10 Most Inspiring Adventurers of the Year - Vote for Mira Rai of NEPAL.

Two years ago, Nepali runner Mira Rai went for a jog in Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, just outside of Kathmandu. As she darted along the hilly trails, she happened to meet a few other runners and casually jogged with them for a while, chatting and laughing. They told her to come back a few days later, for what she assumed was a training run. When she did so, she realized that a race—the Kathmandu West Valley Rim 50K—was about to fire off.

Rai had never competed in a trail race. She came from a village high in the mountains of Bhojpur, where her family eked out a living tending livestock. During her childhood, she chased after goats, collected firewood, shouldered 40-plus-pound sacks of rice, and slogged up and down the mountains to fetch water. She dreamed of a better life, but few opportunities arise in such remote areas, particularly for a girl.

“Generally there are no opportunities,” says Rai, who left school at age 12. “None. Access to education is limited for girls. Women don’t have that much time to study.”