Monday, March 5, 2012

dead 2 red

race route

Maybe the most common sentiment uttered in a travel blog: I've neglected this for a while...but I'm back, I promise! If nothing else, this blog can help me remember how to write in English. Inshallah. Hope y'all enjoy.

This weekend, I ran in a relay race from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea...that's about 250km, which was divided up amongst 10 teammates. Considering my training had been limited to carbo-loading, I did pretty well. No injuries. I shouldn't be allowed to get away with things like this.

My team finished in 23hrs, 27 minutes...just under the 24-hour cutoff time. Second to last place, I think, but we also happened to be one of the few teams who didn't cheat. Not that it wasn't tempting: the late-night wild dogs and early-morning sandstorms definitely had me questioning my sanity. But we plowed forward.

This is how the race worked. We gathered at the Dead Sea at 4pm, with our costumes ("Super Slow Superheroes") and sent our youngest runner off on a 5K. One car measured the distance with its odometer, and our other two cars carried our team to the 5K mark, where runner 1 passed the torch to runner 2. Etc.

super slow superheroes
Things got a little more complicated at night, because we were running along an unlit highway in the middle of the desert. (OK, to be fair, we passed through an occasional village or cluster of tents. Once, I even saw a factory. "Run towards the light!" I told myself.) So starting around 6:30pm, one of our cars was responsible for trailing our runner. The "chasing" car was responsible for providing the runner with light, making sure the runner didn't fall asleep, and chasing off obstacles, like wild dogs and curious (drunk?) shabab (young men).

race strategy
Occasionally, during the daylight hours, people would watch us from the side of the road. Not cheer, watch. Although there are a number of athletic people in Jordan, athleticism is still a pretty foreign concept here. In Amman, when expats run along a road, Jordanians stare quizzically as if to ask "what are you running from?" So in these more rural areas, we were met with stares of utter disbelief. I'm sure our exposed legs and/or tight tights did nothing to assuage their shock.

Race officials estimated around 700 participants. Some opted to bike (I'll do this next time). Many ran. I'd guess that at least 50% of participants were expats, but I'm not sure. I was pretty shocked to discover that there were 700 at least mildly athletic people in the vicinity...but there were! Jordan, I've underestimated you once again...

Anyways, it was a wild, delightful, and totally fatiguing 24 hours. I slept through my hotel breakfast the next morning.

no, I'm not on Fulbright. I just have smart friends.


  1. Haha I loved this - people not cheering, but watching! No one knew what was going on outside of Amman. How did people cheat??

  2. What are the ajnabis running from? Haha. People cheated by getting into their cars and driving, instead of running a relay leg. No honor, no glory.


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