Project Davos: Nepalis in Switzerland

The final pre-race article in a series about training two Nepali runners to compete in a top European trail race.

By on July 29, 2010 | 4 comments

Race day is now only a few days away. Bed and Sudip have traveled all the way from Nepal to Switzerland, and after all my worries of the journey, the diet, the air, they are like kids let loose in a chocolate factory.

Bed Sudip take tea in ZurichAll the firsts – first plane ride, first train ride, first developed country… but it’s the small things that make them gawp the most – the hydraulic lift on the back of a lorry, the petrol driven grass cutter in the park, and the big saw the road workers use to cut through the tarmac. These things are just beyond their imagination. I never thought I’d spend 20 minutes watching.

But their eyes are definitely still on the prize. Within 3 hours of landing, Bed was asking me about the race. He wanted to know everything – start time, location, route, what the trees look like… Everything. Sudip was savouring the moment too – he was asking about the competition. He really feels he can win this one. And he is good enough.

This Nepali tapering is still driving me crazy – so they managed a 82km mountain trail route 14 days before the race, and a 50km road run 10 days before, no issues, but now they want to do the whole 78km Davos route just so they know it! I think I’ll draw the line at that, but their enthusiasm is simply a joy to be around.

I wonder what the other runners will think when they see the Everest Ultra and Everest Marathon winners lined up next to them at the start with their beaming smiles.

How do they feel? Excited, in a word. Utterly over the moon. But also very deferential. ‘This is a great honour and privilege to be here. I will do my best and be the best I can,” says Bed. And Sudip is no different, “My family told me to honour the sponsors who have made this lifetime opportunity possible.”

They’re both so humble and grateful. This is the motivation and attitude that coaches dream of – it’s deep, it’s strong, and they know just how much effort has gone into getting them here. They don’t feel that they deserve any of this, they are both in awe that it is happening to them and they way to show their gratitude is to try their very best.

Nepali chicken soupWe have high hopes for them, too. They’ve settled in well, they’re in good shape, and they’ve also discovered the benefits of eating during a run – at least I taught them something! I just hope we can find some way of getting them their fresh chicken soup and buffalo milk!

This week we are profiling all those involved in this on our Project Davos website, what they are learning from this and their experience.

Our aim is to raise enough money to keep these runners training, and take part in more international events. Just £50 (US$75) is enough to house and feed and clothe one runner for an entire month. It would be wonderful to raise enough to keep this dream alive for Bed and Sudip, and let their talents shine for longer on the international stage.

Rob Cousins
Rob Cousins is a contributor to