Posted by: cousinsrj | July 27, 2010

Introducing Ramesh Bhattachan

The athletes always get the focus.  They’re ones we see, the ones we watch, whose progress we follow.  But I thought it right to introduce Ramesh again.  He’s had many jobs on this project – our team manager, chief logisitics negotiator, and now in Davos he is head chef. 

Without him, this would never have happened.  He’s been developing Nepali sport for years away from all the corrupt officials, and this was a super opportunity for him too. 

He didn’t so much step in to the role, ‘Ramesh Action’ exploded onto the scene with ideas and helped navigate the curious world of Nepali politics and family ties.  Why has he been so helpful?

This is a fantastic project for Nepali runners.  I’ve had the vision that one day a Nepali could take part in a race like this, and we would be so happy, because they have the potential and ability to do well’.

And they really do have the talent.  Ramesh has furiously been calculating Bed and Sudip’s speeds, comparing them to Europeans, and always they are pretty much on a par.  Whilst they have been living in Ramesh’s training hostel, he’s seen their attitude and approach to the world – ‘They are hardworking and disciplined.  And great fun to be around’.

Ramesh has added real drive, motivated our runners, and never given up even in those times of despair.  He’s passionate about this opportunity.

Never ever in the history of mountain sports in Nepal have anyone taken part in a race like this.  So this is the diamond opportunity.   I’m so proud to provide them with the necessary logistics in Nepal and escort them to Davos’. 

What a guy, what a help and what an inspiration.

Posted by: cousinsrj | July 26, 2010

Those memorable firsts….

Three Nepalis and a hydraulic lorry thing

The ‘first times’ in this project began months back with my first time in Nepal, and first time embarking on a project that was as ‘out there’ as this one.

For Bed and Sudip, their big ‘first time’ was being able to focus on their training, their first time in Pokhara, …..  Now we’re really into the firsts – first international flight, first time out of Nepal, first time in a developed country, first time without dal baht!  

But overwhelmingly, now we have arrived in Zurich, the most amazing first has been a hydraulic crane on the back of a lorry.  Wow – I’ve never seen these boys gawp in amazement quite so much.  They’d never seen anything like it.  It’s just simply magic!  We must have watched the thing for a good 20 minutes.  And then Sudip got on his first ever train and he practically wet himself in excitement and I had to hold him back from leaping out of the window…..

 But what else is overwhelming is the support and encouragement we’re all receiving.  This project, as simple as taking two runners to a race, seems to have a profound impact on the people who hear about it.  It’s wonderful to hear the inspiration people are taking from Bed and Sudip, and it’s truly motivating for them too.  When we talk about some of the e-mails I receive they smile with excitement and delight at the idea of their lives making even just a small difference to someone else’s.  It humbles them.

I asked Bed and Sudip what their family told them as they left on this great adventure.  They both said the same thing – ‘be respectful, and try your absolute best in gratitude for the kind people who have given you this opportunity’.  That is the reverence they hold for their sponsors and supporters.

And that dedication is what astounds me about these two young men.  After a long haul flight (their first) they are brimming with excitement, and don’t want to wait until Saturday to race!  That’s definitely not how I felt as I stumbled off the plane all bleary eyed…..

And it’s also why Bed and Sudip deserve this opportunity, have worked hard for it without any complaint, and why we’re raising money to keep this life alive for them.

Over the next 4 days in the run up to the big race, we will be showing profiles of the members of this project, their hopes, their aims, their motivations.  And please do get in touch, or leave a comment, to take part in this unique event.

Posted by: timvanderveer | July 25, 2010

Stroll in the park

In the last week before a race, I always start doubting myself. Tapering means not doing a lot. Not doing a lot means my legs feel… errr, normal. It’s hard to believe that I am ready for a 50 miles foolish run over an Alp. Especially since trainer Rob is from the minimal school. Should I have done more?

I try to comfort myself with small fun runs. Yesterday I did some good sprinting when I passed some bushes and suddenly saw a naked man waving at me, but not with his hands… I tell you, it’s good to be a fast runner sometimes.

