The High: Making the Toughest Race on Earthjoel harbour
In 2010, a group of extreme runners brought together by an adventure-obsessed race director mutually volunteer in a running experiment over the two highest passes in the world. Joined by a wily war journalist from The Christian Science Monitor. The five find themselves in a mix of unforeseen oversights that would leave not only the race in jeopardy, but also their very lives.
The story opens with race director Rajat Chauhan and the telling of a whimsical weekend run in high altitude that gave birth to the experiment. A doctor out of New Delhi, Rajat’s failed dreams to be a professional runner in youth have driven his obsession for this new outlet. Connecting through Facebook and emails to extreme-running groups around the world. Rajat finds twenty-seven interested candidates, but only three would end up at the starting line. The first, Molly Sheridan, an experienced ultra-marathon runner from the USA joined the team from the word go. Sharing her excitement for the experimental expedition with companion and anti-aging scientist Bill Andrews. The two are soul mates on an ultra-running mission and set off to India with racing excitement and ceremonious high-altitude plans for the future. The third and final member, Mark Cockbain joined from the UK and brought a strong ultra history of completing many the hardest foot races in the world. Upon arrival, the starting gun fires and the three set out on a journey full of treacherous challenges and life changing events.
Joining the race on day 2 is the lone journalist for the event Ben Arnoldy. While living in New Delhi, Ben had been covering the war in Afghanistan for The Christian Science Monitor. Looking to for a break from the sad tragedies of war, he excitedly went to the Ladakh region in hopes to cover a new story of humans accomplishing new feats. Showing up on day two of the race he discovers the unfolding of a running experiment gone wrong. Working to uncover the events of the previous day he learns of wedding ceremonies at 18,000 feet, runners down from dehydration, and hospital visits that ring of fatality. Spending his time on the course collecting the fragments of Rajat’s collapsing dream. He talks in detail of his experience and insights until he himself would come up lost and missing from the course before its end.
With the race and the dream, hanging in the balance of finish-line-obsession. One question remains to be answered, will there be a finisher or will this race finish them all? In the answer rests the reason that it’s called the toughest race on earth.