TransLantau by UTMB Welcomes Two Nepalese Rising Stars from Exchange and Empower Program
Padam Kumari Sunuwar from Okhaldhunga
Padam Kumari Sunuwar, 23, is native of Okhaldhunga, Nepal. After graduating from secondary school, Padam lived with her aunt and uncle, helping on their chicken farm. Due to her family’s poor financial situation, she was unable to attend college.
Padam was inspired to take up running several years ago after seeing some athletes in the Exchange and Empower Training and Education Scholarship program compete in the Pikey Demba high altitude trail marathon. She is really passionate about the trails and feels at peace while running, with downhill being a particular strength for her.
In 2021 Padam moved to Kathmandu to pursue her passion, and worked hard for a year to apply for the Exchange and Empower program and was accepted to join in 2022. She demonstrated great potential during the program and achieved excellent race results including:
Sindhupalchowk International Trail Race (60km) - 1st place Pikey Demba Trail Race (42km) - 1st place Dhaulagiri Trail race (365km stage race) - 1st place
Padam currently lives in Kathmandu with relatives and has commenced a sports career working at GetWay Adventure Hub (climbing wall). She continues to train for trail running and is looking for opportunities to continue her journey in the sport. She also enjoys giving back to the community and helps lead community hikes and runs in Kathmandu.
She is excited and grateful to have the opportunity to visit Hong Kong to participate in the UTMB Translantau 50km trail race. It will also be her first journey abroad and she is keen to learn about the city and its local culture and is also looking forward to volunteering in local races.
Sabina Rai from Solukhumbu
Sabina Rai, aged 20, hails from Solukhumbu, Nepal. Raised in a poor family, Sabina’s parents are farmers and she is the youngest of 9 siblings. After completing her secondary schooling in her village, Sabina worked in a restaurant kitchen. She also tried to join the British army, but was not selected due to her height.
However, Sabina’s dream is to become a trail runner and she participated in local races, showing her talent when she took a win at the Himalayan Outdoor Festival (10km). In 2022, Sabina was selected to join the year long Exchange and Empower Training and Education Scholarship in Kathmandu. She achieved impressive race results when during the program including:
Manaslu Trail Race (140km stage race) - 3rd place Mundum trail race (45km) - 2nd place Sindhupalchowk International Trail Race (28km) - 1st place Pikey Demba Trail Race (42km) - 5th place
Since graduating from the program, Sabina has leveraged her improved confidence and communication skills to take a job at a hotel where she is currently a waiter. Although she is busy at work, she continues with her athletic training and is seeking opportunities to race internationally.
She is delighted to have the opportunity to visit Hong Kong to participate in the UTMB Translantau 50km trail race. It will also be her first journey abroad and she is excited to visit the city, to explore the local culture and scenery and to see the ocean for the first time.
Both runners benefit from the support by UTMB Cares and Exchange and Empower program to compete in the TransLantau by UTMB event with immense excitement and determination. For Sabina, the race will offer a chance to see the ocean for the first time, while Padam looks forward to volunteering in local races.
Their participation in this prestigious UTMB World Series event not only marks a significant milestone in their careers but also embodies the spirit of TransLantau by UTMB, showcasing determination, talent, and passion. The race will undoubtedly provide these young trailblazers a platform to shine, inspire, and continue their remarkable journey in the world of trail running.
Join us this November in cheering for Sabina and Padam as they embark on this thrilling adventure at the Translantau by UTMB 2023. Their stories are a testament to the transformative power of sport and a source of inspiration for runners around the world.