I love to run. To most people that seems like a crazy thing to say, but I truly do enjoy it. Before I came to Kathmandu I had expectations of doing some running at the valley fringe on a regular basis, but the reality is that getting there is a pain in the ass. The pollution put out by the traffic on the larger roads seemed like just too much to put my lungs though, and the back roads can be extremely cramped for space, uneven, and have many blind corners. I was holding off until we got membership into Phora, thinking I would just use cardio machines or make use of the 600 meter path around the perimeter there.
Then as I posted during the maoist bandha I took the opportunity to run the traffic free streets out to Boudha, which was just about a perfect run. The route is about 2.6 miles, has one really good up hill and one good down hill. So when I got the urge to run again I thought about my options and said 'what the hell' and gave the same route a shot with traffic.
The Stupa at Boudha
Yes I had to weave in and out of traffic and pedestrians, yes I occasionally have to slow down due to traffic and yes occasionally the vehicle exhaust is a bit too much, but all in all it is not nearly as bad as I expected. There is only one place where I regularly have to come to a stop and hit lots of pedestrians, and that is where I pass the Ring Road, aside from that you might run into the occasional traffic jam that you can't get around, but that is rare, and my on foot mobility usually allows me around it a little faster. In fact it is not uncommon to outrun some of the motor transport for long stretches, I've passed many of the little van things that act as public transport over and over again as they get stuck behind traffic or stop to drop or pick people up. While the traffic is crazy here, the craziness prevents any serious speed, 25mph is about as fast as you're gonna go, and that isn't going to be maintained for any serious time.
So now I've done the run about 4 times and I think I might make it a regular thing. Some times of the day are much more conducive than others. The later in the day, the worst the traffic seems to get, from 10am to 3pm the sun can be a bit tough on you, and regardless of how much water you drank in the morning you definitely get a bit dry. Nepali's seem to spend time with their families in the morning (a good thing in my opinion) and the roads don't get too busy until after 9am. I've never liked running in the morning much, but an 8am run would seem like the perfect time. I went around sunset today, which wasn't bad but the traffic was a bit much.
I'm really excited to have found a really nice route like this. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to do a post on why I love hiking and running.