Female trail runner named Adventurer of the Year

Last updated: 12-Mar-18

By Alice Morrison

Nepalese trail runner, Mira Rai, has been named as National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year. She was the people’s choice and won the popular vote for her achievements.

Mira has an extraordinary story. She grew up in rural Nepal and was the eldest of five children. She left school at 12 to help her family bring heavy bags of rice up and down the trails to market. At the age of 14 she joined a group of Maoist rebels and was trained by them in running and karate for two years.

Her strength and fitness were phenomenal and she continued to run but didn’t know what to do with these skills as there was no tradition of competitive running for Nepalese women.

Two years ago she was encouraged by two male trail runners to enter the Kathmandu West Valley Rim 50km race and she came first overall – she was the only woman in the race.

She now races regularly and is also working to increase participation in Nepal. She told National Geographic:

We have realised that Nepal has tremendous potential to develop competitive athletes, for which we’re organizing a series of trail races in Kathmandu. These are short races aimed for both beginners and experienced runners.”

For more, check out National Geographic’s Video: 

"At the age of 14 she joined a group of Maoist rebels and was trained by them in running and karate for two years"

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