On The Run

Six Annoying Things About Running In Gaborone

I can spend hours talking about my love for running in Gaborone. I love the familiarity of my neighbourhood and surrounding roads as well as the excitement that comes with visiting a new area of town. I love knowing the distances between various landmarks and charting new routes depending on the distance I’m doing or the interesting building I want to take a photo of. I’m always surprised by features or things I’ve passed several times in a car but only seem to appreciate when I’m on the run. But when I started this blog I wanted to share all aspects of running in Gaborone, not just the good but also some of the annoying things I’ve found. Some of course may be quite universal but others may seem strange to runners outside Gaborone!

1/ Too Few Sidewalks. The Western Bypass (K.T. Motsete Road) offers some lovely sidewalks and I’m lucky to live about 200 metres from this main road. The Molepolole Road also has a great pedestrian path from CBD heading towards Metsimotlhabe. However, major construction on the Western Bypass with three circles being transformed into huge intersections, has meant major disruptions to this popular running route. Unfortunately, as I’ve ventured out into other areas of Gaborone, I’ve become acutely aware of the lack of sidewalks or wide road shoulders. Many areas of Central Gaborone, Village, Broadhurst, Old Naledi and Bontleng don’t have great running paths and unless you’re out early you’ll find yourself competing with traffic. Also most neighbourhood roads don’t have shoulders. Although mountain bikers enjoy some fun trails within the green zones of the city, runners don’t share that luxury.

2/ It’s Too Flat! Aside from three man-made flyovers, Gaborone is extremely flat. When we visit our friends in Johannesburg or Pretoria, there seems to be a hill on every corner! So they may be surprised that I’ve noted this as an annoyance! Admittedly, I do really love the flat terrain of Gaborone which allows you to focus on running without that added difficulty an incline brings. But unfortunately this lulls us into a false sense of security and when we leave the confines of our city, our bodies often struggle to adapt to hillier landscapes! This makes racing in Kanye, Soweto and Pretoria very difficult for Gaborone runners and mountain races such as Magaliesburg and Drakensberg humble us completely! Training for a hilly race also becomes difficult as we have to travel out of town, e.g. Mokolodi, to get any proper hill work done.

3/ Roaming Dogs. Too many dogs roam neighbourhoods in Gaborone which is actually against the law. These are often not stray dogs as many have collars and seem well-taken care of. A couple of times I’ve been charged at which is quite a scary experience and other runners have complained of the same. As soon as I start walking, the dogs usually back away but it just spoils the run. Fortunately, you don’t see this on the main roads but having dogs roaming around neighbourhoods takes away the pleasure and freedom of just being able to run closer to home.

4/ Unwanted Cheerleading Squad. I’ve had this discussion many times with my husband and we seem to have very different experiences. When he is out running no one yells at him, “Sweetie”, “Sweetie lavo!” or “Ao baby”. The worst is when you run around 5pm and pass the matshelonyana (open lorry) with construction workers heading home. The declarations of love will leave you gobsmacked! But other guys seem to fancy themselves as running coaches and will shout “Taboga mosadi!”, “Run faster” or”That’s just too slow”. Sometimes they go as far as saying “That’s not even running” but the most irritating one of all, “Eish, but you’re trying”. Seriously, what is this?! Fortunately for me, most comments have been harmless and have certainly not stopped me from running outside. But I know some women would not be amused by this live commentary and I think we deserve the right to run as free and happy as our male counterparts!

What are some frustrating things about running in your town? Are some of yours similar to mine? Do you have an unwanted cheerleading squad too?

I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By MileCoach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerRuns with PugsRunning on Happy and Organic Runner Mum! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.

34 thoughts on “Six Annoying Things About Running In Gaborone

  1. Wow, Shathiso, these are some intimidating challenges!
    Each one in itself is quite scary (or, in the case of the cheerleading squad, at least annoying).

