The Dragon Run

Two Canadians, Ten Bhutanese, One Stray Dog


The Dragon Run

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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front cover 1
Title page 4
Copyright page 5
Dedication 6
Contents 8
Map 10
1 Lama’s Blessing 14
2 Precious Teacher 22
3 “Long Distance Dozen" 34
4 Birth of an Idea 52
5 Royal Sanction 66
6 The Longest Climb 86
7 Clowns and Phalluses 106
8 Death of a Runner 114
9 Shabdrung Sheep 134
10 Yalama! 144
11 Cure for Our Sufferings 164
12 Bumpy Road to Wangdi 190
13 Tea with Her Majesty 214
Epilogue 236
Acknowledgements 246
Notes 248
Glossary 250
About the Author 254
Other Titles from The University of Alberta Press 257