My running journey started more than 20 years ago, when I travelled for the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. I met a group of fellow pilgrims, from South Africa who happened to be from a running club.
Over days of group breakfasts, dinners and a challenging ‘walking hajj’, I was convinced to try out running as a hobby/ sport when I returned home. I wasn’t much into running as such and this appeared to be an interesting challenge.
With the beautiful Durban beachfront as a running track, and the awesome weather together with a group of very supportive runners, I was hooked and my running journey began.
A few easy jogs, group runs and the next thing I knew I found myself signing up for races all over Durban and the surrounding areas, and then someone mentions the ‘ultimate human race’ – the Comrades Marathon.. .a race between two cities (Pietermaritzburg to Durban) covering a distance of approximately 90 km. (depending on your pace, about 11 hours of running time.)
Crazy as it seems, within two years of starting my running journey, I signed up for this race. So in 1999 and 2000, two ultra marathons and what better way to bring in the new millennium? And thus began my running addiction and ‘challenge’ mindset.
What followed was a journey of running numerous races, half and full marathons between Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and in between, something I really enjoyed, the opportunity to see various parts of my beautiful country and experience the ‘running high’ in different locations.
With a move to the Middle East in 2002, the challenging extreme weather and limited options for races etc., my running journey slowed down a bit. However, after a ‘few years’ of rest and recovery, I managed to find a group of fellow runners in Jeddah. Running unofficially in; somewhat out of the way locations, I was back into running mode again.
The weekly runs in extreme temperatures, and the opportunity to enjoy some mindful time outdoors, brought on an allure to which I remain fixated to date.
More on my running journey and challenges to follow, stay tuned.
Consultant from Jeddah
Club: Jeddah Running Community