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Training Journal

My journal of running, training and racing.

Running in Nigeria - also posted on run4thecity.com

Mark Junkans

Ready or not I'll be running around the city within a week's time. I can't say that I'm completely ready, but who ever is for a 100 mile+ run. Our team is getting very excited as am I, and can't wait to get this thing done.

Last week I was in Nigeria working on a community development project, and got to run in Africa for the first time in my life. When I first started traveling there, I wasn't a runner or wasn't training for a race, so the challenges of training while in Nigeria never hit me.

It's hard to stick to a daily training program when you spend days in airports and driving. The security issues in the Niger-Delta region also present challenges for a runner from the USA. I can't just go out and run on the street in a city like Aba or Lagos, and there isn't really anywhere to run anyway as the streets are filled with people and vehicles. If I'm staying in a hotel, it's unlikely that there will be a treadmill to run on, unless it's a larger city Abuja and decent hotel.

My first run was in the village of Asaga Ohafia where I finally convinced my hosts that I needed to go run on the road. They didn't really understand what I was asking to do, but we finally decided on a road run out of town. It was kind of funny because I had a SUV full of people following me the whole way who couldn't believe that someone would run that far, even though it was only just over 8 miles.

Needless to say, I had one of the most fun training that I've ever had. I ran past villages, children, women washing clothes in the river, etc. I'm definitely doing this again next time I come. In fact, we have already started coming up with ideas for organizing a race. That would be a blast, and also probably a first. The first this time a white man running in this particular area.

All in all, I was able to get about 50 miles this week with only 1 road run. Not exaclty what I needed, but good enough. The rest was treadmill and loops on a 100 meter path (good mental training.)