In ten days’ time I head off to East Africa for my longest and toughest trip yet : 9 countries in 9 days (itinerary below). That’s over two marathons worth of running in just over a week – and more travel than I can bear to contemplate.
But, despite my fear of the running and travel to come, the thing that’s really occupying my mind is an article on the BBC website headlined – “Burundi : Where Jogging is a Crime“.
To be clear, this isn’t referring to an anti-exercise law passed by the government in Burundi. It’s an attempt to crack down on the opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) whom, the government fear, are using running groups as a cover for subversion. And it’s no laughing matter. A number of people have apparently received long jail sentences – at least in part for running
The ban is on groups rather than individual runners so, in theory, I should be OK if I run on my own. Alternatively, I may have to walk the 10 km. Which could be be tricky as I’m only in the country for 5 hours – and half of those will likely be spent at the airport exiting through customs, picking up my bags, checking in for my flight out, going back through customs etc .
Incidentally, if you’re in Burundi or know the country well, then please get in touch by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page. I’d be particularly delighted to hear that the BBC report isn’t accurate and that there’s no issue with running in Burundi!
In any event, I shall find out on November 20th. Wish me luck – or donate to CRUK (Cancer Research UK)!
My itinerary :
- 18th November : Uganda
- 19th November : Rwanda
- 20th November : Burundi
- 21st November (morning) : Kenya
- 21st November (afternoon) : Malawi
- 22nd November : Tanzania
- 24th November : Seychelles
- 25th November : Mauritius
- 26th November : Madagascar