The Shangri-La Marathon takes place in the exotic and fable Meili Snow Mountains near by Shangri-La, China. Known to the local residents and pilgrims as Kawagarbo Mountains. These mountains are part of the vast Himalayan Mountain range that spans across South Asia separating the plains of the India subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. Offering incredible breathtaking beauty that must be experienced in person.

This race gives runners the chance to experience some of China’s most majestic mountains and lands by running through them in an ultramarathon race. Creating a unique journey that can only be experienced through the runners perspective.

Register today for this one of a kind adventure.


RACE DAY - MAY 21 2016

The Shangri-La Marathon race takes place on May 21, 2016. Runners will need to plan a 5-day travel itinerary to arrive into Shangri-La on May 17 and depart on May 23.


The Shangri-La Marathon features 100K and 55K ultra distances and 45K and 24K marathon distances for runners to race.

100K Ultra
55K Ultra


  • Entry to run race
  • Round-trip bus transportation
  • 2-nights lodging
  • Event meals
  • Weatherproof course map
  • Official race shirt
  • Collectible finisher medal
  • Official finisher certificate
  • Special event collectors gift
  • Goodie bag
  • Runner’s handbook
  • Meili Snow Mountain memorabilia
  • Volunteer support
  • Course aid-stations
  • Finish line water & food
  • Event insurance
  • Special award for first place
  • An awesome race experience!


Runner check-in and course review meeting will be on May 17. At the race check-in runners will pickup their BIB, shirt, and goodie bag. On May 18 will be an event and course review meeting to prepare runners for the race.


Shangri-La is located in the Yunnan Province of China, which has been rated for having high-quality air conditions with some of the lowest rating of air pollutants in all of China. Remote locations such as Shangri-La have never suffered from air pollution. Kunming is often referred as “Spring City” because of its consistently moderate temperatures with plentiful vegetation growth and year-round flower blossoms. The pure air makes running in Yunnan even more refreshing and energizing.


The following videos give a sneak preview of what to expect while running the Shangri-La Marathon & Ultra race. Watch and enjoy!

Video available on Vimeo, YouTube, and YouKu.

Video available on Vimeo, YouTube, and YouKu.



The Shangri-La Marathon is an ultramarathon, with a challenging all trail course that can only be traversed on foot. A course that will have runners treading over a combination of dirt paths, rocks, boulders, tree roots, narrow bridges, and dangerous steep cliffs. Trails taking runners along rushing rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, through lush green rain forests that open up to small meadows surrounded with local wild flowers and peaks that provide breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains.

The real challenge runners will navigate multiple climbs and descents with elevations ranging up to 3,767m (12,359ft) on the lower mountain peaks to a low of 2,088m (6,853ft). All while breathing some of the cleanest air in the world. Literally a breathtaking race event that must be experienced by adventure runners and enthusiasts.



Check out event photos to give you a taste of what to expect, however there is nothing else like it when you experience the location in person. It will take your breath away.  Enjoy the photo galleries from the inaugural race, plus a preview of course and the location. Then register for the race to experience it in person!



To help you adjust to the high altitude of the SHANGRI-LA region you can participate in a 13K run in the beautiful Pudacuo National Park 2-days before the big race on May 19th.  Giving your body a chance to adjust while experiencing the spectacular beauty of the region.  Participants will have 4-hours to complete this run, total elevation gain will be approximately 620 meters over the 13 kilometer run.  This is an optional add-on when registering. We highly recommend it!

Altitude Adjustment Run



Shangri-La average elevation is 3,280m (10,761ft) above sea level. The course starts at 2,700m (8,858ft) with the highest peak at 3,767m (12,359ft). It is highly recommend to allow at least one or more full days prior to the race to acclimatize to the higher elevation before actually running the race. The following basics will help you adjust:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat healthy foods high in potassium
  • Take vitamins
  • Avoid alcohol

Once ready to race, we recommend starting off slow until you find a comfortable pace that you can maintain. Because of the higher elevation the air is thiner and your body will get tired faster and you’ll need to adjust. It is recommended to carry an oxygen can as you run incase you find yourself out of breath.


