Run 157 : Albania – Tirana

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Date : 19th November, 2018

Time : 57’ 10”

Number of runners (total to date) : 34 (2515)

Total distance run to date : 1570 km

Run map and details :

Media :

There’d been a slight technical hitch but suddenly the opening slide of the Run the World school presentation was up on the theatre wall.

The 90 students from the Shkolla Mihal Grameno immediately started cheering wildly. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Albania had just won the World Cup.

I knew I was going to enjoy this talk!

They were a great bunch – informed, engaged and enthusiastic.

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They even managed to come up with some questions I hadn’t been asked before. Including the poser : what did I think of Albania’s proposed new law to ban fast food?

It’s a tricky one. Not all fast food is necessarily bad. And I’ve certainly got a lot of personal sympathy for anyone who wants to avoid the time involved in the whole shopping / cooking / clearing up process.

On the other hand, some fast food seems to be little better than gristle cooked in fat and saturated in sugar and salt. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that fast food contributes to obesity – which is a huge issue in countries like the UK.

An interesting debate to say the least.

The students’ enthusiasm carried over into that evening’s run as a number of them, plus their PE and citizenship teachers, joined us for the start in Mother Teresa’s Square. (Mother Teresa, nee Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, may have won world renown and the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in Calcutta but she was an Albanian – though born in Skopje, capital of modern day Macedonia , where I’d also come across a memorial to her.)

Including Bruna and members of the 261 Fearless Running Club and the TIRUN Club

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there were 34 of us at the start. We jogged off to Tirana’s Grand Park for 2 x 5km loops round the artificial lake. (If you’re ever in Tirana, and looking for somewhere to stretch your legs, then this is a fine place to run or walk.)

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None of the students had ever run 10 km before so it was pretty impressive that some of them ran the full distance. A few of them even managed to stay at the front for the whole run which was good going – particularly as we accelerated over the final few kilometres until we were running at c 4’15” per km pace by the end.

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If any of the students are reading this – I hope you enjoyed it and keep on running!

After our goodbyes, I walked back towards the centre of Tirana, past the Pyramid. This was originally built as a museum dedicated to Enver Hoxha, the long-time Communist leader of Albania. (At the time it was said to be the most expensive single structure ever built in Albania. )

It’s now a broadcasting centre and, on the night I was there, a climbing frame and slide for the Welsh fans in town for the following night’s match against Albania.

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A quick look round the (very likeable) centre of Tirana followed

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before finishing my evening at Eatitalian where I’d been invited by Olsi, one of my fellow runners. Highly recommended if you’re ever in Tirana!

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Bruna, the 261 Fearless Running Club, the TIRUN Club, the Shkolla Mihal Grameno, Kebiana and the British Embassy, Olsi, Eatitalian and all my fellow runners for a great day in Tirana. If any of you can make it, then it would be wonderful to see you in London on 4th July 2020 for the UK and final leg of Run the World!

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 :

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!




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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