Run 143 : Tajikistan – Dushanbe

rtw tajik 8

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

Date : 8th  May, 2018

Time :  55’ 16”

Number of runners : 20

Total distance run to date : 1430 km

Run map and details :

Media: National television : ; ; Bobby’s video

The interviewer asked me to say something positive about Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. It had been an excellent run and I was happy to oblige. I launched into an answer, stumbled over my words and asked them to stop filming. Conscious that most of the crew weren’t fluent in English, I accompanied the request with the chopping hand movement that I took to be the universal sign for ‘cut’.

I had a second go at it. This time I nailed it. I felt confident that they’d be delighted with my off-the-cuff effort about the run and how much I’d enjoyed being in Dushanbe.

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The next morning the piece was shown on television and one of my fellow runners  posted it on Facebook. When I watched it, I realised that the bit of the interview they’d used was me messing up my original answer, chopping at the air with my hand and asking them to cut. Not my most professional bit of media work but, hey ho, I’m grateful for the coverage.

Here’s a link to some of the ‘in retrospect its quite funny’ footage (if the link doesn’t work for you then copy and paste the link below into your browser)  :

As already mentioned, it was a fine run. There were about 20 of us at the start.  A mixture of running club members and hashers, locals and expats. Jace, who is both Religious Adviser to the local Hash and a leading light in the running club, led the way. More than ably assisted by Bobby on a bike with his sound system blaring out ‘Eye of the Tiger’.

We ran by the river for a while, with the TV crew filming us at regular intervals, before circumnavigating the man made Komsomolsee (aka Lake Hyatt). From there we ran to Rudaki Park which contains a remarkable rose garden, various museums and the world’s 2nd tallest flagpole. (The tallest is in Jeddah and third tallest, which I remember running round during an epic rainstorm, is in Baku.)

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As luck would have it, the British Embassy were hosting a function that evening and we were all invited. Which was very good of them. (And very brave since inviting a group of hashers to a post run party is pretty much a guarantee that the beer will run out…)

Anyway, having finished our run, we variously jogged and walked up to Bundes Restobar where the aforementioned interview also took place. I think it’s fair to say that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves – as you can probably tell by comparing the post run photo below with the pre-run shot at the top of the blog. (I also had the pleasure of catching up with Raul whom I’d last seen in a bar in Baku.)

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It just remains for me to thank Bobby (not just for everything in Tajikistan but also for the help in Almaty and Bishkek), Shuhrat, Jonathan, Jace, Dilbar, Raul, the British Embassy and all my fellow runners for the company, the hospitality and the donations. I had a great time in Dushanbe and hope to see you all in London one of these days – perhaps for the UK leg of Run the World on July 4th 2020!

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Finally, thank you to the local Hyatt. Not only was the standard of accommodation much higher than I’m used to but I’d had to get up at 1.15 am UK time for my flight to Dushanbe and the early check-in saved my day!

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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated population of 8.7 million people as of 2016, and an area of 143,100 km2 (55,300 sq mi). It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Traditional homelands of the Tajik people includes present-day Tajikistan as well as parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

The territory that now constitutes Tajikistan has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid EmpireSasanian EmpireHephthalite EmpireSamanid EmpireMongol EmpireTimurid dynasty, the Russian Empire, and subsequently the Soviet Union. Within the Soviet Union, the country’s modern borders were drawn when it was part of Uzbekistan as an autonomous republic before becoming a full-fledged Soviet republic in 1929.

On 9 September 1991, Tajikistan became an independent sovereign nation when the Soviet Union disintegrated. A civil war was fought almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow. Like all other Central Asian neighbouring states, the country, led by President Emomali Rahmon since 1994, has been criticised by a number of non-governmental organizations for authoritarian leadership, lack of religious freedom, corruption and widespread violations of human rights.

Tajikistan is a presidential republic consisting of four provinces. Most of Tajikistan’s 8.7 million people belong to the Tajik ethnic group, who speak Tajik (a dialect of Persian). Many Tajiks also speak Russian as their second language. While the state is constitutionally secular, Islam is practiced by 98% of the population. Gorno-BadakhshanRushaniShughniIshkashimiWakhiMountains cover more than 90% of the country. It has a transition economy that is highly dependent on remittancesaluminium and cotton production.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Tajikistan – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $6.95bn 2016 $861m 2000
Population 8.73m 2016 6.22m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 96% 2016 97% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.6 2014 0.4 2000
% below poverty line*** 31% 2015 34% 2013
Life expectancy at birth 71.1 yrs 2016 65.5 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $1110 2016 $170 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how  Tajikistan performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – 112th

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.

About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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