8th March

 Posted by on 12/03/2012
Mar 122012

Fantastic 10k running this morning. Not too hot, ca 20 degrees, cloudy. Was suddenly joined for my last 5k by one of the local guys, who was just sitting around on the road side in Chilenje. He did not speak much of English but I could find out that he was 27 years old and had no present job. He was a good runner though. After coming to my halt in Woodlands he just took off in full speed. More of that.

Running in Lusaka

 Posted by on 12/03/2012
Mar 122012

When we decided to take this big step to spend some years in Zambia, my biggest fear was not that I would be suspending a decent lawyer’s career, but that I might not be able to run as much as I like to. Yes, I am a runner and I consider running/jogging a very important part of my life. I run anywhere, preferably in a city. Having simplicity as the guiding star, I like to start from where I live and then run anywhere and everywhere to get a good feel of the surroundings.

We lived in Addis Ababa some 10 years ago. Addis should of course – given it is the capital of a nation of first class runners – provide excellent running opportunities. But it doesn’t, at least not in the sense of one just putting on one’s jogging shoes and running off in pleasant surroundings. African cities are generally not planned for leisure life and Addis is remarkable in the sense that there are people everywhere, and by that I mean everywhere even if you take to the streets at 6.00 a.m. In addition, the good-hearted Ethiopians are very keen to support anyone running on the streets by cheerful shouting. Most runners would probably agree that such exclamations might be somewhat disturbing in the long run, except when there is a race. Well, with these wonderful people everywhere it goes without saying that it could be a good but also intense experience to be running in Addis Ababa.

So, with my real African experiences limited to those months in Addis, my hopes for peaceful leisure running were not set high when we decided to move from Stockholm to Lusaka.

But after a few months of running in Lusaka, here is my verdict. The streets of Lusaka do provide for some great running. The strip in the middle of Independence Avenue is a great starting path, in the shade of the trees, even early in the morning with all the traffic. The main avenues of the city normally have at least a trail on either side (sidewalk runners not welcome…).

And it is quite easy to find no-traffic side streets lined with beautiful jacarandas and just let it roll. The relaxed Zambians out on the streets are good companions, and – yes, a nod or a “good morning” will be mutually appreciated.

Lusaka is perfect for urban running. Or maybe we should say semi urban, because runners should probably avoid the crowded city centre…

© 2012 Gustaf Engstrand Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha