This series of posts is inspired by Judy from Chocolate Runs Judy who recently used the alphabet to share places she has visited or lived in, and very importantly whether she has run there or not. As someone who loves running to explore new places, her two posts struck a chord with me immediately and I thought this would be a brilliant way to capture all the villages, towns and cities I’ve run, walked or hiked in. Not only will it showcase places I’ve run but there are a few letters I haven’t covered and this will motivate me to travel to those places. I haven’t done too badly though as I’m only missing seven letters – H, I, Q, U, X, Y and Z. I say “only” but I suspect it will be quite tough to get some of them – Q and X will be interesting!
The Rules Of The Game
- Letter should be of a city, town, village, mountain range, game reserve; and NOT of a country or province.
- I should have run, walked or hiked in the place.
- I should blog in order of the alphabet. In other words, I desperately need H and I to blog Part 2!
Let’s Run The Alphabet!
A is for Accra, Addo and Atimpoku. Although most of my runs are in Botswana, I haven’t run in a place with the letter A here. But I have run in Accra as well as Atimpoku, both located in Ghana. My run over the Adomi Bridge in Atimpoku is one of my all-time running highlights.
At the end of my trip to Ghana, I also squeezed in a 9km walk in Accra before my flight back home which allowed me to see so much of the city centre. My recent ultra-marathon scored me another A as it was in the Addo Elephant National Park. Running 44km on the mountains in the Eastern Cape was an incredible experience and I’ve recently shared my lessons – here and here.
B is for Big Ada, Bloemfontein and Boatle. Boatle is a small village a short distance from Gaborone and was the starting point of a 30km run. This was the first time I’d run as long as this and it felt amazing. My first trip to Ghana was to a place called Big Ada and although initially nervous to run on my own, I felt so liberated when I did. More recently, I ran in Bloemfontein, a city in South Africa, which started at this bronze statue of President Nelson Mandela.
C is for Canterbury, Cape Town and Clarens. In January 2019, on a family holiday in Clarens, South Africa, I enjoyed a beautiful run in the crisp mountain air with stunning views all round.
Although I was not a runner in 2003, I volunteered at SANCCOB, a sanctuary for coastal birds in Cape Town and had the wonderful opportunity to hike up the world-famous Table Mountain. Also, as a final year student in Canterbury, UK, around a similar period, I had to walk up and down the hill to university every day. So this counts too! But oh how I would have loved to explore this quaint city through a runner’s eyes. Maybe it calls for a visit one day!
D is for the Drakensberg Mountains. In 2019, I did my first stage trail race in the magnificent Northern Drakensberg Mountains. It was a truly unforgettable experience and a very emotional one for me as this was shortly after my mum’s passing and she loved mountains.
E is for eGoli. Did you know the alternative name for Johannesburg, South Africa is the Zulu name, eGoli – place of Gold? This fact comes in very handy for this exercise, as otherwise, I’m not sure where I’d get a town/city with the letter E in these parts! I’ve been lucky to run here a few times when I’ve done the Soweto Race which I’ve blogged about here, here, and here! The Soweto Race is one of my favourites – it is extremely hilly and the searing summer heat doesn’t help matters but the vibe and energy of the “The People’s Race” is its biggest drawing card and of all the races I have done, nothing quite beats the Spirit of Soweto.
F is for Francistown. Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana, a five hours’ drive from Gaborone. A few months ago on a road trip to Kasane, we stopped over in Francistown to fuel our car and stomachs. While the family sorted that out, I did a run in the piercing midday sun.
G is for Gabane, Gaborone and Gqeberha. Although Botswana is a popular tourist destination, its capital city is often overlooked as a place of interest. Gaborone doesn’t have the vibrant feel of some of Africa’s cities nor is it particularly pretty, but many fall in love with its quiet calm and charm, cleanliness and urban conveniences. The more I’ve run the streets of Gaborone, the more I’ve grown to love its somewhat disjointed layout, interesting nooks, hidden art and flat terrain. I’m also filled with a sense of pride that Gaborone, only a dusty little train stop in the 1960s has developed so remarkably, and as I write this, is hosting the Forbes Under 30 Summit – the first time this has been held in Africa. To check out my favourite running routes, go here, here, here and here! I’ve also run every street in two major neighbourhoods in the city – Marapoathutlwa and Peolwane. On that note, I’d say the blog is aptly named!
But there are other G’s as well! Just before the pandemic, I did a 20K trail race in the neighbouring village of Gabane, and just recently, I walked on the beach and promenade of Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Although I spent a year in Guildford, Surrey, UK, for my post-grad studies there was sadly not much walking and zero running. Again, I will need to redeem myself with a visit back. There are no places starting with H or I close to me so it will be quite the adventure getting the next post up but challenges always excite me so let’s see how we go! Random H Place loading…
Have you run or walked the Alphabet? Do you live in an H or an I? Have you run in a Q or an X?