What happened at the Madan Bhandari school is a great story. After all of the investment we have done in solar power, computers and teacher training, it seems like everyone wants to send their children to this school. In addition to an increase in enrollment is an increase in enthusiasm. In order to accommodate, leadership at the school has asked the Nepal Project for funds for an additional building.
As always, I prayed about it. Within a day or two, I saw a marketing message about the Annapurna100, and Ultra Marathon that takes places in the hills of Nepal after the monsoon during the harvest and festival season. Temps are cool but there isn’t a cloud in the sky, and the Himalaya are on display like no other month of the year.
Thinking would cause me to delay. I quickly signed up and committed to running this Himalayan Ultra Marathon to raise money to fund the school project. The race is 31 miles, and starts with 8 miles “on the flats” on dirt roads outside of Pokhara, Nepal’s second biggest city. After those 8 miles, we start climbing. We finish at a village of 3000 people on the top of a ridge, overlooking 4 of the 10 biggest mountains in the world.
My efforts to raise money for our causes have nearly always been inadequate. I need others to run the race with me.
So far, I have two takers.
Megan Riley owns Big Fat World Tours, a travel agency specializing in tours that include an endurance event. She has organized trips to participate in the Reykjavik and Dubrovnik Marathons for her clients, but she has never done an Ultra Marathon. She has signed up and will be coordinating travel, lodging and tour events for anyone else who joins us. Since I am now a certified coach in Triathlon, I agreed to train her to get ready for the event. She already has a regime on stretching and strength that she has started, as well as a schedule of test events between now and next October to be ready. She is donating 10% of her company’s profit to The Nepal Project.
I am excited that my sister is also coming! Lucinda is a physician in the Los Angeles area and is nearing retirement. She has been to Nepal many times and was my only family member to come visit me while I was a Peace Corps Volunteer there in 1980s. She was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to run the whole way. To accommodate her fear, I asked one of my former students to ride his motorcycle on the course and pick up American stragglers who need some help. I reminded her that walking is an option that nearly everyone who does this race will employ at some time, during the day.
Considering that only 11 women finished the race last year, I am impressed that the first two to join us on the race are American women. That spirit of “I can do this, too” has made the US a great country.
Come run the race with us and support schools on the other side of the world! Megan has space for up to 12 people in her tour. We are not looking for experienced Ultra Marathoners (that is very helpful, though) as there is plenty of time to train before this event. We are looking for people who have put “climb in the Himalaya” on their bucket list but have no plan as to how to accomplish this while their body still can do it.
Each time someone joins up, I will post of their commitment on our blog and Facebook page.
Lastly, anyone who joins us for the race can count on a trip to the Dang Valley two days after the race, to see the schools and the people we have invested in, first hand.
Here are some photos from previous races.
We’ve put together a preview video with more details about the Ultra Marathon.