MY PERSONAL RUNNING PAGE
BY PAUL D. MALEY
Running in Clear Lake City, Texas? Check out the Clear Lake Marathon Training Trail
Running in Alexandria,Virginia? Check out the Mount Vernon Trail miles 11-13 page.
The following are some photos from race venues and locations where I have run.
December 18, 2019 CHENNAI, INDIA TRAINING RUN
Air pollution was a problem in Chennai during my run around the ITC Chola hotel as well as dodging cars and motorcycles within their complex. As a result I developed an upper respiratory infection making it impossible to run during the remainder of the 12 day trip to India. Lesson learned: run inside a hotel when the air is not clean. In fact, Delhi India experienced hazardous air quality during this same period.
November 10, 2019 BRAZIL TRAINING RUN
On the way to the island of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil, I stopped at the coastal city of Recife. There I had planned to run along the street outside the Ibis Recife Aeroporto Hotel but found it was too dangerous due to high traffic, bad sidewalks or lack of them. Therefore I had to run mostly in the underground hotel parking garage in order to stay safe. This was a small area about 60 – 80 ft wide with parked cars and support columns.
Running along a small flat section of bricked walkway down into the underground parking garage of the Ibis hotel.
September 3, 2019 HAWAII TRAINING RUN
Before an expedition to the top of Mauna Loa later that night I had a chance to run at the Marriott Waikoloa hotel which is situated among lava fields. Unlike runs on other Hawaiian islands it was cool with relatively low humidity just after sunrise and the trails there were conducive to a good run.
Running along a trail adjacent to lava flows
July 2019 HUNGARY AND AUSTRIA TRAINING RUNS
This time we were on a 7 day cruise starting at Budapest, Hungary and ending in Linz, Austria with various running stops along the way. In all of these cases, it was possible to get off the ship and run as needed. The smaller the town, the better the run although we had to keep a careful eye on rainstorms. Luckily all the runs were without weather incidents.
Budapest: July 22, 2019
Running across the Chain Bridge over the Danube River.
Visegrad, Hungary July 24, 2019
Running along the Danube at Visegrad
Vienna, Austria July 25, 2019
Running in the city center
Krems, Austria July 27, 2019
Again, running along the Danube in the town of Krems
Engelhartzsell, Austria July 29, 2019
Running into town from the Danube River road.
May 13, 2019, SINGAPORE TRAINING RUN
Unless you are used to the humidity topping more than 85% at 7:15am running here is a real challenge, requiring plenty of water and shade. This was a run through the Gardens By the Bay with iconic “supertrees” in the background. Most of the paths open at 5am making it possible to run before the overall environment becomes really oppressive.
A nice run on the boardwalk on North Island. A hugely popular place for local residents to run.
I spent one night in Tokyo Japan but the weather outside was quite cold. The hotel had 13 floors and the length of each floor was extremely long. I was on the 12th floor which was not fully occupied. The floor was covered with thick carpet and at 2am I completed my run inside the hotel avoiding the freezing temperatures!
August 11, 2018 JESSHEIM, NORWAY TRAINING RUN
Near Quality Airport Hotel
Very close to the Oslo airport there was a nice trail but also good asphalt surfaces on which to run. Temperature was about 60 deg F and very comfortable.
June 25, 28, 30, 2018 FRENCH POLYNESIA TRAINING RUNS
Rotoava, Fakarava run Bora Bora run
I have run in French Polynesia several different times over the years. and most of the roads have no shoulders, are two lane, and are dangerous for any kind of runs. The road above in Moorea had a recently installed bike lane but this was the exception. Even so, traffic moves at high speed and any runner must assume that he/she can be run over by any type of vehicle. Therefore I have attempted to use any side roads, open fields or even parking lots to complete a run where the risk of runner/vehicle collision is high.
March 10, 2018 BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA TRAINING RUN
Running along Parque Mujeres Argentinas near the Hotel Alvear is not the safest experience as the tiled sidewalks have unexpected uplifts. The sidewalk is along the banks of the Laguna de los Coipos which is infested with water hyacinth but the path is wide and in early morning on a weekday is relatively uncrowded. I did fall here and was lightly injured as a result of the uplifts.
February 14, 2018 SANTIAGO, CHILE TRAINING RUN
December 3, 2017 SINGAPORE TRAINING RUN
Singapore is generally a hot and humid place to run and having been there numerous times in the past I knew better than to run after the Sun came up. So it is not surprising that I chose to run at 430am when the temperature was 79 deg F when it was possible to run without encountering masses of people in the central business district, although I did spot one rat scurrying in front of a nearby 7-11 store.
September 18, 2017 MADRID, SPAIN TRAINING RUN
Running next to the Madrid Auditorium Circle Marriott Hotel with temperatures in the low 50’s made for a challenging activity on a Monday morning with lots of traffic on the side streets in the industrial area where heavy trucks are parked.
