There are two aspects of running I love the most. The first is exploring Gaborone and appreciating its unique mix of architecture, somewhat disjointed layout, interesting nooks and hidden artwork. The second is the sense of community I have with runners around the world, bonding over our love for crazy training, fun races, new PBs or great gear! It is these two things that gave birth to this new blog series, We Run The World! Are you ready? Let’s start with Cari in fabulous New York City. Times Square anyone? Then let’s head over to Europe where Myfanwy shows us the big-hearted city of Cardiff and Catrina spoils us with some spectacular views of Zurich. Then it’s over to Africa where we refuel with coconut water before Jamila takes us for a run through Dar es Salaam, the pulsating city of Tanzania. It’s then off to South Africa to explore the vibrant city of Johannesburg with Ticha and the diverse beauty of East London with Robyn. Finally, grab a gel as we head Down Under for a trail run with Jodie in Manjimup!
I Run New York City: I’ve run any number of runs and races, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget hearing Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams as I ran through Times Square during the 2019 NYC Half. Truly memorable and iconic. I’m lucky to call NYC home and have the opportunity to run in Central Park and along the rivers almost daily, but this is the one and only time I was lucky enough to run through Times Square. New York City has something for every runner- trails in Inwood Hill Park, sunrise and sunsets by the river and many groups to run with.
I Run Cardiff (Caerdydd): The capital of Wales….The small city with the big heart. It sits nestled between the sea and the mountains on the South Wales coast. A runner’s heaven. Whatever your preferred terrain there’s a route for you. Trail? Head north to the mountains. Coast? There’s plenty with the Wales Coastal Path traversing the southern curve of the city. Tarmac? Take your pick from the roads and many paved paths which weave through the multitude of parks and follow the main river Taff through the city.
A favourite route amongst many Cardiff runners is the route of the famous Cardiff Half Marathon. Starting and ending in the heart of the city next to the impressive Cardiff Castle and the majestic Civic Centre, it travels down to the coast and crosses the barrage to Cardiff Bay, before returning to the city via the popular Roath Park lake. Roath Park Lake is probably the busiest running area in Cardiff and happens to be the regular @sherunscardiff social run route too! Cardiff may be the wettest city in the UK but it’s one of the best for running!
I Run Zurich: The best part about running in Zurich is that everything is very close. I live in the middle of the city, but it only takes me 10 minutes of running to get to the lake or the forest. The city is surrounded by hills and has two rivers flowing through it, so I have a lot of choices. If I’m training for a marathon and have some long runs to do, I usually take a train to a village about 20 miles away. Then I run home along the river. I love it – running next to flowing water is so incredibly peaceful and soothing. My favourite run is the one up the “Üetliberg”.
The top of this hill is about 11k from my home and it takes me more than an hour to run to the top (2’850ft). The reward for the climb is a beautiful view of Zurich! [Catrina also shared a more detailed running tour of Zurich on her blog. Be sure to take a look here].
I Run Dar es Salaam: Running in the city of Dar es Salaam offers plenty of scenic routes giving you a variety to pick from. From running along the beautiful coastline of coco beach stopping for a refreshing coconut water mid-run to refuel and rejuvenate, or along the busy highways watching the hustle and bustle of city life, through the University of Dar es Salaam campus (being my personal favourite) that gives you hills galore, Goba Hills for more hill thrills, Kisarawe Hills or for the trail adventure-seeking runners – to Pugu trails or Pande trails.
Plenty of options for every runner. The city is safe enough to run, however amidst the ongoing pandemic, unemployment being high, it can be a tad risky running out alone. It is safer to run in groups of 2s or 3s. Most newly constructed roads now have paved pedestrian paths that have made it easier to plan running routes. With rise in healthier lifestyle campaigns and awareness towards fitness, running is a popular sport amongst the population. That being said, there are plenty of races and marathons to run, each for a unique cause or fundraisers, making running another form of socialising and de-stressing.
If you are ever in Dar, you can spot me at my favourite running terrain – the University of Dar es Salaam; dishing those hills or around the Peninsula along coco beach enjoying the sea breeze.
