Mira Rai is quickly making a big impact on the global trail running scene. Throughout her successes in major trail races, Mira has continued to keep a close connection to her home country of Nepal, where she is an inspiration to many. These attributes have brought her the remarkable award of National Geographic’s People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year 2017.
Mira Rai now joins the group of Suunto adventurers, like Kilian Jornet, Ueli Steck and Greg Hill, who have been nominated as the Adventurers of the year in the past.
We got in touch with Mira to hear the latest news.
Hey Mira, congratulations! You are now the 2017 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year. How does it feel?
Wow! Amazing! I am very happy! I am very grateful for the support of everyone who supported.
What does this award mean to you?
It is very, very valuable for me. I had never thought I would win with top adventurers of the world in the competition. I am really thankful to everyone who has supported me and voted for me. I am very grateful to Trail Running Nepal, the director and everyone who worked behind the scenes to help me win this. This is not my win; this is an award for Nepal.
How are you going to celebrate this?
How will I celebrate? (laughs) I have not thought about celebrating! I want to thank everyone who has supported me. I think I will invite brothers and sisters for run/hike to one of the trails in Kathmandu at the weekend.
You organized a running race in your home-town last year. Why did you do it, how was it and are you organizing it again?
I wanted to introduce a trail race in my village, and let my village people experience what I do. I think organizing races and letting village kids have exposure to competitive running can inspire them to take athletics seriously if they are interested. I want to give the opportunity as I had had before. I also wanted to gain experience of organizing races.
My first race had 124 participants. Everyone from children to elders were excited to participate. Since it was raining that day, so many people who were interested couldn’t join. I am thankful to get support from various agencies. I was able to donate 90 pairs of goldstar shoes to the kids and they loved it. It was a successful race.
Yes, I want to organize it again. It is a very hard work. I will need more support.
Why do you think sport is important for women in Nepal?
Women living in the hills of Nepal are very strong. Many of them can carry heavy loads on technical trails without breaking a sweat. I think women should be encouraged to partake in sports in Nepal because like me, there can be many women who can make the country proud if given an opportunity.
What are your plans for this year? Some interesting projects or races coming up?
I want to focus on organizing trail races in Nepal this year with my Trail Running Nepal team. Also, I will be participating in races in China, France and Spain.
How have you recovered from the ACL injury you had last year?
My knee has not completely recovered. It might take another 3 or so months to fully recover. But I am working hard now doing physiotherapy, yoga, cross training to keep fit.
Images by Anuj Adhikary