Running in Iran

An added bonus of travel is running in new and random places, far more motivating than treading the same routes at home. Iran was more running friendly than I expected, with surprisingly complete pavements and few wild dogs (a hazard I found running in Georgia, Argentina, and SE Asia).

First thing in the morning was the best time, much cooler with little traffic and fewer people around. Runners are not a common sight in Iran, but I seemed to attract surprisingly little attention. You must wear trousers and a top with covered shoulders though, which resulted in some overheating compared with my usual short and singlet combo.

There aren’t a lot of green spaces in many of the cities so expect to pound the pavements, and to avoid getting lost I generally stuck with out and back routes. It was a great way to explore though, coming across out of the way mosques, loads of street art, and panoramic views from various hills.

Shiraz was my first experience, heading from the old town north toward the Quran Gate and back. I came across a lovely mosque down a side street, crossed a dry river bed, loved this shapely street feature, found an empty packet of illicit and illegal alcohol, and had some wonderful views of the city as the sun rose.

Eghlid is a small stopover town in which I went for two contrasting runs. First late afternoon, which proved challenging in the heat, along people, car, and building supply filled pavements. A run the following morning was much easier and took me up a reasonable hill for 360 views of the town and surrounding mountains.

Caravanserai Zein-o-din provided the opportunity to run in a desert, definitely one for the morning. About 4km away, surprisingly uphill as I found to my relief on the way back, was the remains of a fifty year old textiles factory, looking ancient in the desert setting.

Esfahan was the most running friendly place I visited, even the locals were doing it! I stayed close to the historic Se-o-Se Pol, Joui, and Khaju Bridges, which made for a good morning circuit along tree lined paths by the river. Just had to be careful by the bridges where they had washed them, wet cobbles and trainers are a bad combination!

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