Best race of the year: 15k in the Grand Bara. The Grand Bara is one of the flattest stretches of barren desert in the entire world. It is an emergency landing site for space shuttles because there are no bushes or trees or rocks or buildings or slopes. Lots and lots of dust and hard clay. And one day each year, lots and lots of French soldiers, a handful of other soldiers, and a few civilians in running clothes.
Mostly this post is pictures. But one interesting note. I read in Runner’s World recently that women’s distance running has made such strides that no one can fathom gender discrimination in races, timing, awards, etc, that attitudes which kept women from running in the 70′s are obsolete around the world.
I didn’t see one single female Djiboutian runner. There may have been one or two, but I don’t know. Huge trophies were awarded the top ten men overall and the top ten men in various categories. Medals were awarded to the top five women overall. Period. So approximately 30 (I didn’t count) men got massive awards while 5 women went home with miniatures.
In a few months there will be a half marathon in Djibouti. I have never participated because women aren’t allowed. A few Frenchies sneak in but since I have no military group to hide behind and must present my actual, female self, I won’t be running.
Enough of that. Here are some lovely photos, taken by my faithful fan club.
The start is not a gun or two boards clapped together. It is four jets swooping so low your ear drums feel like exploding.
I broke my own Djibouti running-clothes rules and donned a skirt and tank top. It felt good.
Where are some of your favorite, unusual race sites?