Below you’ll find answers to the questions most frequently asked.

What day is the Shangri-La Marathon?

May 21st 2016

*Important note: Race date has changed to May 21st.

The 2016 Shangri-La Marathon & Ultra event takes place from May 17th to May 22nd with the race day on Saturday May 21st, 2016.

What is included with the race entry fee?

Event entry includes the following:

  • Entry to run race
  • Round-trip bus transportation from Shangri-La to Feilai Temple
  • Bus transportation to the start line
  • 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!

What dates should I arrange my travel?

The Shangri-La Marathon takes place in the remote mountain location and it requires runners to plan for a 5-day weekend trip for the race.


  • Arrive on , May 17th
  • Depart on Monday, May 23rd

Shangri-La average elevation is 3,280 meters (10,761 feet) above sea level. It is highly recommended that runners arrive a few days early into Shangri-La to allow you to fully acclimatize to the high altitude. Check the schedule for full details. If you have questions or need help planning your trip feel free to contact us.

What airport do I need to fly into?

For those flying in from other countries will need to fly into Dêqên Shangri-La Airport (DIG). There are no direct international flights available, most flights will transfer from Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG).

Alternatively you can book domestic flights directly through sites such as Ctrip, which is very inexpensive. View flights from KMG to DIG and DIG to KMG. Feel free to contact us if you need help planning your travels or are interested in travel and tour package options.

Are there hotel recommendations available?

Yes. We will be recommending local lodging for those who wish to arrive early and stay in Shangri-La. We are in the process of negotiating with the local hotels to get runners the best rate and experience for their trip.

Currently we can recommend staying at The Compass, this is very close to the Shangri-La pickup location in town.

Once we have additional recommendations available we will add them to the site.

Do I need a visa to travel to China?

Yes. Almost all non-Chinese nationals will need a visa to enter China. There are different visa categories and you will most likely need a tourist visa (L). Please contact your local Chinese embassy or consulate for more information. The procedure normally requires submitting a visa application form, paying a fee and providing the Chinese authorities with an authorized flight itinerary from your travel agent. This process takes about one to two weeks. Note that your passport must be valid for at least six months after entry. For more information please visit the Chinese Embassy website.

Is there a time limit or cutoff?

Yes there are the following cut off times.

Distance Cut-off Time
100K 25 Hours
55K 14 Hours
45K 11 Hours
24K 7 Hours

View last years results for participant completion times.

Are there age restrictions?

Yes. You 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 request special approval from the Race Director. Please contact the Race Director for more information.

How to get to the race headquarters and start line?

Round trip transportation from Shangri-La to the race headquarters is included with race entry. It is approximately a 5-hour drive into the mountains from Shangri-La. Spectators or Race Crew attending the race to support a runner will need to register as a Spectator Pass. Check the schedule for complete timeline details.

Do I need to adjust to the high elevation?

Yes. 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 thinner 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.

What type of weather is expected?

While we hope for good mild weather, it is a good idea to be prepared for cooler weather with cold mornings and evenings just incase. Nothing worse than arriving under prepared and suffering the consequences.  The Shangri-La region can have significant temperature difference between the daytime and evening. In fact it is not rare to experience “four seasons” in a single day in the mountain area. The average temperature in May, when the race takes place, is 17°C / 63°F but has been know to go as high as 24°C / 75°F and as low as 3°C / 37°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, sunscreen, and lip balm is highly recommended. It is important to reduce your dehydration risk and to have adequate sun protection. We recommend to check the weather forecast a week before the race so you can dress appropriately.

What should I prepare for the trip and race?

Essential travel checklist for your trip.

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!

Please view the Checklist page for additional details.

I am running in the race, can I have a race crew, family, or friends support me?

Yes! Spectators and Race Crew can come along, they do need register for a Spectator Pass to receive transportation, lodging, and meals during the event.

Are there aid stations on the course?

Yes. On the course there will be several checkpoint stations with water, gel packs, and salt tablets, with a few key stations providing fruit, food, and basic first aid if needed. At the finish line there will be refueling food.  Proper hydration is essential when running any distance, but especially long distances at high elevations. One of the greatest dangers for runners is completing the race in a dehydrated state. We encourage runners to plan on being hydrated throughout the event. Check the Race Information page for more guidelines on being prepared for the race.

Am I allowed to bring my own water bottle or hydration pack?

Yes. We recommend both a water bottle and/or hydration pack on our runners checklist. Each aid station will include fresh water to refill.

Will there be gear check?

Yes. There will be gear check location near the start/finish line, there will not be any gear bags brought onto the course.

Are wheelchairs or strollers allowed on the course?

No. This is an all trail course. Unauthorized bicycles, motorized vehicles, wheelchairs and strollers not permitted on the race course due to safety concerns.

Will the marathon be canceled in the event of rain?

No. The marathon will be held whether it’s sunny, raining, snowing or anything in between. 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 conditions. Local weather varies from mild with clear and sunny sky to cold and overcast. The average temperature in May is 17°C / 63°F but has been know to go as high as 24°C / 75°F and as low as 3°C / 37°F.  Low humidity with an average of only a few inches of rain.

Can I change my race distance?

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

I am unable to participate in the marathon. Can I cancel, transfer, or refund my entry?

No. 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. Submit a cancelation request from the Contact page.

If your question isn’t listed above, please contact us with your questions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Check this page in the future as we will add more questions and answers as we get closer to finalizing the details on the marathon event.