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Along winding roads that traverse what seem like infinite hills populated by thick dense forest the landscape slowly changes to one of undulating fields of rice pockmarked by giant boulders. Deep in the interiors of the South West Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya lies the region of Mawkyrwat. Primarily a farming community growing mostly rice and potatoes on a difficult terrain, life for most is about feeding their usually large families barely left with other resources for anything else. The giant boulders some made of solid granite sparkle in the sun and some hold deep dark caves under them. From these hardworking and tenacious farmers has emerged a breed of high endurance long distance runners. This region produces the fastest and strongest runners of Meghalaya. The most successful is Binningstar Lyngkhoi, a marathoner who has been representing India for more than a decade. With his best performance clocking 2:17 he has served as an inspiration to many aspiring youth. With every given opportunity to run their fastest, the Mawkyrwat runners secure top podium positions when they represent Meghalaya at various State-meets or at national big-city marathons. The explanation for their natural talent can be attributed to a number of factors. Some of them might be the challenging terrain, higher altitude, staple diet of locally grown organic red rice, division of labor and chores among siblings, genetics or even people’s social attitude towards running. There is no doubt that the people of Mawkyrwat have embraced running as a part of life.
The Mawkyrwat Ultra is designed for long-distance runners to fully experience the landscape, the people, and the food and to build an awareness about this poor yet very talented region.