Run away!

If you ask me, there’s something magical about going for runs when traveling

Looking at it objectively, it can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. Sometimes you hit the sweet spot, and you happen to be running at the right place at the right time with the right light and in the right frame of thought. 

At other times, well… heavy traffic on the menu, no other runners in sight –  you wonder what on earth you are doing there, or what kind of a sadist uploaded the gpx track you are following.

Even then, you are enjoying the freedom of doing something silly so far away from home.

A quirky site off Paseo de Montejo, Mérida
Running in Belfast can be this, too!

Let me share this with you. When traveling, running is a great complement to walking.

For starters,  you just get to take in more sights in less time. I remember a 13km run in Copenhagen, courtesy of the mapmyrun app, that allowed me to hit most of the canals and yes, you guessed it, the Little Mermaid. The day after we were taken on a boat tour and, fun as it was, I couldn’t help thinking “ yep – been there, done that!” all along.

But there’s more. A great perk about running is that  you get the chance of blending in with the locals. That’s right: no goofy nap-sacks or hip-belts, no profusion of selfies, no stopping to check an oversized foldable map. You’re just another local, even if for an hour

That’s me – a lecturer at Queen’s College, Belfast!

Over the years, I’ve been lucky to explore towns like Stockholm, Buenos Aires or Lisbon. Connected many-a-neighborhood in London and Montreal. Raced in Berlin and, of course, Madrid. (No running in Asians towns, though. Too hot, crowded and polluted for that).

Come to think of it, running is one of the few consistent things about me for the last thirty years, together with listening to punk rock music and rooting for Real Madrid. So it goes.

Now let me share with you four travel running destinations I’ve enjoyed in 2022: 

In Paris (April) I ran on the different sides of Montmartre, from the cobbled streets on the West side, to the staircases and more atmospheric neighborhood of the East.

A very hilly run
Surprises along the way

In Belfast (May), I truly felt like a local squeezing a run between work and pints. River Lagan is a true B-side gem. I’ve written more about my Belfast trip here. 


During our Yucatan peninsula trip (August) we explored beautiful Campeche first thing in the morning, running alongside its colonial walls, and then hitting the boardwalk. It felt good to run after so many days. 

File:Malecon campechano.JPG

A day later, it was bustling Mérida, which boasts what must be one of the slickest avenues in the Americas, Paseo de Montejo. A wonderful stretch of urban life, harking back to the Champs Elysees, where you can’t help but wonder, what would it be like breakfast at one of these cafés every Sunday morning?

And that’s one of the greatest things about travel: being able to enjoy ordinary moments of so many ordinary lives across the world.

Because, for us travelers, sticking to one’s ordinary life doesn’t feel quite enough. 

Or, as Thoreau put it in Walden,

At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s