Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Getting Fitter

Running Around China

While I was in Sri Lanka, I sent in an electronic application for the Delhi half marathon at the end of September. Two and a half months. Time to hit the streets.

I do most of my running in the Chanakyapuri district of Delhi. It’s a good area for a run. The traffic’s not as insane as much of Delhi, the roads are broad and clean, and the pavements are… um… only partially cracked and broken. It’s no coincidence that it’s also where the majority of foreign embassies and missions are based. Nations like to dress smart when other nations come to visit.

There are also several good size parks to jump into, most of which have dedicated jogging trails separate from the footpaths going through them. These are a very fine idea, but frustrating in practice. Locals like to walk on them, often dressed as though they’re ready to break into a run, though they never do. They particularly enjoy walking two abreast, so you have to go off the trail to get around them. It tests the patience, shall we say.

Anyway, because all of the embassies are in Chanakyapuri, I also get the tangible pleasure of saying things like: “I ran around China this morning. All the way round it. Took about ten minutes.”

I’m accumulating countries at a rate of knots. It’s an awesome way to travel.

Today though, I overslept. There’s too much to do to start skipping days in my training schedule this early, so I bit the bullet and went straight out after the dayjobbery finished.

My iPhone believed it to be forty degrees at that point. Today was only a short recovery run between longer outings yesterday and tomorrow, but sweet mercy, the minutes crawled.

it’s not a bad thing though. There’s been a lot of complaining online that this year the half marathon has been moved from November (brilliant running weather in Delhi), to the heat of September. Hot though it will be, it won’t be forty degrees. If I can acclimatise to this heat a little, September will feel chilly by comparison. It’s too hot to run any real distance, but I might keep doing these short recovery runs in the evening.

Any tips on running in the heat though, let me know. Last time I ran regularly, I lived in Glasgow, so none of my own experience carries over…

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