Several reasons. The main one happened on April 25 last year, when a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. I saw the news breaking of the disaster and recognised places I’d visited just two years before. I was in touch with friends in Nepal and it felt very strange, sitting at my desk at work in Norway, sometimes ‘talking’ on live messaging to someone who had just been digging in rubble trying to save people. All of those I spoke to at the time were affected by the scenes they saw and the aftermath. You do feel powerless sitting so far away in relative comfort. I thought about how to help and things felt frustrating. My bank account isn’t large enough, time off work was difficult, so what do you do? We tried some fundraisers in Oslo, but it didn’t seem to be enough.
I thought about things over the summer last year, and the idea of going back to Nepal was foremost. My connection with Nepal stems from travelling there to do the Everest Marathon in 2012. The place made a big impression. Nepal does that. The layers of mountains towering higher and higher into the sky was beyond anything I’d ever seen before. It changes your perspective. And the people living there leave their mark!
I was lucky on that first trip to Nepal to visit a school run by The Himalayan Trust. I got to see first-hand just how much difference even a small contribution can make to kids’ lives there. Again, a whole new perspective. Every parent wants their kids to have an education, but kids need access to that education first. I saw just how much the work of the Trust meant to people in the Solokhumbu region, the land of giant mountains, and the most revered of all, Everest.
The earthquake in April 2015 killed nearly 8,900 people across Nepal, injured 100,000 and destroyed 600,000 homes and 30,000 classrooms. The loss of life lasts forever, and it takes time to rebuild from devastation on that scale. I read that nearly 90% of the buildings in the Solokhumbu region had been destroyed or damaged by the earthquake. Harsh times, as the monsoon approached in one of the most inhospitable places in the world. People just don’t have the money, or resources, to move to lower ground, so it’s a long slog to rebuild, and help is needed.
I thought what can I contribute. My association with that part of Nepal was because of trail running. I’m an average runner, never won anything, just run as a hobby - a chance to get out into the countryside and to enjoy nature. It’s been an excuse to see some interesting parts of the world, and it was one of the reasons I first went to Nepal. So running came to mind as one of the only ways I could possibly raise interest and potential sponsorship. It’s a common theme for city marathon runners.