News and Views on Tibet

Running for Tibet

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Number 39 . Spring 2003 “The choice of charity was easy for me,” said Marie Rabouhans after running the London Marathon on 13 April 2003. “I’ve been a supporter of the Tibet Foundation since an unforgettable five day trek around Mount Kailash in 1997. Crossing the Drolma La at 5210 metres (18,525 feet) was the high point of the sacred circuit, the kora, in every sense.” Tibetan Buddhists know the mountain as Gang Rinpoche or “Precious Jewel of Glacial Snow. “Pilgrims leave prayer flags and offerings, I left a brightly coloured scarf and took a tiny piece of a prayer flag as a memento.”

“After taking early retirement, I felt I was celebrating my freedom by helping Tibetans who have so little. It was a way to show my appreciation for all I have gained from my travels in Tibetan regions.’

Marie inspired herself through the winter evenings training with a form of Japanese lyric verse. She composed her own “haiku” (three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables) on the run.

Not quite finished yet? No way – not me – I’m up and Running for Tibet!

The Marathon itself was “a fantastic day, almost too bright and sunny – I’ve never drunk so much water in my life!” London is a very special place on Marathon Day – a real Carnival on the move with many runners in costume. “Where else could you run alongside a rhino and overtake an eight foot orange or get beaten by a banana.” “At Mile 16 I didn’t hit the proverbial wall, but it is a tough spot – having run further than I would normally run the thought of another ten miles is daunting! The real secret to running the Marathon is being part of a team and I couldn’t imagine sharing the experience with a better group than Run For It!” On the big day, four of the team were running and the rest were on support duty round the 26 miles, 385 yards route. Ian Mursell helped Marie carry the Tibetan flag, while Lisa Weeks and her partner David wore the Tibetan flag and all of them have been inspired to donate their sponsorship to the work of the Foundation.

Karma Hardy, Director of Tibet Foundation was waiting with many supporters at Green Park. “We were so excited to see Marie come running by holding the Tibetan flag, even after 40 km her spirits were so high, she was smiling and so happy! It really was an inspiring sight watching her and Ian rejoin the throng of runners down the Mall with our flag held aloft! We are all so proud of her huge achievement and deeply grateful that she has worked so hard and raised so much.”

Marie recalled surprise at so much emotional recognition for the flag, “a lot of people cheered me on with “Come on Tibet!” and quite a few gave a cheery “Come on Mr. Sun!” Exhausted as I was passing Big Ben, the sight of the supporters with their Tibetan flags fluttering in the sunshine on Bird Cage Walk spurred me on to the finish! I felt privileged to carry the Tibetan flag through the streets of London.”

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