I also try to remember the 5389 times that I sprinted up the ramp near my house. Or the time when I was travelling for work to Oxford and did my 180 step ups on an inverted trash can at 7 am in my hotel room. Or the long runs in the Ardennes with some really silly steep climbs and being chased by farm dogs. Or the run up the Himalaya mountains. Have a look at the picture. Yes, I was there. Yes, I ran there. No, I am not crazy. Or maybe I am…

I guess that Bed and Sudip are now boarding the plane to Zurich. I can’t remember how many times I have flown. I still like taking off and looking over the clouds when they look like cotton. Travelling to Europe is the ultra for Bed and Sudip. As for me, I am trying to think that I have some vague appointment next Saturday. In my agenda it says: Stroll in the park.

Posted by: cousinsrj | July 24, 2010

Wierd things in the bag

Passport – got it.  Visa – got it.  Rice cooker – got it!

Of all the things going in the bag for Davos, this is the wierdest (and heaviest). Never thought I’d be packing one of those in my kit bag.

But hey, we need to make sure Bed & Sudip eat well for them, and I’m not sure how much Swiss food we can afford! And I simply can’t go without a cup of tea at the airport.

Posted by: cousinsrj | July 22, 2010

Before Davos After Davos

The race is now just over a week away, and the ‘alternative Nepali taper’ is now slowing to a ‘flexibility and light exercise’ phase.  Good ol’ Ramesh does seem to understand the value of rest after all…..

Evening at Ghorepani, near Poon Hill. Villagers fill in the time at dusk

And now also the wider project begins.  This is an astounding opportunity for Bed and Sudip, and an exciting one for Tim, Michael and me to learn from.

Davos is one race, and whatever happens here we’ve all learnt a lot and had a great time.  But beyond this, we’d like to provide something for the future, an alternative to the hard lives that these guys lead in Nepal.

They’ve proven their worth as mountain runners in the tough hills of Nepal.  They have demonstrated to me that they can train hard, learn and stay focused on a goal.  In fact, they have taken to this new life with gusto and enthusiasm.  I wish some of my other athletes had such mettle! 

But what next after Davos?  With only three months or preparation, they should do well at Davos.  But with a year of dedicated and focused training behind them, I wonder what their horizons will be.

 Wouldn’t it be great if Davos raised enough profile and money, to sustain Bed and Sudip for a year, and get them to more international standard races. 

Davos is getting exciting, but will be over in 9 days.  It would be wonderful to make this dream last longer for Bed and Sudip. 

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Posted by: cousinsrj | July 21, 2010

We’re off!

I can’t believe that this adventure is now actually going to happen.  My head is just spinning!

From a wonderful idea I had 8 months ago, with a lot of help from a lot of people.  With a whole heap of support, encouragement and interest that so many people have taken…. The great team we’ve built here in Nepal – Bed, Sudip, and Ramesh.  More than that, though – we’re in Holland (Tim), we’re in Switzerland (Michael), and great support from ISRM and Primal Lifestyles in the UK. 

This is a real international effort, and even when this has been such a struggle and some really hard decisions – we’ve worked so well together to solve the problems.

We’re so close now, we’re so excited, and the best bit is just around the corner!

Posted by: Michael Broadley | July 18, 2010

Winding down…

Bring on the taper.  Today I went up to the Saleve in France for the last time before Davos and managed not to wimp out this week to complete a steady 28k in 2h50 thanks to a nice cross breeze and a 24c temp.  I like Bed, Sudip and Tim practiced the art of eating en route.  I took two five minute breaks to take on some banana and hydrate whilst taking the opportunity to stretch out tiring muscles.  It really helped in terms of ticking along without taking any unscheduled breaks – if that makes any sense.  The only downside to this morning’s effort was being chased by a wild French farm dog that spotted me from around 300m away.  I like Fartlek work but on my long Sunday slogs I don’t like having to sprint a la Usain Bolt.  It’s a risk you take as a runner in the French countryside though. It’s about the fifth time at least and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’ve learnt that shouting and waving a branch is an effective strategy with a pinch of luck as this time I managed to get to a metal gate and electrifed fence just in time.  I found it quite ironic after we’ve been chatting about animal running stories just last week.  So after turning the air blue with muchos profanities I was able to rise a wry smile and continue on my merry way.

