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race info

We are privileged to be able to organise the Thunder Dragon Marathon, one of the world’s most exclusive marathons, in conjunction with Bhutanese Tour Operator, Blue Poppy Tours & Treks.

The Thunder Dragon Marathon highlights all of the aspects of Bhutan that make it so special. Running through the beautiful Paro Valley, the route takes in fantastic mountain scenery and features many iconic landmarks, such as the Tigers Taktsang Monastery (also known as Tigers Nest), Paro Dzong and many religious Chorten or shrines. It is a true mountain and cultural experience.


The 2019 Thunder Dragon Marathon and Half Marathon take place on Sunday 26th May.


The Thunder Dragon Marathon features a Full Marathon - 42.195km / 26.2m and a Half Marathon - 21.1km / 13.1m

Route Description

The race route starts at Udumwara, underneath the cliff that the Tiger’s Nest is built on. The route is approx. half road surface and half farm trails, on the full marathon there is a 4km section of single track.

The first 8km are on road surfaces and slightly downhill alongside the Paro Chu (river). At 8km the half marathon splits off to the right and makes its way up and behind Paro Dzong (Fort). The full marathon carries straight on with a long and gradual climb alongside the Wang Chu (river) on farm tracks above rice fields.

At 18km the marathon route crosses the river and returns towards Paro on the other side on a gentle downhill gradient to 25km. Here, the route has the toughest climb, for about 4km on road, rising above the Paro National Museum, then on single track for 1km to the highest point of the race at 2.560m.

Dropping back down to the Paro Chu the marathon and half marathon re-join beneath Paro Dzong to cross the famous wooden bridge. The last 10km for both distances are on a gradual but long uphill climb on a mix of road and wide farm track, rising above Paro Chu, with views of the river and rice fields, before dropping into the finish back at Udumwara.

The total height gain on the marathon is 995m and for the half 450m. The altitude at the start is 2.400m and the lowest point, in Paro Town, is 2,200.


The start and finish of both the full marathon and half marathon are at the Udumwara Resort. Start time 08.30. Before the start the race will be blessed by the Lama in a traditional ceremony. All runners will receive an event t-shirt, special Dragon design caste medal and snack, drinks and lunch after the race.

Supplies on the Route

There will be water stations at approximately every 4km along the routes. Water will be served in bottles. Some stations will also server energy drinks and bananas.


Final details about the timing will be announced in your participant guide. The Thunder Dragon Marathon and Half Marathon will be manually timed.

The cut off time for the Marathon is 8 hours but has some flexibility depending upon the weather conditions. There is no cut off time for the Half Marathon. All Runners who do not achieve the cut off will be picked up and driven to the finish line.

Final results will be published on this website.


                    Half Marathon

                    Half Marathon

                    Half Marathon

                    Half Marathon

Route Logistics

Kilometre signs are places every 5km along the route. Directional signs are placed frequently and tape is used to clearly direct Runners along any unmarked paths.

An extensive team of local Bhutanese Marshalls will be at key points along the course to give directions and ensure your safety.

Please note that some sections of the Marathon and Half Marathon Routes are run on roads which are not closed to traffic. Although traffic is not heavy, take care and look out for vehicles. 

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The 2019 Thunder Dragon Marathon is supporting 'Opening Your Heart to Bhutan'.  

The charity is a UK-based charity which brings children with special needs joy and the opportunity to build meaningful lives. Through simple, practical acts of compassion, the charity provides access to safe medical care, disability aids and basic amenities in the isolated rural areas of East Bhutan. To find out more click here

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