In May 2015 Pavel Toropov did a 400km expedition run in the Tibetan borderlands, in China, where he lived – from the town of Shangrila to Dulong Valley on the border with Myanmar. He crossed the valleys of the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Salween Rivers. The run took 9 days and the elevation gain and loss stood at over 24,000 metres. Most of the run was at over 3000m altitude and the high elevation was 4350m. Pavel ran alone, but had a support team with a driver and a camera man. The route had been designed by Pavel who mapped it out and then hiked it before running it. 

These are images from the first two days – Pavel left Shangrila Plain with its grazing yaks and Tibetan villages, and ran up into valleys covered with lush ancient forests, home to monkeys and bears. From there he reached an arid, almost Mediterranean valley and the town of Benzilan. Wine is grown here using grapes brought by French missionaries in the 19th century. Highest altitude was 4224m, lowest – just over 2015m. The total distance for the first two days was 103km. (Images: Shen Yunyao).

A brief photo journey.

Overall Final Route
Climbing up from Shangrila Plain into the forested mountains
Our support vehicle – I am taping up my toes Weather changes very quickly at altitude I am wearing a puffer jacket now
Having a snack by a Buddhist pagoda
The view of the wetlands on Shangrila Pain – the black dots are grazing yaks
The valley next to Shangrila after the lush forests and the landscape becomes dry almost Mediterranean – in fact, vineyards are grown in the valley that I am looking at.