May 31, 2017 CLANWILLIAM, SOUTH AFRICA TRAINING RUN
A cool morning for a run down the main street and through this small town. Temperature in the 50s which is perfect even though the Sun was up and people were starting to go to work. There were no safety concerns here and even though the sidewalks farther down the road are not wide, it was perfectly easy to make this training run.
April 19, 2017 HARGEISA, SOMALILAND TRAINING RUN
One of the more restricted running environment due to security concerns, I was able to run within the grounds of our hotel in Hargeisa close to the airport. Even though it was near the end of the day, it was quite hot and the ground uneven in many places.
October 25, 2016 TAUPA, NIUE TRAINING RUN
I spent 4 days on this remote island about 3 hours flying time northeast of New Zealand. Running was complicated by having to dodge cars on a one lane road while partially running uphill, then downhill. In addition I had to be careful to avoid local dogs and crabs crossing the road.
June 25, 2016 ORANJESTAD, ARUBA TRAINING RUN
Hot and steamy as usual in Aruba as the high and low temperatures are generally the same all year. I ran mainly around the Renaissance Suites hotel although the main road in town along the water had good sidewalks for relatively safe running.
March 14, 2016 KOROR, PALAU TRAINING RUN
This was along a busy road where the temperature was about 100 deg F, feeling like 104F. There are no sidewalks in the area of the Palau Royal Resort so it was all street running past the pier and then back over bridges.
March 11, 2016 COLONIA, YAP TRAINING RUN
In Colonia again, there are no sidewalks so street running was the norm with slight uphills. Again, the temperatures were quite high at the time but the run was scenic along harbor roadways.
March 5, 2016 RABAUL, NEW BRITAIN TRAINING RUN
This run was in the port of Rabaul with the smoking Tavurvur volcano in the background just before sunrise. That volcano is located 3rd from the right in the above image. We were on a cruise from Honiara to Palau during this period.
November 30, 2015 BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA TRAINING RUN
This run was along suburban streets near the Best Western 85 Airport Motel. Hardly any vehicles on the roadways and nicely designed sidewalks that stretched for miles including bikeways on both sides of the asphalt. In the early morning just after the rain it was easy running.
November 26, 2015 TARAWA, KIRIBATI TRAINING RUN
Another high humidity, high temperature run along the port in south Tarawa, dodging motorbikes and cars. Even with SPF30 sunscreen I got sunburned.
November 24, 2015 FUNAFUTI, TUVALU TRAINING RUN
This was a truly difficult 4-mile run along the airport runway. No air traffic, just a few people crossing the road and some stray dogs. However, the humidity and heat was really oppressive.
October 1, 2015 GANKGTOK, SIKKIM TRAINING RUN
A predawn training run at 5500 ft above sea level on hill terrain. This is now a hotel but was built in 1932 by the then King of Siam. A stadium is located just down the road which has a good running track.
September 24, 2015 THIMPHU, BHUTAN TRAINING RUN
Trying to run at 7200 feet above sea level up and down hills is very challenging. With no shoulders or sidewalks you take your life in your hands. The only safe way is to run in the direction of oncoming traffic and be prepared to jump out of the way somehow.
September 22, 2015 DELHI, INDIA TRAINING RUN
A late afternoon run by the Delhi airport on a day with little air pollution and light wind. This is the exception to Beijing and to Delhi proper but the weather conditions allowed it. No sidewalks, but there were pot holes, lots of local dogs but wide enough streets to get out of the way of any oncoming vehicles.
May 24, 2015 JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA TRAINING RUN
This was an early morning run at our hotel on a Sunday. That was the only time it was safe to run across the street due to the high volume of traffic. Since you see few runners and none in shorts, I had to wear long pants to try to fit into the culture as best I could. The running venue was along the newly renovated 1 mile long section of the corniche. Temperature was around 82 deg F but very low humidity. Nevertheless it was a challenge to run any significant distance.
April 12, 2015 PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA 10K RUN (TRIP #2)
I completed the 10k in 54 minutes but the time keeping was a bit spotty as each runner was timed using a stopwatch by the officials. Most of the people running did not have accurate times recorded but I did note my own time. The temperature was nearly 50 deg F when the race started, and there were about 700 people running the half, full marathon and 10k. There were many local spectators along the 10k route which full marathoners had to repeat 4 times. They appeared generally happy and supportive and clapped as runners went by.
All the races finished in the stadium where crowds of enthusiastic watchers were prepared to cheer the runners on with the kind of enthusiasm seen at football matches. Nearly every seat in the 50,000 capacity venue was filled.
Inside the marathon stadium
April 9, 2015 BEIJING, CHINA TRAINING RUN
Running in Beijing next to the old city wall was easier than I thought this time. The city in April is still relatively polluted but a brisk wind kept much of it from being sensed on the ground and I was able to run around the area along the city wall near the Marriott Hotel.
January 17, 2015 FAIRBANKS, ALASKA TRAINING RUN
Running in Fairbanks during January is no picnic. The air temperature was +11 F and running on the sidewalks and streets was a bit dangerous due to many uneven and slick surfaces. However, there was no wind and overall the trails along the Chena River in front of the Springhill Suites Hotel were well packed. There was only 5.5 hours of daylight so it was necessary to take advantage of the long period of twilight when I could keep my eye on the surface in front of me and any motorized vehicles.
