Early Life of Mira Rai
Mira Rai (born December 31, 1988) is a Nepalese trail runner and sky runner. She has participated in numerous international competitions and has won numerous awards. She was the 2017 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year winner.
Mira Rai comes from a remote village in Bhojpur, in the east of the country. Growing up, through farming, her family struggled to meet everyday necessities. At age 12, she left school to help her parents in daily household chores, and because her family was unable to afford her education.
She walked up and down the mountainous terrain regularly to collect water and go to market. She left home in the middle of the night at the age of 14, without telling her parents to join the Maoist insurgency when they came to recruit through her village. As she was a minor, she was ineligible for integration into the Nepal Army when the civil war came to an end and was subsequently discharged. After returning home, she dreamed of doing something more with her life to support her family and traveled to Kathmandu to pursue karate and run.
Career of Mira Rai
She was a good runner, but when she took part in her first ultra-marathon, the 50 km Himalayan Outdoor Festival trail race, she didn’t know what was ultra-running. One morning when she was running in the hills surrounding Kathmandu, she met a group that was training on the same trails. They asked her to meet them for another run the following week after running together for some time. When she arrived for that run, she found it was the starting point of the 50 km race. Despite being unprepared, without proper food or water, or wearing technical running clothes, she won the race and caught the attention of race organizers with her positive attitude and dedication to the sport.
After more intensive training for trail running, she started traveling overseas with her mentor Richard Bull of Trail Running Nepal to participate in international ultra-trail running competitions, where she quickly It became a well-known name to win one race after another and to break several records. She suffered a knee injury during the competition in the United Kingdom in early 2016 and had to take some time off to recover from international competition. During that time, she turned her attention to promoting trail running across Nepal and helping train other promising young female athletes from rural Nepal to complete on the international stage.
She has organized many trail races in Kathmandu, as well as her native Bojpur, to promote Nepali youth sport. She has been featured in both national and international media, covering her life from a remote and rural village to a national hero. She has become an inspiration for many girls across the country in a patriarchal society.
In 2017, Mira rejoined the competitive ultra-trail running world with her first competition in September 2017 at the 120 km Ben Nevis Ultra Trail Race in Scotland, UK, where she won the race and set a new course record in 14 hours and 24 minutes. She’s a professional trail runner and part of the Solomon Running team.