Running on river beds


We reached the little village of Mawlyngnba, a good three-hour drive from Shillong, to find trails to run on. We had no real expectation other than maybe finding a trail that traverses from one hill to another. We fell right into the stereotype of deciding what Meghalaya should be. There’s only one place you can stay in at Mawlyngnba, it’s run by the cooperative society of Meghalaya and needs a call from Shillong before you end up at its doorstep.

We put on our shoes and headed straight to the grasslands that we saw in the distance. There were a couple of trails that went up hills, but our local guide insisted that we see the age-old animal fossils along the plains first.


As we walked towards the fossils, we had to cross a river bed that just plunged from the grassland. It took us a moment or two to realize that this 10-foot drop was actually our opening to a dried up river. While the local guides didn’t see much in the river bed, we were delighted to see the inconsistency in the surface of the river bed. It was a trail runner’s dream. There were also a few puddles that were big enough to swallow a whole grown man and were deep enough to make sure that he stays down there. It was a trail runner’s worst nightmare.


We tracked back to a point where the river gorge turned into a small stream and disappeared into the jungles. We set up our gps devices and set off, hoping for at least a 10 km run. Half way through the river, we saw our local guides sitting on the side wondering what the hell we were doing running on a river bed.

At the 4km mark, we were came to an abrupt stop, as the river plunged into a waterfall and there we stood, at the mouth of a 100-foot long waterfall! A little stunned by the sudden drop, which marked the end of our run, we tracked back disappointed that the trail wasn’t as long as we anticipated it to be and also a little glad that we didn’t run straight down a cascading waterfall.


“Do you want to go to the other river beds?’’ asked our local guide as we got back to their resting spot. To our delight, we then learnt that there are close to 5 river beds that all end at the mouth of a waterfall and all these river beds are connected by a little trail that runs across the grassland.

We weren’t sure about how much we ran at the end of it, but we were pretty sure that we were the first ones to run across these magnificent river beds.


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