December 19, 2014 NORFOLK ISLAND TRAINING RUN
This island has a number of moderately hilly roads. with relatively few flat roadways extending more than a few tenths of a mile. We had to contend with daily heavy downpours and running during the brief times the rain stopped.
DECEMBER 15, 2014 LORD HOWE ISLAND TRAINING RUN
This idyllic island is a 1h 40 minute flight from Sydney, Australia and was first settled around 1788. Being 10 km long and between 0.3 and 2 km wide it has some flat stretches of road but otherwise is hilly. I conducted a 13 km run early in the morning mainly near the airport. It is one of a few places where I felt I had the whole island to myself before 7am. All roads are two lane with no shoulders but because there are relatively few cars, it is generally a safe place to run.
October 2, 2014 SORONG, IRYAN JAYA TRAINING RUN
Road running is totally unsafe in Sorong due to lack of shoulders and sidewalks as well as having to dodge motor bikes and cars. Thus running inside the grounds of the Luxio Hotel was the safest way to complete a training run.
September 30, 2014 MANADO, SULAWESI TRAINING RUN
Running along the jetty at the Tasik Ria resort about 2 hours from Manado airport and about a one hour drive from the Lokon volcano.
September 27, 2014 DILI, TIMOR LESTE TRAINING RUN
Before sunrise I ran the sea road about 2 blocks from Katua’s Hotel. Hot and sticky.
September 24, 2014 TANJUNG LESUNG, JAVA, INDONESIA TRAINING RUN
After a 4 hour drive we got to this ocean site late in the day. I was able to run 4 miles on the road leading into the hotel and the hotel grounds over uneven ground. Keeping a distance from local dogs was the only problem.
August 16, 2014 MILAS, TURKEY TRAINING RUN
It was brutally hot during this morning run along the shore road near the Yalicapkini Boutique Hotel. With virtually no shade, I had to dodge cars and cats.
JULY 19, 2014 CULLINAN, SOUTH AFRICA TRAINING RUN
This run featured a 27 hectare hotel called Abloom Lodge, situated about 1h 20 minute drive from the Johannesburg airport. It was winter and running was made more difficult by the 1400m elevation and the soft sand dirt roads.
DECEMBER 15, 2013, FLORENCE, ITALY TRAINING RUN
During a 6 night trip to Florence we found a fantastic running venue called Cascine Park. Constructed in 1563 this park is about 2 miles in length with a number of parallel running trails. The trails have a variety of separated surfaces including asphalt, concrete, packed sand, and crushed rock, perfect for walking, bike riding and jogging. The park is adjacent to the Arno River and most of the running trails have plenty of shade. A train line also runs through the park.
MAY 25, 2014 KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT TRAINING RUN
Along the beach front in Kuwait City
Running in Kuwait can be a challenge. During May temperatures ranged from 85 to 109 deg F. I ran along the beach front just before sunrise in order to minimize the difficulty in running. Nobody else seemed to be running yet this was worth the effort in spite of dodging wreckless drivers. That same day a body of an Egyptian was found along the seafront near where we ran.
JANUARY 4, 2014 EASTER ISLAND TRAINING RUN
Tongariki contains the remains of the most intact Moai statues on Easter Island. The terrain makes it easy to run, especially when the temperatures cooperate as it did this day.
DECEMBER 30, 2013 ROBINSON CRUSOE ISLAND TRAINING RUN
Our ship, the Marina, traveled 416 miles from Valparaiso, Chile to reach this 10 mile wide island that was first discovered in 1574. In 1704, the sailor Alexander Selkirk was marooned as a castaway on the island, and he lived in solitude for four years and four months. Selkirk had been gravely concerned about the seaworthiness of his ship, the Cinque Ports, and declared his wish to be left on the island during a mid-voyage restocking stop. His captain, Thomas Stradling, a colleague on the voyage of privateer and explorer William Dampier was tired of his dissent and obliged. All Selkirk had left with him was a musket, gunpowder, carpenter’s tools, a knife, a Bible, and some clothing. The sailor’s experience most likely inspired Daniel Defoe to write the classic novel Robinson Crusoe in 1719.
The area where we landed is mostly hilly and running quite challenging.
NOVEMBER 9, 2013 BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS TRAINING RUN
This run was the last on a 13 day transatlantic cruise on the Sea Dream I. In Bridgetown we were only permitted to run in the port since the ship had no disembarked passengers. Because I had chartered the ship I was given first priority to disembark and was able to complete the 5 mile run.
NOVEMBER 1, 2013 FOGO, CAPE VERDE ISLANDS TRAINING RUN
Another in port run on the volcanic island of Fogo. Temperature was around 80 degrees in the Sun and I attempted to use the shade of a large perimeter wall as much as possible.
