On The Run

We Run The World – 3

Running shoes on? Garmin charged? Good! Because we’re off on our THIRD run around the world! We start in Norway’s Oil Capital, Stavanger where Peggy treats us to a run along the soul-fulfilling fjords. We then hop over the North Sea to the small village of Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire, UK for a run in the beautiful countryside with Nicola. It’s then off to Munich, Germany where Tanaka takes us for an amazing run along an Alpine river. Just when you think it can’t get any better, we head to Sydney, Australia where Adriel and Sandra show us their stunning city before treating us to a scrumptious brunch. We then cross the Indian Ocean for an African adventure, first, Maya warmly welcomes us to the beautiful hills of Kigali in Rwanda before a final run with me as your host on the picturesque trails of Tlokweng in Botswana.

I Run Stavanger: Stavanger is the fourth largest city and third-largest metropolitan area in Norway. Popularly known as the Oil capital and located in the south-western part of Norway, the city consists of several tourist attractions including the popular Priesterkolen (Pulpit Rock) where tourists come from all corners of the world to hike.

As a runner who runs to explore and escape the ordinary, I have found Stavanger to be a very beautiful city that offers breathtakingly amazing nature for runners and everyone who loves the outdoor life. The climate of the city is very mild by Nordic standards and there are lots of runners in every corner of the city. A lot of people love running whether it’s on a rainy day or in the middle of the night, and this is what fuels my soul! The community of runners in the city made me fall in love with running even more. One of my favourite places to run is around the Three Swords Monument in the Madla area.

It’s a beautiful fjord that symbolizes the unification of Norway after a naval battle of Hafrsfjord and was unveiled in 1983 by King Harald Fairhair. This fjord always takes me places far beyond my emotions – it’s so peaceful and my world goes silent whenever I run there. I love Stavanger.

I Run Waddesdon: If you like running both road and trail then Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire is the place to be. Unlike many villages we have some great public footpaths on quiet estate roads, which means you can run on tarmac, surrounded by fields and trees, and hardly see any cars. We have a footpath that goes through the 19th century estate grounds, giving you a glimpse of the châteauesque manor house.

And then we have the footpaths that go through the fields and farm tracks of the surrounding countryside. And as this is farmland, the fields are constantly changing so even if you run the same route regularly it can be a different experience each month. Over the years we’ve had fields of oats, sunflowers, golden rapeseed and purple echium.

I have two favourite routes. The 5k archive run which is all road and takes you up Windmill Hill to the building that houses the Rothschild archive. This is a regular run with my Waddesdon Runners group, and is a great night run as on a clear night you can see so many stars. And then the circular route to our neighbouring village, Westcott. Depending on what paths you take this can be anything from 5-12k. You can run along the brow of a hill, giving you views across the countryside, or take the unsealed path which always takes forever unless you are running with friends. It may only be a small village but there is enough variety to keep you running all year round. [If you live in the area, Nicola also offers guided group trail runs. More info here].

I Run Munich: I was born in central London. Not far from the world-famous Houses of Parliament and the iconic Tower Bridge. As well as, packed Tubes, “Black Cabs” and “red buses”, which mostly used to be double-deckers. One thing that London is also famous for is its never-ending centipedes of queuing traffic! I have been in Munich for the past 4 years now. I am addicted. As a sports fan, who often had to sacrifice my love of the outdoors in London, because one could rarely be spontaneous with it unless one loves treadmills and closed spaces with hundreds of equally marooned concrete jungle dwellers; or if one could organize a trip to a park or was fortunate to live in the leafier parts of London – after a lengthy commute!

Munich is a stunning city. Within the city limits, countless forests, a city blessed with a flowing Alpine river running through it and numerous diverted stream brooks garnished with birch, willow and fir trees aplenty. My favourite run starts 100 yards from my front door. I pass the Romanesque St. Maximilian church at the bottom of my road, along the banks of Isar River, which flows from the Alps.

As I run under the tree canopy heading South along its winding trail, I love watching free swimmers leap into its clear waters, even in Winter. As my random playlist takes me through pleasant memoirs and the evocative head candy, I forget that I am in a city – since most of my run is through plush forest interspersed with open greens, which shame my beloved London’s glorified dog-loos which everyone clamours to for taste of intercity nature.

Lakes, Rivers, Mountains… all accessible long before the tube has crossed from one side of London to the other. I have run a London Half Marathon and proudly crossed streets that had been cleared for our sweaty endeavours. But nothing would ever be tradable to the clean air that fills your nostrils as you run through Munich’s winding forests past little biergartens and always within sight of tempting water for that dip at the end of the run.