Below is a snap at around 18k with the alps and the lake in Annecy in the background.  Unfortunately the camera in my iPhone doesn’t really do the view justice.

La Saleve, France

The next two weeks will consist of Swiss ball core work, very little running and swimming; the latter being a welcome break from running in the heat.  I hope it’s not too warm in Davos come the end of the month.  Englishmen generally don’t do well in the heat (or the South African winter if you’re an England football player!).

Geneva and Lac Genève in the distance

Posted by: cousinsrj | July 18, 2010


Tim and I have been talking about tapering.  He’s the world’s best taperer – when you’re training actually means doing very little – brilliant!

But Ramesh ahs been teaching me about the Nepali ways….. ‘not like western training’ he told me months ago.  After a few quizzical looks and mutterings, I see his point.

‘Nepali bodies cannot be idle’  he tells me.  Idle?  Is that his idea of rest and recouperation?  But I se ehis point.  They’re so used ot finishing work, and then making dinnr, doing the washing (by hand in the tub), boiling water to wash, feeding the animals…. they just can’t be still.

So we sent them out for a final big run.  Tim just did his 4 hour ‘bad rehearsa, good performance’.  Bed and Sudip just did the Annapurna 78km race, with an extra couple of kilometers thrown in. 

Sudip – ‘I loved it, particularly the bit up at the top’. 

Bed – ‘made me remember the race earlier this year’. 

Both happy, both positive, and just like Tim, both learnt a lot about eating, drinking and pacing for a long race.  And they had a field day out there.  Once again, I’ve put my coaching books up on the shelf, and really enjoyed seeing what these boys can do.

Posted by: timvanderveer | July 16, 2010

Bad rehearsal, good performance

Here I am, at 21 kilometres during my last big training. Still looking smoothly, enjoying the Dutch polders on a sunny Thursday night.

After this glorious moment, things went bad. Having learnt that it’s best to eat as much as you can in the early hours of race, I practiced eating almost every 20 minutes. After two hours I started to feel nauseous. And in the last hour I could hardly eat or drink. Based on pure willpower (and the fact that I hadn’t any choice if I wanted get home), I managed to keep my pace steady and drink small sips of water. But hey, what a bad training. To make things worse, my calves were starting to burn.

You can’t believe how glad I was to collapse on a chair when I came home after 45 kilometres and 4.20 hours. After half hour of moaning, I took a beer and tried to kill the brain cells that are trying to remember this training.

This morning, I felt revived. At least, my recovery powers are good. A little analysis, has taught me that: 1. I should stick with eating every 45 minutes and not too much, 2. I need more rest before going on such a long run (already did 2 hill reps, 1 strength training). Tapering will do me good…

Well, you know what they say: bad rehearsal, good performance. I hope this is the case. Anyway, just by chance I encountered a peculiar animal along the run. One that Michael will remember very well. Not a good picture, but if you look closely, you’ll see two llamas. I hope that this is a good omen.

Posted by: cousinsrj | July 16, 2010

It’s all coming to a head

Two weeks and one day to go!  And things are getting tense.  Actually I am on a bit of a downer right now – Bed & Sudip have to wait until Monday to pick up their Swiss visas.  Until they have those in their hands, nothing is certain.  Nine months work, more, is resting on that,

I keep thinking about the travel – how will they manage their first ever international flight   How will they manage the jet lag?

What if we miss our travel connections!

I am thinking about the rich cheeses and soft croissants in Switzerland – really not the best thing for a Nepali stomach. 

I’m, thinking about the kind help from Tim and Ramesh, and the brilliant sponsors who have helped us immensely.  I don’t want to let them down.

Strangely all of this worry has absolutely nothing to do with running.  Nothing to do with developing these wonderful athletes, and giving them a super experience and opportunity.  And that’s the main aim of this project. 

Two weeks and one day to go, and my head is full of these things.  Maybe I should go out for a run.

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