— Shortcut: Mira Rai is a 23 year old girl from a small village in Bhojpur who expressed an interest in running after demonstrating ample talent and dedication. Many generous people have sponsored her and now she is going to Italy/France to watch the UTMB unfold and run a few serious races herself —
You’ve made all the plans, booked the plane ticket, bought the insurance, bought a fresh tube of toothpaste to last you five weeks etc etc. And still you don’t have your passport in your hand with the visa you need to travel on the day of the flight. And this is your first ever journey outside of your country on a plane.
This is what we put Mira Rai through over the last month – will I go or not? – and it came down to the last few hours.
And happily it all worked out.
Visa’ed passport in hand we cycled to Sherpa Adventure Gear, the outdoor clothing brand synonymous with Nepal. Big thanks to the generous team there – Tsedo, Ang Phurba & Wolfgang in Germany – who offered a fabulous lightweight waterproof for the wet euro-weather and some t-shirt layers. “Tested by Sherpas,” goes their strapline – well now Rai too.
While focusing on running and improving her basic English (though she knows plenty of words like abdominals) she had some time to fill and cross training to do.
“Have you done climbing before Mira?”
“No sir. I will try if I get the chance.”
Six weeks later Mira came second in a national level wall climbing competition in Nepal. The standard is not so high in the female category, but that is not to diminish her natural ability and determination which took her from climbing trees to leading 6c in 6 weeks. This is thanks to the careful, kind, caring instruction and encouragement given by the guys and girls at the Astrek climbing wall in Kathmandu who are the foundations of a really great, safe community for girls interested in sports.
Here is something of the competition below.
So while we intended to write to each sponsor by post, time did not permit before departure, so for now a thank you from Mira. She is repeatedly, “so so very thank you!” for the opportunity to follow her dream. We have no expectations about the races she will compete in. This is a learning journey, understanding how to race, where her strengths lie, and soaking up information from the people she’s going to meet. This knowledge she can bring back to Nepal to use for her own training and share with others.
We’ll keep you informed over the coming weeks how she gets on over there in the exotic, far-off foreign lands of Italy and France.
We’re still a little short of gas on the sponsorship fund for Mira and you can still throw in 10 or 20 (or more ) Euros here for the: Nepali girl running fund. 100% of which goes to making opportunities.