OCTOBER 30, 2013, NOUADHIBOU, MAURITANIA TRAINING RUN
In order to leave the port we would have had to show passports. Even though I got mine stamped, it was more of a risk to deal with authorities to run outside the venue. We had to dodge large trucks carrying cargo but in spite of that the docks were a good running stage.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2013: BERLIN, GERMANY TRAINING RUN
This photo was taken just outside the original olympic stadium of the Berlin Olympics of 1936. During those games, a new Olympic ritual was inaguarated, a lone runner arrived bearing a torch carried by relay from the site of the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece. This year I ran the 6km breakfast run with 10,000 other runners the day before the Berlin Marathon. Believe it or not, I actually came in ahead of all the other runners who symbolically jogged at a slow pace to the stadium from the Charlottenburg Castle.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2013: SOCHI, RUSSIA TRAINING RUN
I was in Sochi, Russia on the way to South Ossetia through Abkhazia. However, the travel agency in Moscow who organized this collapsed in the two weeks prior to my travel. Instead I had to contend with running along the boardwalk in Sochi. We had a great small hotel on the Black Sea and since I had a limited command of the Russian language I was able to reorganize part of the trip in real time. Running here was nice in the early morning with temperatures in the mid 60’s and no rain.
AUGUST 29, 2013: HONG KONG TRAINING RUN
Running in Hong Kong is tough since low temperatures in August rarely dip below 80. In this case the run was done near the Hong Kong Exhibition Center after sunrise when the temperature was 84 deg F and it was sweltering. I was at the Harbourview Hotel which was just across the water on the Hong Kong Island side. Because the traffic was a real problem, running was best accomplished by mostly running inside buildings. Corridors are designed to cover roadways leading from one building to the next such that one can run from building to building and never be exposed to rain; this includes running from the outside into airconditioned areas and back.
AUGUST 6, 2013: MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA TRAINING RUN
Spent a week in Montreal where there was good running action along the waterfront near the Le Westin Hotel. Even though it was early August the temperature in late afternoon was in the low 70s.
MAY 8, 2013: NADI, FIJI TRAINING RUN
Running at the airport seemed the best thing with some sidewalks and less traveled side roads. Recommend early morning or late afternoon runs when the wind is blowing and there are clouds blocking the Sun.
MAY 10, 2013: TARAWA, KIRIBATI TRAINING RUN
No sidewalks anywhere, rapidly moving cars with lots of debris and holes in the roadway. Hot and humid. Be ware of packs of dogs. People very friendly.
MAY 15. 2-13: HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS TRAINING RUN
Tough running in the streets having to dodge potholes, traffic and pedestrians in a very humid and hot environment. Sideroads and parking lots of hotels seemed to be the safest places in town.
APRIL 20, 2013: LONDON, UK TRAINING RUN
The run along Westminster Road
A rare clear morning in London, the day before the London Marathon. I ran 60 minutes around the Thames River with great temperatures around 45 deg. Perfect running weather!
APRIL 1, 2013: SINGAPORE AIRPORT TRAINING RUN
Most flights from the USA to Singapore arrive between 1130pm and 2am. Running is possible without interference after 230am or so in the long terminal corridors.
MARCH 30, 2013: PULAU NIKOI, RIAU ARCHIPELAGO, SUMATRA TRAINING RUN
It takes a 45 minute ferry ride, followed by a 1 hour taxi trip, then a 20 minute speed boat excursion before you reach the remote Nikoi Island resort. Located on 15 hectares it is an ideal vacation spot that is seldom visited by Americans. Conducting a training run can be a sweltering exprience in the high humidity conditions where temperatures range from 77 to 95 deg F in March, and you have to brave spiders and 3 to 4 foot long monitor lizards that might jump out at you any minute.
JANUARY 26, 2013: DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TRAINING RUN
On a recent 3 day trip to the UAE I ran near the airport though it was very difficult due to the lack of safe trails or other runner-friendly places. I had intended to run to the emirate of Sharjah but it was all busy highway and very dangerous. The local running club has a very isolated spot south of the main business area and it was too hard to reach, so I opted to run along the airport highway.
DECEMBER 4, 2012: CHARLESTOWN, ST.KITTS & NEVIS TRAINING RUN
On Nevis the challenge was getting through town to a place where we could safely run. Streets were very narow with few sidewalks. Luckily we found a way to get to the cricket stadium where we were rained on yet still were able to complete our training run.
DECEMBER 7, 2012: JOST VAN DYKE, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS TRAINING RUN
The coastal road at Jost Van Dyke, BVI is an up and down winding road leading from a beach where the only way to land is via a Zodiac boat. The road is two lane and paved and offers no shade. Temperatures there typically ranged between 75 and 85 deg F with the only real danger was being run over by a fast moving local taxi.
DECEMBER 5, 2012: PLYMOUTH, MONTSERRAT TRAINING RUN
This is the island of Montserrat, site of a volcanic eruption in 1995 when the Soufriere Hills volcano destroyed the town of Plymouth. However, on this day I was able to run in one of the abandoned residential areas of the town with the still steaming volcano in the background.
