Rai runs in the Coledale Horseshoe Fell Race in Keswick, UK, in April 2012. Photo courtesy: NatGeo
KATHMANDU, Nov 4:Nepali runner Mira Rai has been nominated for National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year 2017.
Rai was picked for nomination among the 10 honorees based on their extraordinary achievements in exploration, adventure sports, conservation or humanitarianism in the past year.
Online voting for the 2017 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year is now open and will run through December 16, 2016.
The adventurer with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be announced the 2017 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year in January 2017.
Rai has certainly come a long way from chasing goats, collecting firewood, shouldering 40-plus-pound sacks of rice, slogging up and down the mountains to fetch water to being one of the topmost athletes. She dreamt of a better life, but few opportunities arise in the remote areas of Nepal, particularly for a girl.
“Generally there are no opportunities,” says Rai, who left school at age 12. “Access to education is limited for girls. Women don’t have much time to study.”
She traveled to Kathmandu at 14 and trained with a karate guru, ran a few track races, and wanted to work, but she had little luck. Just as her hope and money were about to run out, she found herself at the starting line of her first big trail race.
In an interview with Nat Geo, she further adds, “So many people believed in me and took chances and I want to give back so others can have a chance.”
Former Maoist combatant, Rai, who hails from hilly district Bhojpur, secured second place in the Skyrunning World Championships award in 2015.