As July has ended and the month of August is now in full swing we are coming to the end of Ramadan here in Morocco. Ramadan takes place once a year and during this month Muslims fast during daylight hours (no eating or drinking from sun-up to sun-down). This takes great discipline on their part especially in cities like Marrakech where the temperature has been around 110 degrees Fahrenheit and often water feels like the only relief from the heat.
What this also means is that is the normal group of runners I have become accustomed to seeing on my morning runs have all moved their runs to running just before sunset so they can finish their runs off by returning to their houses and breaking their fasting with a glass of water, some dates, and maybe some freshly made fruit juice.
Although foreigners are not required or even expected to fast by the people here, it is always a good idea for us to be respectful to those who are fasting. I am almost never without a water bottle nearby, in my bag or in my car, but during Ramadan I leave it at home out of respect for my friends. So, what does this mean for runners like me who are not fasting?
The only change I have made in my running habits this past month is that I have chosen not to run with water on any of my daytime runs. This is for the same reason I mentioned above, respect. I normally run with a Nathan hand-held bottle but I've just been leaving it at home.
Also, my diet has gone out the window. My family has been invited over to several families' homes for their traditional breaking of the fast meal, the Iftar. This is basically a feast with soup, several kinds of breads, cakes, and other sweats. This is an awesome meal but one that truly tests my self control (which is often weak when it comes to Moroccan cuisine).
So, if you happen to be visiting Morocco next year during Ramadan do not worry, run as usual. Just remember to be respectful and enjoy running in Morocco. If you have any experiences of running in Morocco or any where else in the North Africa/Middle East area tell me about it in a comment below.