I Run Sydney: Sydney is home to us. We love the people, the diverse culture and of course, the insane brunch! Hands down, the people make our running experience such a joy as we never fail to pass by friendly locals who are similarly running or perhaps walking or cycling! We can also all agree that migration has enriched our city’s culture. So, it’s always a pleasure being able to run in a new suburb and have a taste of what other countries are like before travelling there in person! And lastly, the brunch… There’s seriously no better way to wrap up a run than with a refreshing bowl of acai!

One of our all-time favourite routes is the Barangaroo Reserve Run Trail. With significant investment and development in Barangaroo over the past decade, this suburb has truly transformed, becoming iconic to Sydney. There’s also a plethora of beautiful sandstone stairs so if someone tells us they’re ready for a BURRRN, we’re taking them straight to this trail! This waterfront reserve is just a walk away from Barangaroo train station so it’s super convenient to travel to. And let’s not forget the nearby cafes after that workout- the Mac & Cheese Croissant at Wild Sage and Sicilian Baked Eggs at Bel & Brio is a must try!

I Run Kigali: The Land of a Thousand Hills Capital, a place like no other, which calls to be explored. Kigali streets are made for running. I love that Kigali is a very safe, non-chaotic and clean city, in short , one would think its streets and roads were made solely for running (I like to think so!) As a morning person, I love the fact that I own my city at 5am. It’s the sound of my feet, the chirping of birds, the street lights, the hills, the beautiful buildings and the sunrise for me! The feeling I get running through Kigali is unexplainable.

I get to discover new places and so far I know the distance from my home to most places in Kigali. Overall, the beauty of the city is so captivating one just can’t help themselves.

I always love the Airport Road to Kacyiru (American Embassy roundabout) passing by Parliament and Kigali’s landmark Convention Centre.

Have a close look at the the CBD buildings, vision city – my eyes linger on the beautiful green golf course and the next door tennis club, this is my half-marathon route. And like every runner deserves a reward after a good run, I usually reward myself with a cold or warm beverage. I often stop at the Kigali Art Cafe in Kimihurura for a cold Fanta to cool off. Funny thing is – this is when I plan my next run and routes to explore!

I Run Tlokweng: From the warm heart of Rwanda, let’s head to the trails of Tlokweng in Botswana. Tlokweng is a fast-growing town adjacent to the capital of Gaborone, on the other side of the Notwane river and 15 kilometres from our border with South Africa. It’s a bustling town with a mix of identities from modern suburbs to more traditional homesteads, cattle-posts and masimo (crop land). I’ve spent several mornings here training for my ultra-trail marathon. We park at the Jamali Stadium, strap on our hydration packs and head into the bush, first passing some walled residential areas with dogs barking. As we run further into the bush, the barking grows more muffled and we soon find ourselves alone on the masimo roads, weaving through the green shrubland and indigenous trees, passing small water holes with white egrets and cows grazing nearby. The trail isn’t very technical save for a few dry riverbed crossings. It’s another beautiful blissful morning with nothing but your thoughts to keep you company, a few curious goats, an occasional cyclist and a friendly farmer waving in the distance.

When I first read a runner’s story, I get this overwhelming sense of joy – for a moment, I’m transported to their part of the world, I’m running beside them, taking in all the unique sights and listening to new sounds. And as I reach the final sentence, I’m filled with a deep sense of gratitude that these runners took the time to write and share a little part of them with me and the world. THANK YOU for supporting this initiative – this would not be possible without your generosity and kindness, your effort and enthusiasm. I hope you enjoyed another run around the world and if you’ve missed previous posts, please check them out here and here!

Have you run in any of these places before? Where do you run? Would you like to feature on We Run The World? Let me know! I’d love to see where you run and I know others would too!

Links to the runners’ Instagram pages in the introduction.

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 Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.

25 thoughts on “We Run The World – 3

  1. Ah, the third part of the series! Thank you for this, Shathiso.
    I love the way Tanaka describes Munich and compares it to London. Although London has a lot of green spaces, Munich does seem much runner-friendlier!
    And one of these days I really need to get to Rwanda. I have seen a documentary about a Swiss family moving there and the pictures of Kigali are just amazing. Such a wonderful place!