The top of the mountains is like cold winter, the middle is brisk fall weather, the lower mountains and foothills where runners will be running will offer spring like conditions with a cold early morning start with the weather warming up throughout the day. Local weather varies from mild with clear and sunny sky to cold and overcast. The average temperature in late April is 13°C / 55°F but has been know to go as high as 20°C / 68°F and as low as 1°C / 34°F.  Low humidity with an average of only a few inches of rain.

Due to the high elevation the UV index is extremely high, using a running hat and sunscreen is highly recommended. It is important to reduce your dehydration risk and to have adequate sun protection. As runners are camping in the mountains it is best to prepare for cooler weather with cold nights and mild days. We recommend to check the weather forecast a week before the race so you can dress appropriately.


One of the greatest dangers for runners is completing the race in a dehydrated state. Before, during and after the race ensure that you are staying hydrated by drinking water. Make sure that you have been to the toilet BEFORE going into the start line. If you can go to the toilet it means that your kidneys are working and you are in good shape.


Be sure to pack the following mandatory and recommended running gear.

Mandatory Runner Items

  • Running headlamp or flashlight with extra battery (100k/50k)
  • Cell phone
  • Minimum 500 calories of emergency food, such as gels/energy bars
  • Carry at least 1 liter water bottle or hydration pack
  • Course map, or electronic map downloaded to phone
  • Portable oxygen tank
  • Emergency mylar blanket (we will provide)
  • Elastic bandage
  • Rescue whistle

Recommended Items

  • Trail running shoes
  • Extra clothes/socks for night time/cold weather
  • Running hat, visor, sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Recovery energy powder
  • Altitude-resistant medicine
  • Personal medicine/salt capsules
  • A small amount of cash
  • Garmin/GPS Tracking (optional)
  • Waterproof bag for phone or camera
  • Walking stick
  • iPod (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Mind of a champion!



Because sections of the course have very rough underfoot conditions, we recommend you train and compete in a pair of ‘Trail Running’ shoes. These shoes are designed to reduce the impact from underfoot conditions whilst supporting the feet.


Runners should be physically fit and in shape to run a marathon event. We suggest using a training program to help condition your body to make your race experience unforgettable. We are working on a ultramarathon training program to help get runners conditioned and ready to run this destination race. Being prepared makes your experience much more memorable.



Race change requests are available, the cut off for all changes is 5/15/2016. Submit your change request from the contact page.


  • Entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. No exceptions.
  • Once we receive and accept your entry, you will not receive a refund if you cannot participate, you may not give or sell your race number to anyone else. You may request a deferment for a future race. If you attempt to sell your race number, you may be banned from future Shangri-La Marathon events.
  • Runners must be at least 16 years old by race day to participate in this race. As this is a challenging ultramarathon in higher elevation, young runners must be in great shape. Younger runners must have special approval from the Race Director to run the race, submit request from the contact page.
  • You must be in good health and physically prepared to take on the challenge of running an ultramarathon at high elevation.
  • You must show photo ID/Passport to receive your race BIB and timing chip.
  • Race numbers are required to participate.
  • Timing chips must be worn on shoes. Runners must run over the start line and finish line mats for timing chips to register.
  • As this is an all trail course no bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, baby joggers or dogs will be allowed on the course.


Find answers to the questions most frequently asked regarding the Shangri-La Marathon.


Entry fees are NON-REFUNDABLE and entries are NON-TRANSFERABLE. Sorry, no exceptions. Once we receive and accept your entry, you will not receive a refund if you cannot participate. You may not give or sell your number to anyone else. You MAY transfer your application to the following year or another Yunnan Marathon event. Submit a cancelation or transfer request from the contact page.


Please note that race information here represents what is planned for Shangri-La Marathon and Ultramarathon. Locations, course variations, adjustments, and changes may apply depending on conditions, availability, and improvements. We strive to improve the event to make the best experience for the runners.