DECEMBER 2, 2012: ST. JOHNS, ANTIGUA TRAINING RUN
We stayed at Rex Resorts Hawksbill Bay where we could run next to the shoreline at this wonderful hotel. No worries here!
NOVEMBER 21, 2012: AYERS ROCK, AUSTRALIA TRAINING RUN
At Uluru (Ayers Rock) I was able to run and also walk the entire 12km around the rock itself. Trails were flat and supportive but full of tourists.
NOVEMBER 15, 2012: CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA TRAINING RUN
I was training for the 2012 Eclipse 5K run that we organized for a tour to Cairns to see the total solar eclipse on November 14. The run was along the esplanade in front of the Hotel Mercure where temperatures were in the low 70’s with sporadic rain.
OCTOBER 3, 2012: INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA MONUMENTAL HALF MARATHON
Finishing the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon
This was my first half marathon since being injured in Antarctica in March. I came in 8 out of 30 in my age group, pace of 9m 14s/mile, and finishing time of 2h 01m 11s, 2015 out of 4985 total runners. Not great, but I did finish without injury. Temperature was 35 deg F and rain held off until after I finished.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2012: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – TRAINING RUN
This was the second trip to Addis I have made in the past 3 years. At 7800 feet above sea level, the running temperatures were ideal (in the 50’s) but scattered rain storms made luck a critical element in keeping dry. In the photo I am returning to the Hotel Addis Regency, locatd in a very unattractive part of the city about 30 minutes from Bole Airport.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2012: LILONGWE, MALAWI – TRAINING RUN
I completed a 7 mile run on the dairy farm/hotel known as Kumbali Lodge, just adjacent to the presidential State House. There are miles of hard packed dirt roads where I encountered local people on the way to work. Trails were easy with sweeping vistas, colorful birds and good temperatures.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012: MALABO, EQUATORIAL GUINEA – TRAINING RUN
Near the Hotel Ibis I was able to run along sidewalks without any interference. Modern buildings constructed by the Chinese are sprouting up all over the island and there did not appear to be any sign of any other runners. Here also I had dodge passing constant rain storms.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2012: ANSE BOILEAU, SEYCHELLES – TRAINING RUN
Near the city of Victoria running along the shore road was difficult due to no safe shoulders or sidewalks and oncoming buses. However, I was able to make it safely through a 4 mile training run even though I got a good drenching from a passing storm.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2012: PARIS, FRANCE – TRAINING RUN
I was able to complete a training run while on a 14 hour layover at Charles de Gaulle Airport near the Comfort Hotel. Running was easy along the few bricked sidewalks adjacent to the airport but the rest of the run was along dirt roads leading into farm fields since the hotel was located on the edge of a small village.
I stayed on Port Island, located between the Kobe Airport and the city of Kobe. Here the sidewalks were 3 meters wide with smooth transitions between street and sidewalk. No curbs or other pot holes/obstructions made this a nearly ideal running environment except for the heat and humidity which rivals Houston. Kobe knows how to design sidewalks for runners as are many other venues in Japan!
MAY 31, 2012: TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN – TRAINING RUN
This is the morning I set up our Transit of Venus 5k fun run in central Tashkent( below). Although only 3 participated due to the early hour and long touring days, the air was dry, skies clear and pollution absent.
We ran along city streets that had very light traffic early in the morning (545 am) and continued afterwards touring Uzbekistan. When running here beware of pot holes, irregular surfaces and steps!
MAY 28, 2012: BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN – TRAINING RUN
I was able to run in front of the old Frunze airport building adjacent to our Ak Keme hotel location in Bishkek on a clear, dry morning. Altitude was 800m (2600 ft) with a bit of an uphill.
MAY 20, 2012: NARITA JAPAN – TRAINING RUN
Running can be difficult in Japan especially around Tokyo’s Narita airport where there are lots of hills. I found the best running area appeared to be around local cemeteries where nobody appeared to be around, especially in the early morning. Many of the road ways have no shoulders, but the most difficult problem I found was the air quality.
MARCH 9, 2012: HALF MARATHON#14 – ANTARCTICA (7TH CONTINENT)
Coming across the finish line at 1145am
King George Island was the site of the 13th Antarctic marathon and half marathon. I ran the half in abysmal conditions. I train on flat ground but the course was very hilly. It began at the Russian base of Bellingshausen, moved north to the Uruguayan base at Artigas, then back to the Russian base, south to the Chilean base and then the southern turnaround point was the Great Wall Chinese base. The weather was frightful with ambient air temperature around 35 degrees F, and periods of rain, sleet, hail, and horizontally blowing snow. Mud was pervasive with even small lakes that we had to jump over. A constant wind was blowing from the southwest to northeast with gusts up to 45 miles per hour. This resulted in an actual temperature of around 19F. The last two miles of the course I could barely talk since the lower half of my face went numb.
On one of the downhills
As I moved north the wind actually blew me uphill and on the downhill (when it was also to my back) the pressure on my feet as they came down on the steep surface was such that I experienced a first time back spasm that was so bad that I could not walk upright after the race. The tour operations medical officer applied pressure to my lower lumbar area which enabled me to eventually be pulled up and then with help made it to the Zodiac which took me back to our ship, the Russian science vessel “Akademik Ioffe”.
