As some of you may know, I am a recent – but super enthusiastic – convert to running, and so if this all gets a tad too gushing, well…tough. I have discovered a love somewhat late in life, and fully intend to enjoy it to the full, and share this enjoyment as much as I can.
Our running group has moved on from our first challenge, our 6km in mid-December, and many of us are now training for our first 10km next Sunday. Actually it’s 10.28km, and that .28 is very important, since we will then be able to claim, with complete honesty, that we ran “more than 10km.”
We meet on Saturday mornings, and this morning, just like last Saturday, we ran from Nehru Park to India Gate and back, but the huge difference was the weather. Last week it was grey and gloomy. Today was perfect. Unbelievably gorgeous – chilly enough to require a light fleece all the time, mist burning off with the sun, and an impossibly deep blue sky.
Since I hope that there may be some non-dilli-walas who read this post, looking for advice about where to run in Delhi, let me talk you through the route, which takes you through some of the best of New Delhi’s colonial architecture.
As you can see from the Google Earth image below, it’s a fabulously “green” run :
We meet at Nehru Park (extreme bottom left of the track log) because it’s central and there is loads of parking. From there we cross the road to Shantipath, where we do our stretches and off we go.
We left a little late this morning – just after 7 am – and ran to Teen Murti through empty streets, and this, let me tell you, is one of the joys of early morning running in Delhi, especially at the weekend. Precious little traffic, compared to the usual daytime nightmare-ish traffic.
Past Teen Murti (below)
Past the 3 wise monkeys (below)
Past the brooding Rahul Gandhi – we have elections looming, hence this man’s face plastered everywhere.
Down South Avenue towards a just-peeping-through-the-mist Rashtrapati Bhavan (the residence of the President of India) – and you take my point about empty, empty roads?
Right along Thyagaraj Avenue, with only a pair of road sweepers (and some monkeys) for company.
Out into Vijay Chowk, where the sweeping, dramatic vistas really start, and with the flowers and the reflections, it all looked amazing. I didn’t stop my Garmin while taking all these photos, by the way, which (sort of) explains the slow pace…
Up the slope towards Rashtrapti Bhavan, with a silhouetted monkey for company.
I sneaked this photo in, before a guard issued that immortal phrase in India – “Allowed nahi hai” (It’s not allowed). I love the use of “allowed” as an almost pukka Hindi word.
Back across Vijay Chowk, and down Raj Path towards India Gate which I could still scarcely see through the mist.
And now for the gushing bit.
To run towards and then around India Gate – especially on such a brilliant morning – is actually very emotional. It is a beautifully dramatic monument, and when it is relatively quiet, and bathed in bright morning sunshine, with the flags fluttering – well, it is a truly special moment, and it was with some reluctance that I turned away and headed back, leaving India Gate behind.
My pace on the return trip was even slower, since I kept meeting people:
Let sleeping dogs lie, they say, and this one, below, was really king of the road. At least until the day time lunatic traffic starts, bless him.
By now the fountains had been switched on, and the traffic was very slowly beginning to build up. But nothing at all, compared to during the week. Still a delight to run on these wide empty streets.
The return was along the same route – Vijay Chowk, South Avenue, Teen Murti, Shanti Path and Nehru Park.
Conditions along the route
If you do this route early in the morning, and I cannot stress enough that this is the best time to run in Delhi, traffic is extremely light and unaggressive, the roads are nice and wide, and there are very few pedestrians around. Because you are running through the heart of VIP Delhi there are policemen everywhere, so no need to feel insecure.
No shops open, so take water.
Oh, 10/10 for absolutely outstanding views. To run through such iconic streets and past historic buildings like these gives you a spring in your step.
Take home moment?
Other than the buzz from running round India Gate, it was seeing the President’s Bodyguard out bright and early :
Trophy photos at India Gate?
Oh well, if you insist…
As I have noted previously, there is always a slight discrepancy between by Garmin (which gave me 13,25 km) and Mapmywalk on my iPhone, which said 13.80km. I would love it to be the latter, since that is almost 14km, but I will opt for prudence and go with 13.25 km, which is still the furthest I have ever run.
Such a great feeling.