I Run Johannesburg: Johannesburg is also known as Egoli or the City of Gold, as people initially moved here to mine the precious metal. To some, this city doesn’t have the warm ocean of Durban or the majestic mountain of Cape Town but it is definitely more than a concrete jungle of skyscrapers and highways. I think one of the things that makes Joburg special is that it’s a very green city – there are lots of trees and parks and natural beauty to break up the modern buildings. I tend to run mostly in my neighbourhood (because it’s convenient) and I constantly marvel at all the trees and flowers I see when I’m out. Spring in Johannesburg is a particularly special time because the jacarandas are in full bloom.
Soweto was initially established as a residential area to provide cheap black labour to work in the nearby gold mines under the former apartheid regime. Soweto was home to a number of leading South African politicians, musicians and sportsmen, and was also the place where some important civic demonstrations and rebellion against apartheid took place. Today, the area serves a reminder of South Africa’s rich cultural heritage and history. My favourite route is the Soweto Marathon, which is run in November each year (obvious exception in 2020). I enjoy running this route because it takes you past historic landmarks, as well as through neighbourhoods teeming with scores of onlookers and supporters. The run starts and ends at the iconic Soccer City stadium, which hosted the 2010 World Cup football final. One thing you can’t escape, however, is the hills – Joburg is full of hills! If you ever have a chance to come to South Africa, try and time it for November and come enjoy the Soweto Marathon.
I Run East London: I live In East London, a city in the Eastern Cape Province, one of the most economically challenged areas, but, shhh…, our secret, it’s South Africa’s best kept secret ever – it’s incredibly beautiful, the climate is divine, and the people are great. Situated on the east coast of South Africa, between 2 of the old independent homelands, the Transkei and the Ciskei, which were incorporated into one stunning province after our democratic transition, it is ideally situated for travel on the Wild Coast of South Africa, which is my absolute best place ever, to both visit and run! I was born in Mthatha which was the capital of the then Transkei, I was the 5th generation born in the Transkei; and my family moved to East London when I was 2 and a half, and I grew up here, until I studied in Johannesburg and Cape Town. I returned home in 2005, when I started working as an OBGYN in private practice here. I met my husband here and became a Mrs in 2008, and my daughter Thandi, born in 2011, has become the 6th generation born in the Eastern Cape, so you can see that the Eastern Cape really courses through my veins!
I love running in East London, because nothing is very far apart, so one run can take you from home, to an urban city setting, back into the suburbs and onto the beach. I love the diversity of the routes we can take. I don’t love how hilly my city is! It’s impossible to run a flat route in this city, but, as many uphills as there are, I always try to match them to good downhills too – my favourites! My favourite runs in the city invariably involve the beach – Nahoon Beach is my favourite beach in town. It’s close to where I grew up, and pretty close to where I currently live. It’s really picturesque and on a hot summer’s day there is nothing better than ending your run at the beach, and then cooling down with a swim in the warm, but refreshing Indian Ocean!
I do a lot of road running, but when I get the chance, to run in the wild is just divine! Trail running gives one a chance to smell the fynbos and take your time. I find it quite restorative when my soul is tired. I am also really blessed because some of the trails are 10 minutes from my home; on weekends, when I am not on call I do try to hit the trails, including those a bit further off!
I Run Manjimup: Trails, trees and terrific women. In the heart of southwest Western Australia, Manjimup has an abundance of all three. It doesn’t matter which direction you travel there are endless options for running adventures. The mix of towering forests and farmland provide an ever changing scenery.
Stunning coastlines and the world-class Bibbulmun track traverse our shire. To top it off we have an amazingly diverse group of women who all enjoy running or walking, and regularly plan social events for all fitness levels. It’s a wonderful way to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have, and sharing time in our beautiful great outdoors makes it all the more special.
This blog would not have been possible without the awesome contributions from these amazing runners! THANK YOU. I’ve loved seeing your cities through your eyes and when the world opens up again, don’t be surprised if I’m at your doorstep in my running shoes. You have shown that running is more than just getting those miles done, shifting a number on a scale or increasing your VO2 max! Running is about seeing, really seeing and appreciating the small things, what we’re often too busy to notice – a historic building, pretty blooms, a bird on a trail, the moody waves of the ocean, the views of your city from above or the hustle and bustle of life.
Links to the runners’ Instagram pages or blogs are in the introduction! And if you’d like to feature on ‘We Run The World’, please don’t be shy – send me a message ASAP, that’s if I don’t get to you first! I’d love to run through your town or city, if only virtually… for now!
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, Running on Happy and Organic Runner Mum! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.