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Celebrity runner Mira Rai race from Maoist cantonment to International Ultra-Marathons

KATHMANDU: Mira Rai, celebrity ultra-marathon runner, is now on rest to recover her injuries. She had sustained injuries in the knees in a competition held in France a few months back.
She had participated in the most challenging trail races and won awards by breaking several records.
“I am now preparing for the next race. Once we stop working hard, we can’t get success in life,” she said.
Rai was born in Ghorleban, a remote village of Bhojpur district, December 31, 1988, had to struggle hard for her livelihood in her early days.
Her family couldn’t afford to pay for her education. She left her school at the age of 12 to help her family to maintain their livelihood. She had to climb up and down the mountainous terrain to collect water and grass and to go to the market.mira rai
She also joined the then underground Maoist that was waging war against the state when she was only 14.
But she was disqualified for the integration of the Maoist combatants in the Nepali Army and she moved to Kathmandu in the hope of earning more.
“I felt disappointed when I was told that I was one of the disqualified combatants,” she recalled her hard day.

(In this undated photo, Rai poses in her Maoist army uniform. Photo Courtesy: Mira Rai)

Thinking that opportunities were waiting in Kathmandu, I decided to go to Kathmandu, she said.
When Mira Rai won 50 km race without making any preparation, proper food and uniforms, she caught the attention of the media. Later, she became popular as a successful trail runner.
Then she went through intensive training for trial running, with her mentor Richard Bull of Trail Running Nepal and began to travel overseas to participate in international ultra-trail running competitions. With the growing international exposure, she became a well-known name, winning one race after another and breaking several records.
In early 2016 she suffered a knee injury during competition in the United Kingdom and had to take some time off from international competition to recover. During that time, she turned her attention to promote trail running across Nepal, and helped train other promising young female athletes from rural Nepal. She organised many trail races in Kathmandu, and her native Bojpur, to promote the sport among Nepali youth.
She has become an inspiration to many girls across the country. Rai is not only a professional trail runner but also part of the Solomon Running team.
She said that players labour hard not only to win the race but also to brighten the name and fame of the country but they get less opportunity to earn more. “We equally need to work for earnings and because of that sometimes can’t focus on the race,” she added.

(FILE: Nepali ultra-runner Mira Rai celebrates after winning the Mont Blanc Skyrunner World Series in Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley, France in June 2015. Photo: RSS)

Economic stability was the most challenging part of the players in her opinion.
Rai has a foundation where she trains students. She has bitter experiences as well. She says the journey was not easy for her. “We shouldn’t lose our hope; dream comes true if we continuously put effort for that.”
Rai has a plan to establish business form and manage training for novices.

(Mira Rai competes at the 2014 Manaslu Trail Race, which passes through Nepal’s Himalayan landscapes. Photo Curtsy: Richard Bull)

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