How can you race guys on mopeds, dodge the occasional sheep or goat, watch a horse eat out of a random trash can, run around the walls of a thousand year old city or through an ancient palm grove? By doing your marathon training in Morocco. With the 2015 Marrakech Marathon about three months away my training has kicked into high gear. Except for the occasional overnight trip to Essaouira, Casablanca, or Rabat, since I live in Marrakech that is where almost all of my training miles are done. Which is actually great for several reasons.
One, the race is almost completely flat with no major hills to climb and since the race is done completely within the city, I am constantly training on the same roads as I'll be running on race day. Which leads me to my next point.
Second, since the marathon, or half for that matter, never leaves the city limits, I am never more than a few minutes from different parts of the course. So, in my training and especially during my long runs I try to run all the different parts of the course.
Third and finally, there is no limit to how much you can discover and see in this city. While I have lived here for a while now just the other day I discovered another part of the city. I had run and driven by it but had never explored it until the other day.
As the days get shorter and my runs get longer I've had to resort to getting up earlier and earlier in the mornings to get my runs in. I love the people and the mystical sounds that Marrakech is known for but as I am now awake and running before most of the city I have discovered a new side to Marrakech. The quiet side. The city seems to be a completely different place in the mornings. As horses and donkeys roam around searching for something to eat I am heading out for a run on roads that are empty of traffic, if only temporarily. I get to run empty streets that will very soon be filled with people. Its the Marrakech few get to experience.
If you are planning to run a marathon or race and plan to be in Morocco during your training let me encourage you not to leave your running shoes home. If you do you will miss some of the most enjoyable miles you will run in your entire life.