I love running when I’m on holiday, it’s a great way to get to know somewhere new. In the last couple of years, I’ve run in all sorts of places – this year I’ve run all over England, as well as on Scottish islands and along the Bosphorus in Istanbul. So I definitely intended to run in India!
I didn’t want to take two pairs of shoes so bought a pair of cheap running shoes that I could wear every day on the holiday (£12.99 from Primark). They were very similar to Matt’s trainers, so we spent the holiday with matchy-matchy shoes, like the big losers we are.
I planned to run in Lodi Gardens in Delhi, after seeing people jogging there. When I jumped out of bed, raring to go, I saw that Matt was a broken man, having been struck down the night before with an awful upset stomach, and I couldn’t really leave him. Instead I fetched him some water and tried to convince him to take immodium/go to the pharmacy (I failed).
A few days later, I finally made it for a run in Jaipur. I’d looked on Strava and saw that people ran in Central Park, on a running path around the perimeter of the park. I enticed Matt out to the park by telling him we could go to a teahouse nearby afterwards. There were a few other people running in the park including a woman in a sari. The path went past the polo stables, where a gang of peacocks were terrorising the horses. I ran a lap and a half to make 5k and then headed back to Matt – then discovered we couldn’t have tea as the teahouse had closed early for Diwali.
When we got back to the hotel I realised I’d had my shorts on back-to-front.
I wanted to go back to Central Park the next day but the air was so bad after Diwali and I decided against it.
Our next stop was Udaipur and again I had looked at Strava. There was a lake to the north that people ran around, so one morning I headed out there. I walked to the lake as the road was quite busy and I wanted to be totally aware of my surroundings! Once there, I set off, initially on a main road but soon turning left onto the road around the lake.
There were a few people out walking along a promenade but it was relatively quiet, especially given the number of tourists in Udaipur at the time (it was a state holiday in the neighbouring state of Gujurat). I got friendly nods from people as I passed.
I ran in the road, rather than on the pavement, which was made of uneven bricks, so it was with great excitement that I saw a bike lane, the first I’d seen in India. I was marvelling at the cycling infrastructure when I nearly got run over by a scooter heading the opposite way. Later the bike lane disappeared, but when it reappeared a man gave me a cheery wave and a “good morning!” as he cycled past.
There were some interesting sculptures by the lake.
Back at the main road to Udaipur I decided to walk again as the traffic was heavy and typically erratic. I wished I’d brought some money for a drink, as it felt like a long way back to town, where I had to meet Matt at a cafe to get the hotel key off him before I could FINALLY head back and have a shower.
On our return to Delhi, plans for running were thwarted by toxic smog. Our hotel gym was closed for refurbishment, and although they said they could take me to a nearby gym, it seemed like a lot of hassle (the hotel had already done a great job of letting us down on almost every front).