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Date : 14th September, 2014
Time : 56’ 18” (crazy, narrow streets in the medina)
Total distance run to date : 270km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/593928320
Ten or so years ago, JC visited Marrakech and decided that, if he had the wherewithal, he’d hold his 50th birthday party there.
JC worked hard, made his business a success, and decided he could turn that dream into reality. (At the same he also set up Project Harar which does wonderful work helping Ethiopians with facial disfigurements.)
And so it was that about 50 of us headed off to Marrakech. Almost exactly 12 1/2 years after Liz and I visited Morocco for the first time. How can I be so exact about the timing of something that happened more than a decade ago? Because Liz was two months pregnant with our first child.
That first trip was a mixed affair. We loved Marrakech but got soaked in the southern desert as they had their first rain in ten years (for which we received more credit than we deserved). We then went trekking in the Atlas mountains where it proceeded to hail and snow. I’ll never forget one particularly miserable cold, sleepless night in the tent worrying about the baby.
JC’s birthday w-end, on the other hand, was superb from start to finish with scheduling my Moroccan run being the only slight issue. I eventually plumped for early evening before the party. Which, much to everyone’s no doubt sincere regret, meant that they had to prioritise getting ready over coming on the run with me. (Adrian, Phil, Dharm et al – all I’m saying is that many men CAN get ready in half an hour…)
The benefit of running on my own was that I could set out with the slightly crazy plan of running from the Palmerie area to the Jemaa Al Fnaa via getting lost in the medina (the old walled part of Marrakech) A plan that I then followed to the letter.
I got thoroughly lost in the medina and went round in circles. But there were benefits. I saw parts of the medina tourists normally miss. I had a group of boys run part of the way with me. And I had to concentrate so hard on not getting mown down by cars, mopeds and donkeys that I hardly noticed the kilometres passing by.
Eventually, and fortuitously, I made it to Jemaa Al Fnaa (photo above). One circuit of that justly famous square and my 10 kilometres were done. One of my favourite runs to date.
No description of the week-end would be complete without mentioning the surprise appearance of the hip hop collective – the Highgate Village People (photo below). An homage to JC’s love of old skool hip hop, these superstars of rap were quite simply indescribable. Take a bow MC Lawson, Nicola C and Jamie B.
But not as deep a bow as JC and the lovely Josephine. That was a great party. Thank you and happy birthday!