By Guest Blogger: David Rain at USC Canada
Since 1995, I’ve been running marathons in support of USC Canada’s work with farmers around the world. This is Part II of a magical training run I went on during a field visit to Nepal many years ago. It still inspires me to this day, as I train for my next Run for Biodiversity in Toronto on October 14. Missed Part I of David’s journey? Catch up here.
…Out of breath, I slow to a walk and take a sip from my refreshing bottle of Nepali spring water. The lane is crowded and a motor bike passes with a beep. I watch in awe as its rider so skilfully, indeed artistically, finds a way though the ever-increasing crowd, rocking this way and that to avoid contact with those walking in the middle of the road.
Rested, I instinctively take off after the bike and find myself imitating its smooth rocking motion. Snakelike, I learn to weave my way through the crowd and at a good clip too. I’m in a groove, as the cadence of my feet responds with heightened sensitivity to each sudden movement – of an impulsive child, an unseeing old woman, then a bicyclist nearly tipping over with his load of reinforced iron bars!
I overtake the motor bike in a tight rush through the crowd and in a quick twist of circumstance find myself clearing the path for it to follow me now. I’m transformed. Looking, and to all intents and purposes feeling like a motor bike myself. My metallic shadow and I dance along to this other-worldly rhythm for another six minutes or so, when suddenly our duet is interrupted and a huge open space is discovered.
It’s the glorious Durbar Square, a cluster of palaces and Hindu temples, and a UNESCO heritage site to boot. Unfazed by this great architectural beauty, however, which has caused many an unsuspecting foreigner to stop and linger for a moment if not a day, our intrepid runner finds the courage to trudge purposefully onward, knowing somehow that even greater wonders may await him up ahead.
But getting out of the Square is not as easy as getting in, it seems, and once again I get a chance to practice my dance of the dodge, this time as a kind of slow “running yoga.” It’s a brief encounter with a dense flock of pigeons, somehow scripted right out of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. The flock slows me down ever so slightly, but I’m soon on my way again. I have to say, though, that my once jet black T-shirt does manage to pick up a couple of white streaks in the kafuffle. Good luck, as my Nepali friends are later to tell me.
The crowds thin out a bit by now, and my biker friend veers off down an alley and waves good-bye. Some steep downhill slopes are next encountered. I’m thankful my legs have warmed up, as this would be a heck of a way to start off a run. I reach a flat stretch of land and can make out in the distance a bridge crossing over the Vishnumati, an arm of the sacred Bagmati River……(to be continued)
David Rain coordinates and runs in USC Canada‘s annual Run for Biodiversity. Follow the six-part story of his training journey each week on Getinvolved.ca as he leads up to this year’s runs in Victoria (Oct 7) and Toronto (Oct 14). Or join the Run for Biodiversity NOW at Run4Biodiversity.org