By Sushma KC Manandhar – Jacksonville, FL
It was a beautiful Saturday morning, when an amazing group of Nepalis from Jacksonville, Florida - all in high spirit, and enthusiasm, ranging from little kids (the youngest being 3 years old Prisha Sharma, who finished the 1mile Jr. run) to one of the eldest in our JaxNepali Community (76 years old Baburam Adhikari, who finished the 15K) came together to be part of this historic moment.
Saturday, March 9th, 2013 was the 36th Annual USA 15K Championship – The Gate River Run. It took place in the heart of Jacksonville, Florida. Considered the Largest 15K event in the United States, with a total of 15,568 15K participants (8159 female and 7409 male), the annual event has a whole gamut of activities for people and kids of all ages. For those of us living in Jacksonville, Florida, this event is a huge deal.
This year, the JaxNepali Community had a mission of its own. It entailed a simple message about health and fitness – to everybody, including ourselves. We hope to aspire and to be able to inspire, as well as motivate people of all walks of life. To spread the notion of how important it is to take care of one self, to invest in one’s health, and most importantly to teach that to our kids. It is never too late to start, so start today! The other important message is that you can actually have a lot FUN doing it. You could see that spirit felt in the kids who came with their parents to run either the 5K and/or the 1mile Junior Run. Whatever the distance they chose to run did not matter, what mattered for them was to just run and have fun.
“It was exhilarating, not exhausting,” is how Ashok Poudyal summed up his experience, a first time Gate River Runner. Everyone had a great and amazing experience. It was overwhelming to see that many people at one race, at the same time that you never felt alone. You could hear people cheering and singing. Few were dancing to the sound of the live bands along the way, to motivate each other to keep going. Some of us just enjoyed the moment and felt like we were being swept away by the crowd, just like being washed away by the strong ocean waves until we got to the finish line. While, few others had their own personal goals set to finish the race.
Whoever came out there for whatever purpose, reason or goal definitely had one common thing to say – “I am coming back next year!” Looks like next year, we will have even a bigger crowd from the JaxNepali Community. This year, there were a total of 34 participants who did, either the 15K, 5K and/or the 1mile Junior Run.