Tony Robinson-Smith, his wife Nadya, and ten Bhutanese college students set out to run 578 kilometres (360 miles) across the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas. Joined by a stray dog, they slogged over five mountain passes, bathed in ice-clogged streams, ate over log fires, and stopped at every store, restaurant, guesthouse, and dzong to raise money for the Tarayana Foundation. The “Tara-thon” was the first endeavour of its kind and gave 350 village children the chance to go to school. En route, the Long Distance Dozen met a Buddhist lama, a royal prince, a Tibetan renegade, and a matriarch who told them the secret to long life. On arrival in Thimphu, they were decorated by Her Majesty the Queen. In this contemplative memoir, Tony describes Bhutan in rich detail at a transformative period in its history and reflects on tradition, belief, modernization, and happiness.
See the book trailer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-VsWAbTHAQ
A worthy addition to the canon of running memoirs. An unprecedented journey across a singular spiritual landscape, enlivened by Robinson-Smith’s keen eye for detail, beautiful prose, and remarkable endurance. A travelogue that takes seriously its responsibility to its hosts. Thoughtful, mindful, compelling.
"Robinson-Smith's account of the Tara-thon is lively, richly detailed and unvarnished... [The] imagination is caught by what Robinson-Smith reveals about the society itself, Bhutan's history, the wary insularity of its mountain fastness, the harsh demands of life there, the delightfully appealing economic measure known as Gross National Happiness, and the effects, good and bad, of increased contact with the modern world." Richard Cumyn, The Fiddlehead, November 2018
"Travel writing in Canada is alive, well, and robustly athletic.... Robinson-Smith does a good job of juxtaposing Western perceptions, both historic and modern, with the challenges faced by the Bhutanese..." [Full review at http://canlit.ca/article/running-and-riding-away/]