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Running in Rabat

One of the best parts of running in Morocco is being able to be a part of a historic running culture. Morocco is home to the fastest miler and current World Record holder Hicam El-Guerrouj, as well as a slew of marathoners and milers. Though there are great altitude runs in mountain towns like Chefchouen, one great run is found in the capital city of Rabat.

This coastal out-and-back runs starts on the outskirts of the Ancienne Medina, just outside of the Kasbah. At the entrance of the Kasbah’s gardens, across from the tour bus parking, head west towards the coast. Make sure to stay on the west sidewalk, with the graveyard trail on your left side. As you make your way down to the bay, continue on the side walk past the entrance. The sidewalk will dead end into the informal street side bike and motorcycle market. Here is where the costal dirt path starts.

Start by making your way through the middle of the market. Though you will end up getting a few dirty looks, the path goes directly through the middle, with the actual rows of bikes being on either side. The merchants are used to people running through (Rabat has a lot of joggers), but get a bit annoyed when you are obviously a foreigner.

After navigating the market, the path begins to clear, and you will start o leave the hustle and bustle of the residential Ancienne Medina. A sidewalk does reappear to your left, but the dirt path continues for miles on end. As the buildings on your left side subside, the path starts to follow the cliff line along the Atlantic coast.

As the waves crash, you find yourself about 10-feet above the water, with nothing but blue skies, green grass, and landscape. Fisherman appear every few hundred meters, and many city kids can be found climbing around on the cliffs and finding hidden places to swim. The path continues for at least six miles out (I never did more than 12!).

Part of the run’s beauty is being able to get away from the fumes and cacophony of the city. The streets always seem to be noisy in Rabat, so getting off the main road onto a dirt path helps find solace in an otherwise bustling environment.

To extend your run, you can add the graveyard path across from the Kasbah while returning to the median. For a less peaceful add on, continue past the Kasbah down the main road over the bridge to Sale.