becomes the only woman to run back to back races.
Before the challenge, Pde ran the 21 km Kargil International and came first in women category on September 2 and on September 9, the Leh Ladakh full marathon with 42 km.
It may be mentioned that the Khardung La Challenge is amongst the toughest endurance races for the serious runner who wants to push his or her limits to the extreme. The harsh conditions make this extremely tough as runners have to run approximately 60 kms of the race at 17,680 feet.
Pde said that the run had made her resolve stronger and she would now participate in marathons all over the country. Pde is among a few women ultra-marathon runners in the country. An ultra-runner covers a distance of 50km and above.
“Marathon is a mental game. Train your mind before your legs,” said Pde.
The Logical Indian applauds Rephica for achieving this feat and salutes her passion.