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Running in Stonetown
It is no secret that I love running. I am at my most miserable when struck by injury and denied regular exercise. Wine and food are no substitute for the head space and buzz I get from a run in fresh air, but sadly that’s how I indulge if I cannot get my running fix.
Running on holiday is the absolute bomb for me combining both my love of travel and my love of running. So, today I am going to share our experience of running in Stonetown, Zanzibar. This may seem like a bizarre topic to cover on a travel blog but bear with me…
I heard recently there is a new term for people who run while travelling. Danielle at the Thoughtcard had me chuckling with her ‘sightjogging’ comment which was part inspiration for this post. A run around Stonetown may be a hot, sweaty and chaotic experience, but it truly is a great way to get a glimpse of local life away from the tourist hotspots.
Stonetown by foot
Thankfully, the main roads largely circumnavigate the old town of Stonetown so selecting a route is not difficult even though we are not yet familiar with the town. We choose to roughly follow the circuit and follow our nose. This is my usual approach to running overseas but be warned, this does need a reasonable sense of direction.
I am however, all for getting lost when running, providing that does not get me into hot water in dangerous territory. Simply exercise common sense and if something seems a little remote, or you are sensing negative vibes, it may be sensible to backtrack. Thankfully, I have never had to do this, but I am constantly alert when running overseas and do not run with music.
Stonetown running circuit
This run is a sightjogging dream. Sadly, my Garmin did not pick up a signal for the first part of our run so it looks to you as though we just abruptly stopped, but if you want to recreate it yourself, here you go!
BUY Garmin 220 Forerunner
Our running experience in Stonetown
Locals seem rather bemused by two white farangs, racing through the dusty streets at the crack of dawn. We are greeted by endless calls of ‘Jambo’ and ‘How are you, my friend’ floating on the breeze. The air is hot and humid, and I struggle to speak, resorting simply to a exuberant thumbs up signs. I sincerely hope this is not some rude gesture causing offense in Zanzibar!
We pass through tiny, dirty streets of ramshackle stalls selling household goods and brightly coloured clothing. I have the route mapped in my mind, and although Jason tries to suggest I am going in the wrong direction, I know different. We clatter through a fish market selling foul smelling produce, nimbly sidestepping vendors carrying baskets precariously on their heads. The roads do not quite resemble the wide thoroughfares depicted on the map, but we head in what we think is the right direction, careering around narrow pot-holed alleys before rejoining the main road.
Ancient trucks belch fumes, cyclists almost run into us and motorbikes jostle for position with our weary legs. We hear shouts of ‘yay, exercise’ as we jump over puddles, nimbly avoid reversing buses and oblivious locals intent on achieving their shopping goals.
We take a short cut through the grounds of the Zanzibar government house. Although I don’t see any signs prohibiting this, I half expect to hear bullets whizzing towards at us, our punishment for trespassing on this hallowed ground. Thankfully we make it through without incident. Other than crazy traffic and locals with no sense of spatial awareness, the biggest threat is from the dark grey rainclouds overhead.
There’s a faint hint of drizzle in the air, which provides some welcome relief from the intensity of the heat. Before long, we somehow make it back to our hotel, the Doubletree Stonetown (click on the link to read our review). Just in time too, as raindrops as big as pebbles are unleashed no sooner have we staggered back into reception.
How do you keep fit when travelling?
What do you do for exercise when travelling? I would love to hear from you if you have had similiar experiences.