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How This Former Child Soldier Became an Ultrarunning Prodigy

Meet Mira Rai—Nepal’s first female sports star and the 2017 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

Meet Mira Rai—Nepal’s first female sports star and the 2017 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. As a young girl growing up in her rural village, Mira endured a harsh life of poverty and hardship. At age 14, she ran away from home to join the Maoist rebel fighters in the jungle. Thanks to a chance encounter several years later, Mira eventually discovered the sport of ultrarunning and was quickly recognized as a prodigy. Without food, water, or proper equipment, Mira ran through hail and rain for more than 31 miles to win her first race.

Shaped by the tough demands of her life in the mountains, Mira’s natural ability is propelling her to become one of the best ultrarunners in the world today. As she continues following her dream, Mira also works to empower other women in Nepal through sports. In this short film by Lloyd Belcher, follow Mira's journey from village girl to ultrarunning superstar. Watch the full-length documentary on Vimeo On Demand.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.