Today marks the first time I went for a run on the Asian continent. Asia is number five of six for continents I have run on (and traveled to as well). Leaving the hustle and bustle of the city and getting to the least developed island in Thailand (Koa To) was all I needed to get the energy to bust out an eight-miler. To mark this momentous (relative) occasion, here are some favorite running stories from traveling abroad.
Senegal, West Africa: When I was 16, I had the opportunity to travel to an extremely rural village on the northeastern boarder of Senegal. Though I've yet to see a less developed place, what made running here amazing was the people. The run was done along the Senegal River on sand and in blistering heat. There was no shade nor developments anywhere in sight, but that didn't stop the local youth from running by my side. Groups of 5-20 children would accompany me for a mile or two, only to stop, rest, than try and follow as I finished my out and back. This was the first time I ran in the developing world.
Brisbane, Australia: While visiting some relatives for Christmas, my father decided it would be a good idea for me to do my long run on Christmas day. We were staying in a hotel about 12 miles away from our cousin’s house, and he believed that our hotel was a straight shot away from their place. My two days experience being in Brisbane was not enough to help me find the hotel, and a 12-mile long run quickly turned into 15 as I aimlessly wandered the streets.
Kakoro, Uganda: Kakoro is a rural district in Eastern Uganda. The closest paved street is about a 30-minute drive, and the rolling dirt hills seem to go for hours. While volunteering one summer at a school, I had the opportunity to take advantage of the dirt road labyrinth by doing different out and backs about four times a week. Much like Senegal, rarely would my runs be done alone. Ugandans of all ages would join me for a few miles and keep me company while I navigated my new surroundings.
Littleton, Colorado: Insert any run I was blessed to enjoy with my high school track and cross country teammates.
Salvador, Brazil: Running was a refuge from a very lovely, but also very removed, surf camp in Brazil. Though surfing was phenomenal, our camp was about 30 minutes walk to the nearest town, and a two-hour taxi drive away from a city. To get a break from those whom I was living with for the duration of the camp, as well as to break up the day when my body could no longer handle paddling out, runs down the beach or paved road did wonders.