The Birth of a Big Event in a Wee Known Country
I kinda figured from past experience that this post-big trip post would be about some personal epiphany or novel experience that went down during my recent trip to Bhutan. But because I spent most of my six weeks there this time around focused and working on birthing a new event, I’m coming off this journey a tad like a mother post delivery—fatigued, looking forward to a lot of more rewarding work—and REALLY excited!
After shaking my attitude crushing jet lag and making lots of to-do lists for moving forward, what I really want to share is the best part—the ‘REALLY excited’ part. So I’m psyched about offering some stunning ‘baby pictures’ and event details for the inaugural Bhutan International Marathon, as well as introduce a unique opportunity for a lucky few of you to train and race with me in the peaceful Land of the Thunder Dragon. (Tears well up as I write that last bit!)
As I’ve shared through my posts via Expedition Bhutan and here on Athleta Chi, I’ve been volunteering as an advisor to the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) on several projects since our Expedition in 2011. One of the big ones we’ve been working on for over a year now is this race which will not only support their Olympic efforts, but allow a cultural and international sporting exchange within a prolific endurance sport—running.
So after way too many formal meetings while hot and sweaty in the ten yards of thick fabric that is a Kira, and several trips to secure the course and logistics, the Bhutan International Marathon and Half Marathon are a go! We’ve chosen a venue that not only showcases the beauty of this ancient culture and dramatic landscape in a region of the country that will roll out the red carpet for you, but will be on a course that won’t leave you gasping for air at high altitude.
So February 23, 2014 the BOC will host the first running event in Bhutan that has a specific focus on inviting international competitors. They want you to meet and race with Bhutanese who have never had the opportunity to do an event alongside foreigners. Wow! And I want to personally invite you to be a part of this history-making experience while training and traveling with me.
One of the ways I’m supporting this effort is by offering a Travel and Training Package that I created and will be your coach and host for, and that is a fundraiser for youth and Olympic sport in Bhutan. This package is wrapped around the event while geographically and culturally showcasing iconic Bhutan and while catering to the slightly more adventurous traveler. This is an opportunity to travel to Bhutan with someone who intimately knows and loves the country and people. If Nepal has always been on your bucket list, I say take it one short flight further and visit their pristine, shy, gracious and gorgeous neighbor, Bhutan.
Yep, this is a huge, shameless plug. But heck, I’m excited! Come and meet our new baby! Running through peaceful rural Bhutan while exploring this ancient traditional culture could be the memorable sporting exchange of a lifetime.
Editor’s Note: The photography shown in this article were taken on or near the race course.