Well let’s be realistic – I am not a runner – more like a jogger. But I have run two marathons (that’s the long 42 km run – and I felt every kilometer). And I have done a few half marathons. As you can tell I am quite proud of that but I must admit those were quite a while ago and I don’t think I could even do a half marathon now. But I enjoy my jogs around the neighbourhood and Fish Creek Park. I also love to jog when I go on holiday. It is a great way to explore a city and in this instance jet lag is your friend.
You wake up at 4.30 am and what can you do? Lace up your shoes and go for a run. You see the city in its waking up stage. The dustbin men are out ….. sorry – for my Canadian readers that means the garbage trucks. (What an odd name calling it a dustbin??? That’s a topic for another day). You get to see people on their way to work and the coffee bars just opening up. On a jog through Hyde Park in London we got to see the Household Cavalry doing their morning exercises. They do something called “The Gallop” and seeing them come through the mist was extraordinary. This little video will give you a feel for one of their practices although sadly no galloping – but just listen to the sergeant major at the end – talk about throwing your voice!
Something exhilarating seeing those incredible horses in the early morning and you could actually see their breath in the cooler temperature.
One of my favourite cities for an early morning run is Venice. Having no traffic is a huge bonus and you will probably end up doing a longer run than you had planned because Venice is notorious for its twisty alleys and surprise piazzas. It is so easy to get lost but there’s always a café handy where you can have an espresso standing up at the bar with the gondoliers. There are usually not many tourists out and about at that time of day so you really get to feel like a tourist – until somebody talks to you in Italian of course!
Another great running city is Rome and you get a really good workout with all the steps. Rome is fascinating because round just about every corner you come upon some archeological dig in progress and if you are early enough in the morning you won’t have to contend with Rome’s infamous traffic. The morning rush hour is between 8 am and 10 am. Isn’t that civilized? A bit different when you compare Deerfoot. Still Rome during the rush hour has earned a reputation for sure. In fact driving in Italy as a whole – maybe something to do with that Latin temperament? In fact Italy is known as “God’s racetrack”. So if you decide to go for a jog in Rome go early – very early! And for goodness sake – stay out of the way of taxis. Time is money people – “sbrigati!!”
I have fond memories of running in Swaziland (now called Eswatini) as a member of our running club Swazi Slojos. During the week we would run in town (a village really compared with Calgary) but at the weekends we would head out of town and run in the countryside. That was always fun because as we ran through the small tribal villages the local kids would come running out to join us – shouting and hollering! They would yell at us in SiSwati and take great delight in overtaking us at breakneck speed. There we were with our high tech running shoes, water bottles, sun hats and smart watches which took our heart beat and pulse and alongside us ran this rag tag bunch of skinny barefoot kids! They were thrashing us and all you could do was laugh along with them. Good memories of a happy time!
Maybe you should pack your trainers for your next vacation.