I had an epic week in Nepal for the inaugural Impact Marathon in Nepal. So much happened that I divided the blog into two parts. I finished off Part One at the end of Day 4 after the race briefing and project pipeline was over. If you missed Part One you can read it HERE
I’ll pick back up at Day 5, November 25th….
We were able to have a nice sleep in as it was our free day. I was very mindful that I needed to relax as my legs were feeling tired and my fitbit stats were BIG yesterday (32,818 steps; 137 floors climbed…unfortunately the battery dies so I didn’t get the stats of marathon day).
I did 7.45am yoga (this was a sleep in- the latest I’d been up the whole trip). It was beautiful. The clouds were rolling past us as we stretched, the himalayas in front & over to our left- it was quite emotional taking it all in- quite overwhelming.
Then it was time for breakfast and then I sat in the sun catching up with my journal as Manesha did yoga and the boys were playing frisbee with yoga music playing in the background. Then I sat reading my book soaking up some sun till lunch time. It was beautiful.
After lunch there was a talk with a lady who founded the Nepal Downs Syndrome Charity. It was incredibly moving and informative. There is still such a stigma with disabilities and people don’t understand what they are. Some children are made to stay in doors & even sometimes tied to posts as family are ashamed, often grandparents and/or the husband abandons the mother and baby- it’s very tough when money & food is such an issue. But this woman is making a difference and I am sure it will be a lasting legacy.
Then we watched the Mira Rae film- she is an amazing and inspirational woman. I would highly recommend you all watch this short movie.
You can rent it for just £3 or buy for £7.51 HERE and 100% of net proceeds from these Vimeo sales go to funding the screening of this film across Nepal in remote places using mobile cinemas & for girls who would potentially be inspired by watching Mira’s film.
I then went back to my tent to pack up & get organised for tomorrow and have stuff ready for Sunday. Then we had a pasta dinner and an early night.
Day 6: Marathon Day!
Up early to get ready for the big day. I couldn’t manage breakfast but I enjoyed a cup of tea and then was on my way. We all walked together down to the parade ground where the race would begin- it looked amazing and I felt a bit emotional as we walked down. Then it was down to business: suncream; put bag in the bag drop; sign the waiver; & wish everyone luck before we started.
The race began…we were running the inaugural Nepal Marathon! A small up hill out of the parade ground and then a nice down hill to start us off. There was a big up hill that was tough and then we were near our camp for the start of 1 of 2 17k loops. The first part of the loop was my favourite part of the course. Running through forest where we could really run and find our pace and then over a precarious waterfall crossing.
There was a long uphill stretch. I was quite happy walking up the hills and running the downs and flats.
We were so well looked after by the Exile Medic Team. They were at every check point to look after us, check we were ok and make sure we had enough water. The only time I needed the medics was to check my back as it felt like my bag was rubbing the back of my shoulder- they put some sports tape on for me and I didn’t notice it at all after that.
I’m not normally a fan of loops but this was 2 loops around trails in Nepal so I was more than happy to do it again. At no point did I feel fazed by the distance and I was amazed my legs didn’t feel like they were falling apart on the uphills. The problem I had was that I was struggling with my breath on some of the ups, even walking it felt at times like my lungs were struggling to get enough air in.
Once we finished the 2nd loop it was down into the village and past the last checkpoint and down a hill….that led to a pretty brutal up hill- the only part of the race I felt sweat dripping down my face and I had to stop to catch my breath, Once I’d sworn at the hill a couple of times & reached the top I ran through the village- there ere lots of runners who cheered me through with lots of high fives as I went. Then it was down for a loop of the parade ground being cheered by other runners across the finish line.
Marathon number 10 done!
It was very emotional- it really was such a special and amazing thing to be a part of. I got a huge hug from Nick and my flowers, scarf, certificate and a Tikka on my head. When Nick gave me the scarf he told me it wasn’t for wiping tears away lol!
Once I’d got myself together I grabbed my bag and headed up to the village with a few others. We all had a drink and then headed down to camp as the mist rolled in. I was so thankful that the mist waited till I’d finished.
We had a great dinner and lots of thank you were made (very well deserved too as the team did an amazing job). Then we all went up to the sunset bar for a hot rum punch around the campfire, some G&T’s (local Nepali gin- yum!) and then lots of dancing. You would never guess we’d all just run a tough marathon with some of the moves that were being pulled on that dance floor.
It was a great final night. Drinks, dancing, goodbyes and finally rolled to bed around 1am (although some stayed up much later:) )
It was time to get up for the buses back to kathmandu and leave our little camp in the mountains. It was a bumpy ride down (I managed a nap though). We were dropped off in Kathmandu, and we felt a bit lost as we didn’t know the city. We just about managed to follow some people going to the Trek Nepal Office but we struggled to keep up with our heavy bags. Luckily we just managed to follow them there and then someone from the office was kind enough to show us where our hotel was.
As our rooms weren’t quite ready Manesha and I headed out to find some lunch. We found a little place and were so excited to see the menu. As much as we’d been enjoying the fabulous food in the mountains it was exciting to have some non-curry options. I had a veggie burger and a beer which went don very nicely. Then we headed back to the hotel and I had a nap in the comfy bed and then had a half hour shower to get properly clean and enjoy the steaming hot water. Then I met with Manesha & we went out for some shopping. We’d had grande plans for our afternoon in Kathmandu but I was so happy to just take it easy. It was nice shopping around Thamel and bumping into people from the marathon. We joined a group for dinner and had planned for drinks & partying in to the night but after dinner I headed back to the hotel feeling pretty exhausted to get some sleep before my early start to catch my fight home the next morning.
It was an early start for my flight home. Apparently there was an earthquake at 5.30am but I was in the taxi at that time and didn’t feel it. Everything at the airport was fairly easy & laid back and there were some monkeys on the roof!
The flight to Delhi was spectacular with incredible views over the himalayas. Then I had a short lay over in Delhi before getting the flight home. I was exhausted by the time I got back to London but I was happy to be home.
A quick round up
As I’m sure you can tell I had a truly amazing time in Nepal. I loved being a part of something so wonderful. The people were all fabulous and I loved working on the community project. It really is so much more than a marathon and I definitely hope to do similar things in the future. I am unable to take part in any of the Impact Marathons next year but I definitely hope to get involved in another one in the future. I have travelled before to do marathons and although I have enjoyed them this was something different. I felt like I truly experienced the local culture and loved getting involved in the charity projects- it’s so gratifying knowing that we helped the village have a constant water supply.
The team in Nepal were all amazing and I’d like to say a massive thank you so all of them. They created something amazing and I met some fabulous people & made great friends that I look forward to seeing again soon x
If you’d like to get involved with a future marathon with Impact Marathons that are in some amazing destinations and I couldn’t recommend highly enough, check out their website HERE