    Btw, with SA moving down to level 1, it seems that the Addo race is really going to happen! Have you decided yet? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Catrina! So long as there are runners who would like to share their towns, I will keep going! So if you know someone who would be keen to share their town, send them my way! I was lucky to visit Kigali twice for work in 2009. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a runner then (or even a walker!) so I never explored the streets on the run! Would have loved to have done that! Hopefully one day 🙂

      Re: Addo, we had to make the decision before the 20th Feb and looking at our current situation, the travel rules on our side and having to keep kids with my dad while we self-isolated on our return, we decided to defer to 2022. Never, ever expected that we would still be in this situation at this time of year. But I see the vaccine program has started in SA and our President has said our program should start at the end of March, so I’m hopeful that change will come soon. But was heartbroken about Addo but in the end knew it was the best decision for us. I did a final training run on Sunday – a 15K time trial to end on a high note. And now I’ll work on gaining some of my speed back.

      So happy that you guys will be able to continue as planned and you will bring home that coveted medal!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, yes, of course – I forgot that you would have to self-isolate on your return. That does make things very awkward indeed.
        So sorry that your training cycle had to end like this! But it’s not for nothing, I’m sure you built some great endurance. Now you can look forward to 2022!! Who knows, maybe we will do it again and meet you then!
        All the best and I will be on the lookout for running reporters! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Catriona, thanks for the kudos. My tongue-in-cheek juxtaposition of London and Munich is definitely in relation to running and the idea of spontaneous access to doorstep nature. Running is also more pleasurable when one doesn’t have to contend with running traffic in the park too, or lots of people with the same idea at the same scheduled time which makes it feel that much more of a chore… London is a great city and offers a different value-add to a munich. If one is fortunate to live around Richmond Park, Old Deer Park – or in leafy Barnes, and more Western Parts of of London – spontaneity is easy… but one almost always has to contend with the commute sadly if one is working in Mayfair, West End or the City.

      Like yourself and Shathiso, I will try and pick off a few more rustic runs next time I am Africa bound… the scary thing about running in Harare is the guard dogs which may or may not be secured behind the gate 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are a great writer, Tanaka! So witty!
        Why don’t you have a blog?!
        Between London, Munich and Harare that would be super interesting to read! I’m sure it would be a hit. 😄👍🏻

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  2. Oh, more of the world to see (and run through)! Such a fun and interesting series of blog posts! This one really has my heart yearning for a trip to Norway. My family (especially on my mother’s side) has a strong Norwegian line of ancestry, and I’d love to see the country someday. Thanks for sharing all of your worldly friends with us. I think I remember reading Nicola’s blog in the past (?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’d absolutely love Norway – a very beautiful country. And the fact that you have Norwegian heritage would make it even more special for you. Yes, that’s the Nicola you know! You have a good memory! Nicola used to sometimes link up with us – it was through the link-ups that I realised she was a coach and she has coached me a few times over the years!

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  3. These are my favorite posts. I hope you keep them up.

    I love to travel but do not for many reasons – mostly time and $$.

    This way I live vicariously through these runners. Ii especially love the picture running through lavender (my favorite color).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are so many beautiful places in this world — thanks for curating this for us, Shathiso. I’m also intrigued that many places I would have assumed to be not so safe to run in, apparently really are.

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  5. Thanks for taking the time give us a kaleidoscope through which to peer and appreciate how African Diasporans, adventurers and proud amateur runners, adapt and localise their adopted habitats and homes. Its important during these times that are so immersed in turning homes into offices as well as places where families have sieged for the past 12months, to allow us all a window into how people-like-us share this common and cheap / free way to de-compress and pick up endorphins from our surroundings…. Its an addictive blog! Props to Peggy, we did that very picture a few months ago, including the hike up Preikestolen and then Trolltunga up in Hardanger!! Thanks for including me.

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  6. OMG this makes me want to travel again! So badly! Like now!

    I wonder if all the runners with all these gorgeous locations are just like “Meh” because they’re used to it. I know people always love the idea that I can run at the beach, but it’s just a regular thing for me (maybe a small treat, but not always), so I don’t always appreciate it as much.

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  7. Wow, what beautiful pictures! Makes me eager to book a trip once the pandemic is over! Running in beautiful new places is so exciting!

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  8. WOW. This post left me extremely envious!!! I haven’t been to any of these places except Munich- and that was a long time ago. I did run there though. I love this idea for a series- i’ll have to go back and check the older posts!

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  9. I thoroughly enjoy this series! I have long wanted to go to Norway, but if I could run in one of these places, it would be Munich. I visited there when I studied abroad in Germany but did not run – a missed opportunity!

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  10. I loved this! You should leave a directory somewhere on the blog so if anyone visits one of these places they can find a running friend! All these places look smashing.

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