Of the 25 official half marathon runners, I came in 3rd out of the male contingent in spite of this. My time was 2h 44m which is about 45m later than normal. I was amazed to have finished at all. Nevertheless, this was an incredible experience which will be hard to beat! The entire trip, crossing the Drake Passage from Argentina and back (normally storm ravaged) was basically calm. Our daily landings in various parts of the Antarctic Palmer peninsula were mostly clear with flat seas. Unbelievable!! Of all the trips I have taken to 252 countries so far, this ranks up there as either number 1 or 2.
My 3rd place plaque
DECEMBER 17, 2011: SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO TRAINING RUN
NOVEMBER 27, 2011: GREAT ETHIOPIAN 10K RACE (ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA)
Ethiopia is an interesting part of east Africa with some of the most helpful and friendliest people around. This run had 36,000 participants and even though it was just 10k the altitude of 8,000 feet (2500m) made it tough for those of us who train and run at sea level. The day was warm with no rain and the so-called early start of 3 minutes before the main crowd was not what was advertised. At the starting gun, there was no mat for our chip to activate and after just a few minutes we rounded a curve and into the main group of runners which had already started! Progress was slow because of the sheer number of runners, some holding hands making it hard to pass. Water was available along the course for purchase from street vendors! Only one official race water stop at the 8k mark where one person tossed out small plastic bags of water. It took me 5 tries to catch one with a huge number of bandit runners vying for the same water. The roads were generally wide enough to accommodate the large herd of participants which looked like a migration. There was a sea of red shirts as far as you could tell–without a beginning and without apparent end.
At the finish line there was no mat to cross and different trucks handing out finisher medals with no regard to finish time; each medal color was supposed to relate to where you finished (first, second, third group of 12,000). Then runners were herded into the national stadium area where if you tried to leave you were seriously threatened by a line of police with batons who literally where beating back runners who tried to leave the stadium since the only way out was through the constant stream of new runners finishing. Along the streets there were small but enthusiastic groups of onlookers, but it was the local Ethiopian runners themselves who were the most interesting. They ran in teams or groups chanting and singing the entire route. Others walked. I managed to pass a lot of runners and with my rather modest finish time of 1h05m24s clock time, I had no idea where I placed due to the fact that only the elite runners were apparently guided across mats. While the logistics for independent foreigners were somewhat lacking, even though Lynn and I were separated by the vast crowd, neither of us had any trouble meeting back up through the help of locals. The title of this race was the Great Ethiopian Race and the reason for it was the friendliness of local Ethiopians! I cannot underscore how enjoyable this made everything. The above criticims would have had more weight in any other setting. One of the taxi drivers who drove us only during the preceding day even participated in the race and came up to us afterward to say hello.
OCTOBER 30, 2011: HALF MARATHON#13 (MARIEHAMN, AALAND ISLANDS)
Mariehamn, after the race
I came in 149 out of 228 half marathoners (5 out of 9 in my age group) mainly due to the very fast abilities of Scandanavian runners compared to my relatively slow speed–time of 2:01:42. The venue was fast and flat with only one minor hill with a shallow slope. Temperature was in the 40s with a 15mph wind and overcast so overall, conditions were perfect. Mariehamn is a nice, small island town situated between Sweden and Finland and once we arrived here, we had no problems at all. There were entrants from 11 nations and I was the only American in the half marathon section.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011: TBILISI, GEORGIA TRAINING RUN
Running in downtown Tbilisi is not preferred because of the hills, traffic, uneven surfaces, construction, etc. Besides there are also the numerous crazy drivers that do not respect pedestrians. However, the Mtkavi River flows through the city and that is where I did my weekend long run of 70 minutes. The initial start of the run took me around Freedom Square and the underground passage where I drew a lot of strange looks. Nobody in the town wears shorts of any kind even in summer apparently.
MAY 12, 2011: CREATION OF THE LYNN PALMER MARATHON TRAIL, HOUSTON, TEXAS
The trail had been already in existence for a few years but had the generic name of “bike trail”. Finally 21 months later and after one political administration change, the Harris County Parks Department put in two signs so that the three major running clubs in the Clear Lake Bay Area could recognize ordinary (not famous) runners. The idea is to rotate an honoree every year from one club to the next. The first honoree is Lynn Palmer. The green and white signs are two sided and are clearly visible to runners going in both directions.
The full 26.2 mile Clear Lake Marathon Training Trail can be seen at
MAY 1, 2011: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA 10K
Temperature was 55 degrees. (Left) My time was 54m 17s which was slowed by the clog of runners for the first 2 or 3 minutes. It was literally impossible to get out of the crowd due to the volume of people, enthusiasm and narrow running corridor. It had quit raining about 5 hours earlier and the venue next to the river park was covered in mud. Thanks to the Seoul Flyers running club we were able to participate in this fun event for a good cause. (Right) Lynn and I standing in line after the race.