    I wasn’t aware of the running shoe predicament. That means you have to plan every purchase well ahead – and in a pandemic, it becomes impossible.
    Even if someone in SA would send them to you, you would need to use a courier service. Do you still have an iron reserve on running shoes? Is there any indication when the borders will open again?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankfully the cheerleading squad is more annoying than anything, and for me at least, it’s never been vulgar or derogatory. The inconsiderate drivers get me more! As for the shoes, that is by far the worst, worst, worst! A lot of planning goes into it, LOL! The last pair of shoes came from Australia as my brother-in-law lives there and was visiting us for Christmas. And we have friends in SA who would be more than happy to send them to me, but the courier fees just don’t make it worth it. I think borders will remain closed for a while yet so I may need to go the courier option if I get desperate.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post, thank you. We don’t have the pavement issue here in the city and suburbs, but in the countryside it’s a different matter and when I’m on holiday in Cornwall I have to choose where I run very carefully as it’s narrow lanes with hedges either side and only room for one car!

    Dogs we don’t have running loose on the road but the parks can be bad. “Oh, he’s just being friendly”. Hm.

    Men shouting, oh yes. Sexy ones (sorry “sexy” ones) and coaches. Once a bloke said to me and Ruth, as we were walking as part of Jeff Galloway Method, “you should be running not walking” and I’m afraid I said, “You can tell us what to effing do when you’ve run three marathons, MATE”. Ahem. I am not normally that bothered but once someone lent out of a van to shout something horrible at me, then crossed the road at a junction and shouted it again, really with hate in his eyes and I was shaken.

    As for shoes, can people mail them to you or do you have to use a courier service? That’s so tricky. Can you start a running shoe import business????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG Liz! So sorry for the experience you had with the van guy. You can brush things off and roll your eyes at most of what’s said, but when it crosses that line and leaves you shaken, that’s just so upsetting and shouldn’t be happening in this day and age. My husband is always shocked at some of the stories I report back to him – and each time we agree that the realities of running for men and women are just different. I loved your comeback to the “you should be running not walking” guy. I mean seriously?!

      The mail system is not very reliable at all so that’s why the courier service is the “best” option. I SHOULD actually start an import business!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was running to a running club session when the van incident happened and turned up close to tears, as I felt very threatened – the guys at club were surprised and horrified, the women were like yeah, that.

        One of the guys did get “Fuck off, you lime-green wanker” shouted at him once (when wearing a green top) but we tend to find that amusing!

        And totally do it with the trainers. There must be enough runners there!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Let’s see. Yup, my city is not very runner-friendly on the streets. We have some great running/biking paths, but I’m not running there right now for the most part due to the need to social distance.

    We are definitely not flat. Flat is hard to find, in fact, and sometimes I want that! Our running trails are mostly pretty flat . . . but again, not running there. Maybe when it gets colder & there’s less people.

    Thankfully not many roaming dogs here — it’s unusual. When I lived in TX, however, it was almost a daily occurrence — so I feel for you!

    Thankfully I haven’t been heckled while running. Inconsiderate drivers — I think that’s a worldwide problem, no doubt! The closest I come to getting hit, though, is passing people’s driveways. You have to be so careful about that!

    Good luck with your hunt for shoes. That is something that isn’t hard to find here — finding them at a good price is another story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I could send you some of our flats for a couple of those hills, LOL! But truth be told, I rarely complain about the flatness unless a hilly race is coming up!

      Some of those drivers just seem to angry! Almost like they have something AGAINST runners! What did we ever do to them?!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The unwanted cheerleaders are the equivalent of internet trolls – they are very quick with the chirps when they perceive there are no consequences to their actions. Also, they generally tend to speak when they are in groups and not solo. Sorry to hear about that – it must be extremely frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brilliant comparison Ticha. Thankfully for me, they’ve never been vulgar or crude, so its become more of an annoyance (or eye rolling moment). But today women commented on my Facebook (and on the blog) that they’ve been really shaken by some of the very crude/vulgar comments they’ve received. It’s just so unnecessary.

