Super happy here in Nepal to see another great performance by Nepali Trail Runners Mira Rai and Santosh Tamang.
Mira is pretty special among Nepali runners in that she is the one driving her training. She’s not part of an army or police team or a running club, but gets out on the trails on her own, does her drills and generally works hard to get rewards. She seeks out help, smiles a big smile with a “thank you” when she gets feedback to correct and improve her skills, and generally is focused on being better at what she does.
Great to see hard work paying off today. 1st female, 5th overall.
There are many hurdles to jump to travel out of Nepal. Thanks to a whole number of people who put effort in to make this trip work at short notice.
Thanks to Tite Togni sister & Luke for background training support, Matt Moroz (mad dai), Dragon Air (Kathmandu Hong Kong), Michael Maddess and Action Asia Events for generously sponsoring the race place and half the flight ticket, Marie for magicking up a pair of great shoes with Natalia Watkins, Valerie Lagarde for awesome skirt and showing Mira around Lantau, Deer Horn restaurant for massive dal bhat & tikka celebration, Lloyd Belcher for great images and generally the entirety of Hong Kong for making this an amazing experience for Mira Anurag. Santosh Tamang did a great job running with Mira and HK Nepalese Trail Runners Association as always giving great support.
Special thanks to:
How the race went
Matt Moroz provided Mira’s base in HK this time and competed in the race too. He’s run on Britain’s 24 hour team and runs in HK extensively, so him and Val Lagarde were well placed to give advice about the course and how to run it to Mira.
I myself went off quick but controlled. It was very flat to begin with. We’d all expressed to Mira to take it easy and save plenty for the final 15km of hills.
Mira joined me at 7km, I was slightly surprised but not overly concerned as I’d taken it easy and she was comfortable. She was already first woman which did scare me slightly.
After 10km she dropped off a bit and my heart sank. I thought the flat had cooked her and I just hoped she’d maintain enough to stay in the top-5 and prize money.
I didn’t see her again until 38km in, when she flew past me on a ridiculously technical descent. It was a joy to watch. She asked ‘5km left brother?’ I hated telling her, ‘No, more like 12’. She didn’t bat an eyelid, just carried on flying!
What I found out later is what happened along a very nice runnable section called Sir Cecil’s Ride. Mira was joined my friend Marie, they were running together. Mira was not phased at all. Then from nowhere, local running legend JoeJoe Fan flew past these two leading girls, probably expecting to leave them for dead. JoeJoe has been an elite runner for years, and she’s incredible on the flat and trail, but especially flat with her amazing pace. What happened next gives me goosebumps…
Mira had obviously just been cruising. She’d taken the advice to pace it and although she was right up there, and on her less comfortable flat terrain, she obviously had loads in the tank. She was where she was because there was no need to be any further up there. Once JoeJoe went past, Marie told me that Mira just took off! She flew after her with amazing strength and speed and the next we know she’d taken JoeJoe, and then killed her off as soon as the hills came! Please note again, JoeJoe is unanimously feared by women runners in HK, she is absolute quality and has had amazing coaching for years from the institute of sports excellence!
When Mira passed me it was beautiful. The best part was she joined me and Santosh Tamang simultaneously. While it took every ounce of concentration to not wipe out on that crazy descent, with total bushwhacking challenge to boot, she held a very excited conversation with Santosh as if it was a 8km/h warm up run on a treadmill!
Thanks to Lloyd Belcher Visuals for the photoshoot and Matt Moroz for the finish images.
Reported in the South China Morning Post: China’s Yan Longfai and Nepal’s Mira Rai win Hong Kong Island trail race.