Believe it or not I spotted runners smoking after the race.
APRIL 1, 2011: ERBIL, IRAQ TRAINING RUN
Street running in Erbil
Running on the streets of Erbil, Iraq proved to be relatively easy as long as it was done before sunrise on a holiday when throngs of cars are not clogging the city streets. The city itself is not easy to run in due to traffic and lack of planned running areas.
MARCH 6, 2011: HALF MARATHON#11 (LITTLE ROCK, AR)
At this race I came in 5 out of 53 in my age group and 504 out of 2921 participants. Finish time was 1h 55m 33s.
FEBRUARY 24, 2011: KAUR, THE GAMBIA TRAINING RUN
OCTOBER 31, 2010: ATHENS, GREECE 10K
NOVEMBER 4, 2010: CHISINAU, MOLDOVA TRAINING RUN
JANUARY 2009: COCOS ISLANDS TRAINING RUN
Cocos training run.
While in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, about 2750km west of Perth, Australia, I was able to train there in the hot sun and wonderful beach, being very careful not to step on the hundreds of red crabs that tend to cross the road in the early morning and evening when the temperature is best.
SEPTEMBER 2008: HALF MARATHON #7 – AUSTRALIA (5TH CONTINENT)
Perfect running conditions with temperatures in the low 60’s F. I completed the half marathon in 1h 58m 21s.
There were 25,000 runners at the Sydney Blackmore’s Running Festival this year and the field made a slow start up the hill toward the Sydney Harbour Bridge. However, the roads were cleared and easy for running. The field separated out fairly well and there was little risk of runner collisions or really bad places along the route. Refreshments were at regular intervals and although the expo was disappointing the overall organization of the race was executed very well. The only problem I had (non race related) was that my one checked bag on Qantas took 5 days to arrive.
MAY 2008: HALF MARATHON #6 – CALIFORIA
Crossing the finish near Weott, CA May 5, 2008.
Weather was chilly and cloudy. The course for the Avenue of the Giants half marathon was mostly flat. I completed the half marathon in 1 hour 57 minutes 56 seconds.
APRIL 2008: SANTIAGO, CHILE HALF MARATHON #5 – SOUTH AMERICA (4TH CONTINENT)
Santiago, Chile April 6, 2008.
Note the word META on the background sign indicates “Finish”. I completed the half marathon in 2 hours 02 minutes 00 seconds.
This half marathon began with temperatures around 59 degrees but rapidly escalated to the high 70’s Fahrenheit but the end. Though the course was quite flat, there were cobblestones and pot holes to circumvent. Traffic was kept at bay and the pre-race expo was well organized. Runners received a great tech shirt. However, there were some noticeable areas that caused issues for runners. Water stops were located each 5km. For half marathoners there was plenty of Gatorade, but no water. For marathoners especially those running slower, Gatorade disappeared from most locations and runners had to buy water from local stores where they could find them. Homeowners watering their yards were cooperative in giving some runners a drink from garden hoses. At one water station there was a fist fight over the little Gatorade there was. At the finish line, workers were dismantled guard rails even before the race ended. Once you finished there was no problem getting Gatorade but water was nonexistent. Bananas and oranges were expected but for late comers (marathoners) they were long gone. For half marathoners there was no sign of fruit at all even 2 hours after the start. After the race ended there was no information available for individual running times.
MARCH 2008 VARADERO, CUBA TRAINING RUN
NOVEMBER 2007 TRAINING RUNS IN ITALY, MALTA, AND CROATIA
Under guard all along the running route. I was not terribly worried until I was on my way back from a morning run and saw the guys with the land mine detectors starting to sweep the running path in the direction I had just finished running!
SEPTEMBER 2007 KABUL, AFGHANISTAN TRAINING RUN
Uncertain times in a dangerous location. Note the barbed wire in the foreground. A military bus was blown up the same morning 2km from my running location at the Intercontinental Hotel. There were 30 fatalities.
SEPTEMBER 2007 ST. PIERRE AND MIQUELON TRAINING RUN
Running at Tien-an-men Square, Beijing, China, August 12, 2007.
The air hangs heavy in the summertime and one has to be careful to avoid breathing on heavily smoggy day. This was taken just after the daily sunrise flag raising ceremony which take place every morning in the Square. Thousands of Chinese onlookers were starting to leave as we began our run along the street and in the Square itself.
MAY 2007: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND HALF MARATHON #4 – EUROPE (3RD CONTINENT)
MARCH 2007: HALF MARATHON #3 – AFRICA (2ND CONTINENT)
My 3rd half marathon was the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon at age 59 in Moshi, Tanzania on March 4, 2007. This was the hardest one so far due to the first 6 miles increasing from 5000ft to 6000ft altitude and then the reverse going back. In addition the temperature was in the low 80s Fahreheit. I came in 258 out of 507 male runners overall in a time of 2h 10m. The elite Kenyans and Tanzanian runners passed me and completed the half in 50% or less of my run time as usual. Mt. Kilimanjaro at 19,340 ft was visible constantly during the first part of the run.