      Like

  5. I would get really annoyed at the inappropriate comments and “cheering” from those idiots, too. Not that it justifies it, but (as you probably know) people who feel the need to say such things are battling their own demons and need to feel empowered. Too bad they can’t find a more healthy way of doing so, right? I love your comment about the hills (or lack there of). I have plenty of hills in my area, one that goes right by my house LOL They’re not always fun, but they are good for training 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Inconsiderate drivers are so darn rude! I’ve heard from friends, both runners and bike riders, that have had scary experiences with drivers. I don’t understand why people feel the need to act so mean and reckless.

    I hate when men scream out things to runners. Sometimes I guess they think they are being encouraging but it can be super uncomfortable and rude.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. And as my husband always says, in all his life running no woman (or man for that matter) has yelled things at him while he is running! Why should men be able to run comment and hassle-free and then we have to hear everything from our running ability to comments on our bodies, etc.

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  7. Hills for days where I live, in fact, we are struggling to find a quiet flat street for speed work! Crazy! I guess I must be getting too old for the sideline cheerleaders anymore, I used to notice them, not so much anymore, they really didn’t bother me anyway, just ignored and moved on. Cyclists that ride on the pavement here make me so mad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Gaborone Marathon calls itself the flattest and fastest marathon in Africa. I read a blog from someone living in South Africa who ran it and wrote a blog afterwards. One of the statements he made was that it was too flat and they [race organisers] should add some more hills. Anyone reading that from Gaborone would have laughed out loud as there just are no hills here!

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  8. This just goes to show that when you are a runner – nothing will stop you from running! My #1 peeve is the places that I can’t go in my town b/c there are no sidewalks so no safe way to get there from my front door. I could use some more hills, but let’s be honest, I could also make more of an effort to run the ones that we have;-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having no sidewalks makes for very difficult running. Luckily if I get out early than I use the road, but it does limit choices sometimes (or at least makes you think twice about heading in that direction!).

      I think I’d probably avoid hills if we did have some! LOL.

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  9. Wow. I had no idea.

    I feel pretty lucky.

    The only issue is that we do not have many sidewalks. I do not like to run in the road so often I drive to run which adds time to my run.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting! I wish we didn’t have as many hills here but I think if it was totally flat I would probably complain about that too. I wouldn’t like seeing lots of loose dogs out while I was running!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting observations. I’ve gotten caught without sidewalks trying to run in new places. It’s so annoying! Yikes on cars scaring you. That happened to me on my bike but never running.

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  12. The dogs and animals would really scare me! Who knew that people travel to find running shoes? Do you buy lots of pairs at once and hoard them? We can forget how easy we have some things here in the US despite our obvious flaws. Thanks for linking and stay safe out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s CRAZY you have to leave the the country for shoes!!! Can you get them shipped in or is that cost-prohibitive? And I think those unwanted cheering sections are everywhere for women. It’s so wrong.

    I live in a huge subdivision, so we have plenty of sidewalks and lights. I could complain about snakes and wildlife (I am terrified about running into a snake, boar or alligator while out on my runs), but it’s not enough to keep me inside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very costly to have them sent in! But with border restrictions I may just end up doing that. Luckily my last pair came with my brother in law who lives in Australia.

      I’m terrified of snakes! I love how even boars or alligators won’t hold you back!!!! 🤣

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  14. It’s a shame you can’t get running shoes easily or at a good price! I assume it’s difficult and expensive to order online too? Or have someone buy them and send them to you?

    We have a lot of the same issues here. I hate aggressive drivers! I have found that since I’ve gotten older I don’t get as much unwanted attention from men. And when I do I laugh to myself and just think if they only knew I was 62!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh man I had no idea! Well, I did know about the shoes situation because you’ve mentioned it before. You know my love for Brooks shoes and I really wished there was a way to send you a few pairs.

    Rude drivers and unwanted attention are some of my pet peeves. So annoying! Now that I am running on the side streets instead of the main streets, I don’t have the problem anymore. However, once Fall/Winter is here then I will go back to running on the main roads.

    Thank you for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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