Nepal Marathon Diaries

Day Four

Sunrise running was just what the doctor ordered for today. At 6am, we set out with the sun towards the biggest hill in the village to tackle a session of hill sprints. By ‘we’, I mean the keen bean runners of the group. My soul mates, crazy enough to wake up at this hour and explore the mountains. It was absolutely breath taking; partly because of the views at sunrise, and partly because of the running at altitude! Up until this point, I had been struggling with a case of the marathon runner blues. It can feel very strange to run every single day for several months, and then abruptly stop. The longing to run, had started to become surprisingly debilitating, mischievously enhanced by our stunning Himalayan surroundings. And so, after five days of no running, the hill sprints set me free! I felt like me again!

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But of course, with the good comes the bad, and something had to go wrong. When we reached the top of the hill I was saddened and shocked to find that my phone had been stolen right out from under my nose. It was painful to think that I had been betrayed by the local community of Kakani, whom we were here to help and support. It was a feeling of disappointment and violation, mixed up in a dirty cocktail with immense guilt for experiencing these emotions towards the locals who had welcomed us like royalty just two evenings before. Material possessions are easily replaceable, yet the photographs I had taken, the memories I had captured are sadly lost, and I will never be able to share these with you.

After the highs and lows of the morning, and a good old dose of porridge, it was time to get stuck in to today’s project. Project Pipeline! Created by the Impact Team themselves, the goal was to lay 5km of pipe to help supply the cut off parts of the village with fresh water.  With pick axes and shovels, some of us took to the project better than others…

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It was an honour to work alongside the local community, and the Nepali women absolutely blew me away with their strength, tenacity, and creative problem solving.

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All a little frazzled from the heat and the trench digging, my Street Child family and I took some time after lunch to explore. Intrigued by the uncharted rural villages surrounding our camp, we set off for an afternoon of curious wandering. It can be a little difficult on trips so incredibly well organised and jam packed full of projects, to experience a snippet of the local’s everyday life. But this is what we were all secretly craving.

The sun on our skin, we ambled into the centre of Kakani, past small cafes filled with men chatting over drinks, homes complete with their very own baby chickens, and village shops selling the beautifully mundane combination of coca-cola, sweets, and magazines. And then, purely by luck, we stumbled across a picturesque tea garden.

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It was completely deserted so we took a seat and ordered a round of tea from a lady whose face was now beaming. It’s safe to say I have never sipped tea with such a striking view of the Himalayas in my entire life! Here, we put the world to rights, and I have never felt more part of something. Magical afternoon!

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To end the day, Pia, our beautiful Swedish friend, led a sunset yoga session to help stretch out our aching limbs and ground us back to our reason for being out here. It was powerful to spend an hour in silence, just tuning into my body and mind, after spending every hour socialising for the past week. There was a real sense of unity between each and every yogi and we finished our practice as the sun disappeared behind the mountains, completely at peace.

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Day Five

The day before the big race, today was a chance for everyone to relax and do whatever their hearts desired.

Tom and I waited for the mist to clear before starting our day with a run around the village. Our last chance to see what we were up against, we climbed some pretty mighty hills, with Tom smashing it, and me wheezing behind him, cheering him on. Teamwork. 😉

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After this refreshing run around I had my very first HOT shower of the week. It was an absolute dream, and totally made me realise how often I usually take such a gift for granted. Honestly, I spent a good ten minutes just stood there soaking it all in.

We basked in the sun for the rest of the afternoon with a mega pre-race lunch followed by an inspirational talk from a Nepali woman named Lolita. Lolita, a mother who has helped raise awareness and understanding for children with Down syndrome in Nepal, was a truly powerful woman. After the birth of her son, she made it her mission to make life easier for those with Down syndrome. Many in Nepal do not understand what DS means, so she has set up a foundation to educate and help people see this genetic disorder as a blessing not a curse.

Dinner was a pasta fiesta! My favourite pre-race ritual – to stuff your face with as much pasta and bread as possible. It’s something that would have scared the life out of me years ago, so I’m unashamedly proud to say I love eating my weight in carbohydrates! Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we rolled our way to the campfire and settled each other’s nerves for the following morning. We were even lucky enough to have Phil show us his stretch routine, as he and Lauren danced by the fire lunging and limbering up. I only wish I had a video. I love these humble comedians!

Crying with laughter and pasta bellies are quite a painful combination, so we called it a night and hit the hay early ready for our crazy marathon adventure the next morning.

Lots of love,

Sophie x

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