By Keilem Ng
Nepalese trail running legend Mira Rai has devoted herself to inspiring and empowering female athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds. So far, her Exchange and Empower program has sponsored 10 promising young athletes, including Asia Trail Girls contributor Rashila Tamang. Now, she’s seeking help from runners around the world to support 6 more young women - here’s how you can help!
Click here to enter the Empower Challenge, and you’ll have the month of December to run or hike your chosen route through the Everest region (42km and 100km distances are available). As you track your workouts, you’ll see your progress on the virtual race map. The HK$250 (£25) entrance fee will go to support athletes in the Mira Rai Initiative’s Exchange and Empower program.
The program aims to support talented athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds. Working in collaboration with different NGOs, the Mira Rai Initiative helps these women to overcome societal pressures - be it expectations to leave school early, work on the family farm, marry young or even the trauma of sexual trafficking - and provides them with athletic training, professional development and financial support.
At the end of their study, the athletes have the opportunity to travel and race abroad, and gain exposure to different cultures. The first group of athletes travelled to Hong Kong for the 2018 Oxfam Trailwalker, where they finished 2nd against a strong local team. In the program’s second year, the Covid-19 outbreak prevented a trip to Hong Kong for the MSIG TGR Ultra, but the team still had the opportunity to race against some of the world’s best athletes when the Golden Trail Series Final came to Annapurna in Nepal!
Selected athletes on their trip to Hong Kong in 2018
Nepalese Team racing at the Oxfam Trailwalker 2018
Mira and her team have selected 6 promising athletes to join the Exchange and Empower program in 2021. To do so, they need to raise a total of HK$200,000.
To enter the challenge and help support these amazing young women, click here now!