MARCH 2007: DAR ES SALAAM, ZANZIBAR TRAINING RUN
Following the Kilimanjaro half marathon, we traveled to Zanzibar where I recuperated on the beach and ran on the grounds of the Ocean Paradise Hotel at Pwani Mchangani.
DECEMBER 2006 SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 10K
Lynn and I both won medals in our age classes at the Tough Hombre 10k race.
OCTOBER 2006: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND HALF MARATHON #2 – NORTH AMERICA
On campus at National Central University near Taipei, it was just as hot and more humid here than in Houston.
SEPTEMBER 2006 FRENCH GUIANA TRAINING RUNS
Near the Mercure Atlantis Hotel in Kourou, French Guiana the day before the annular solar eclipse.
Benghazi, Libya on March 30, 2006.
This is the 2nd international “Eclipse 5k run/walk” co-coordinated by Lynn and me and took place following the total solar eclipse on March 29. We mapped the course using GPS along the Lake of July 24. Hotel Uzo is in the background. It was also our second trip to Libya.
When you are on a tiny island, you have to find whatever is available as running surface. In this case, I had to run on wood planks which connected overwater hotel rooms with the island.
Temperature is 80 degrees most of the time. The photo was taken in a rare moment when I was not dodging the ever present motorcycles and potholes.
I wanted to run somewhere special around my birthday. Well, Abu Dhabi is definitely not the usual place. It was over 100 degrees in the evening hours, but it was a dry heat. Besides, running away from a bakery is always preferred.
MAY 2005: VANCOURVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA HALF MARATHON #1 – NORTH AMERICA (1ST CONTINENT)
Vancouver BC, Canada May 1, 2005 and placed 1866 out of 6590. I am the one with number 6135. My time was 1 hour 57 minutes. The previous day it poured torrentially and it seemed likely to continue through race day; however, the rain did move out and we were very lucky.
APRIL 2005 RIO HATO, PANAMA TRAINING RUN
The first “Solar Eclipse Run for the Sun (5k)” that my wife Lynn and I co-organized. Lynn has tremendous talent and is a much better runner than me. See: LYNN’S RUNNING PAGE
FEBRUARY 2005 BENGHAZI, LIBYA 1ST TRAINING RUN
It always pays to follow directional arrows especially when you cannot read the signs.
DECEMBER 2004 PAPEETE, TAHITI, TRAINING RUN
Running in the direction of a hospital is always a good thing, just in case.
MAY 2004 BANGKOK, THAILAND TRAINING RUN
Lumpini Park is a great place to run provided you get there when hundreds of others are not running. On weekends it is tremendously crowded but still offers a good track.
MAY 2004 ISLE OF MAN TRAINING RUN
Man, it was so cold here you needed all the warmth you could get. Due to narrowness of the sidewalks and high traffic in the streets, it was necessary to stretch in whatever spot you could find.
DECEMBER 2003 NORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND TRAINING RUN
This was a cold weather forest run and required heavy clothes. Also, a heavy sulphur smell was in the air making it hard to breathe.
DECEMBER 2003 HOBART, TASMANIA TRAINING RUN
The most important lesson I have learned is to run safely so as not to become injured or to cause injury to others. So it was surprising as a novice runner to have found some irritating and unsafe aspects of participating in large races. In particular, many runners have a certain lack of awareness. When in a herd I find groups of runners blocking the way preventing others from passing safely. Walkers are notorious for this. Why do they walk abreast forcing runners to go around them? In addition, some runners bump into others either because of lack of coordination, being inconsiderate or perhaps due to being tired. Still others move in and out of lanes causing a threat of collision to runners moving at a different pace. On streets as a spectator I have had runners holding American flags nearly stab me with them as they strode down the sidelines (NY Marathon November 2005). Other runners will straddle the curb and even run up on the curb.
Stretching is very important and should be done at the proper time no matter what.
Stretching along Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir.
Runners are sometimes distracted by the oddest things. Its only when you look closely that you can see the weirdness…
This dog shown eating pizza completed a half marathon (Laporte Bridge Run 12/5/10).
Another challenge is running in races where there are huge masses of runners. The herd moves slowly at first and valuable seconds are wasted at the start line if you are not in front. Of course, being in front means slowing down the faster runners, so there is merit in putting the faster runners in the lead and progressively slower ones at the back. One advantage is to simply wait til the masses have left the starting line. If using a chip, it almost doesn’t matter when you start since your chip is activated when crosses the mat at both start and finish. Just wait a while for the herd to depart the start line and thin out. Then you can begin. The best way around this is to run in smaller races which is a lot more fun anyway. Just some thoughts from a novice runner.
In Phoenix, Arizona I was at mile 3 waiting for it get cooler. If you wait long enough, you never know what creatures will be watching the race.
A sign you do not wish to see on the race route. This is from the Lincoln (Nebraska) Marathon May 5, 2015. Whoever thought this one up did not realize that runners need positive motivation.