A big thank you from Trail Running Nepal!
It seems a long time now since the middle of April when John and Gone Running posted its first box of new / nearly new / lightly used running gear to Nepal, plus transferred US$855 collected at a fundraising evening held with Lloyd Belcher for Trail Running Nepal's running fund. We were, of course, super delighted with Gone Running’s efforts with the Hong Kong trail running community.
This was a great idea that he shared with me at the beginning of the year, to give new life to gear that was still good, but for whatever reason was not being used. Gone Running's delivery service could be used in reverse to collect these items that would otherwise remain in the store cupboard and eventually one day end in the trash. In his usual relaxed no worries self, John simply explained, “It's really trying to turn nothing [people's secondhand gear] into something. Just a little bit of time for us - easy and happy to be involved."
I wasn't there, but apparently the guys in the post office really liked the pink sports bra! And a lot of the other stuff too. The petty officials as usual practiced their petty corruption in two ways. Firstly they saw a price tag on one of the items and began to extrapolate the value of the whole box of stuff. Then, as there were some boxed (and thus resalable-looking) food items (gels & protein bars) in the package, they informed that it would have to go to the department of food testing to have it checked out, and that could take some weeks. This is the way it goes down at the post office: petty corruption! But it arrived, and there was some great stuff in the box which is getting used.
Members of Hong Kong's trail running scene have been welcoming and supporting Nepali runners since 2010 (and even before that with Trailwalker), offering accommodation, cash donations towards flights, inviting them into Trailwalker teams, offering race entry, and also sending gear for others to use (and much more - see below).
Last year I went for a birthday run with Mira Rai who was dressed in running gear sent from Hong Kong collected by the HK100 gang. She arguably cut her teeth in the MSIG 50km races in Hong Kong racing there amongst an endlessly supportive crowd, she won her first race there in a pair of shoes donated a couple of days before. If you haven't read this quote from Matt Moroz, in the middle of this thoughtful blog post from Trail Running Nepal co-founder Roger Henke, please do now. The trail running community in Hong Kong can be proud for supporting talent from Nepal and take satisfaction in the good results. You are the manure in which these seeds have been planted!
And so it continues with Gone Running's structured help. It’s second large shipment arrived a few months ago with curly haired powerhouse Santosh Tamang.
The stack of gels and protein bars have gone to Samir and team mates. They still train for flat marathon races, as is their job, but are looking towards international races. It is worth mentioning at this point again about the earthquake. Collectively, with a core of the staunchest supporters you could ask for, we raised nearly US$10,000 toward earthquake relief, with much of this money distributed to runners to help their communities rebuild shelter before the monsoon. In particular, Samir Tamang took on the huge task of leading his community of around 1,000 people through this huge disaster, enabled by these funds. Brilliant.
Shoes and some of the t-shirts went as prizes for runners in the Sindhupalchowk Trail Race, plus another 18km race in August, where we invited runners, now properly kitted out, to compete. It was quite awesome for them as I don't think they had been too far out of their villages before. Some bottles and gels were also given as prizes.
Part of the money raised by Gone Running and Lloyd Belcher, and also donated by Tailwind Asia, has gone towards new school uniforms for the children in the village where that race was held. I don't know how many hundred were bought. The earthquake has put quite a lot of running activity on hold, and so we think it is fitting to fulfil this basic need while it is urgent.
This is a bit longer and less succinct than I was hoping for, but it comes with a big thank you to Gone Running, John, Steve, JoeJoe and all who have been recycling the running gear you don't need to enable young people to discover trail running and the current Nepalese runners to sustain it with the right equipment.
- Richard Bull, Trail Running Nepal
PS. For more details on Gone Running's Secondhand Gear Collection service, please click here.
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