I have been meaning to write about the impact of the Nepal Marathon, which took place in November last year, for a while now but just haven’t had the time. Now as you all know I’m not a runner and I didn’t run it – and I didn’t walk the route in the end but I did manage to get there on the Friday night and helped to capture the experience of the day by helping out with taking photos. I can’t really talk about the impact that it had in the runners, they do this well themselves in their own blog posts. Also, the impact of the funds raised on the local NGOs will, no doubt, on social media and on the Impact Marathon Series site.
What I do feel able to comment on is the impact of the event on the Nepali participants that I spoke to and on the potential future impact.
Firstly Global Action Nepal was one of the 8 NGOs in Nepal that was connected to IMS – and is one that I know well. Inspired by the idea of running to have an impact, Katherine in the UK who works on GAN’s school links (EASEL) initiated a fun run ‘Run for My School’ where schools in the UK and Nepal ran together at the same time to raise funds for their own communities.
I was lucky enough to to go and see the pure joy and excitement that this created in two schools I managed to visit. It was the first time that these schools had asked parents to sponsor their children doing a fun run, and in each school this had raised over 4,000 rupees (this is about £35 but compared to the average salary of a teacher of £150 it is quite an amount). Money aside, however, the biggest impact was the fun that the kids had all running together for their own school and the sense of togetherness it created. Kids in Nepal and the UK were running at the same time. Katharine, the organiser, summed up the impact by saying that it is definitely something worth repeating and that for her “it felt so powerful, everyone running together – really felt like it brought us closer together. X”
Schools that took part in Nepal are Chuni Devi (linked to Zelda School), Jana Uddhar (linked to Sithney), Chandi Devi (linked to St Peters School, Cowfold), Bal Kumari (linked to Seamab School, Scotland) and Tri Ratna (linked to Bacchus Marsh Grammar, Australia). I managed to visit both bal Kumari and Chuni Devi both of which I hope to go back to in the near future.
Great turn out at Chuni Devi school for their first fun run
On Impact Marathon Day itself it was amazing to see so many local participants turn up to take part in all three runs. The numbers speak for themselves with 355 out of the total 433 runner being Nepali. As bus loads of participants turned up I was struck by how many groups of young girls and women there were and by how far many of the people had travelled. I took the opportunity to take photos of as many people as I could and ask people why they had come to take part. One family’s story that stood out was that of a father and daughter team who were running, he ran in the 21 k and she in the 10k. As we waited for the races to start I spoke to them both and also the younger daughter who had not yet started running but told me with a big smile on her face that she soon would be. The father had run many races in the past and was proud that his daughter also ran. Little did I know when I spoke to them but his daughter was the female winner of the 10k race making him even prouder. Videos of people sharing their views will be posted here when edited.
Two generations of runners
Beni and her team from STEPS foundation had also entered the race at the last minute as she had previously organised a run herself to promote ‘End Violence Aainst Women’. Next year she hopes that more women she works with can take part as she sees running as a force for empowerment and change by showing women that they can do anything if they put their mind and feet into to it !
Inspired by Mira and inspiring others !
When asking many of the participants, especially the young girls who their inspiration was it was no great suprise to hear the name ‘Mira didi’ as the answer. What made the day even more special for all, local and non local, was that Mira Rai came to Kakani to support the event. Whilst she didn’t run due to resting from an injury, she not only spoke to most of the runners but also led a warm up session and handed out prizes at the end. She didn’t just pay a flying visit to the event, she gave advice, cheered and supported the whole day. Her enthusiasm for running was clear to see!
Warming up with Mira Rai
Mira is on the list of women that I want to interview as being an Inspirational Woman in Nepal. I know all who ran on that day and many many more will wish to congratulate her on recently winning the National Geographic ‘Adventurer of the Year’ award. Couldn’t have gone to a better amabassdor for sport or women !
Appreciated by all the amazing Mira Rai the IMS inaugural race, Nepal Marathon.
More photos can be found here
Here’s to next year !