Before D and I moved to Abu Dhabi we were a bit gutted to discover that there was no Parkrun in the UAE. For anyone who doesn’t know what Parkrun is (what rock have you been living under!) it’s a global community of runners of all ages and abilities that happens every Saturday morning at different locations all over the world. You sign up to Parkrun, receive a special barcode and take the barcode with you to all your races where it is scanned and all your details are recorded online.
We have been doing Parkrun since 2013 and slowly but surely building up the number of runs we have done (there are mile stones at 50, 100 etc) and we have also travelled to places just to take part in a Parkrun. After our wedding in New York City we hired a car and drove to Washington DC, just to take part in a Parkrun as there was none in NYC as that point.
So yes, it was disappointing to us that we were going to live in a Parkrunless country! When we first moved to Abu Dhabi I knew I had to find something similar in order to keep us running and keep our fitness up and its always better to do it in a group, so I scoured the internet and Facebook trying to find a UAE alternative to Parkrun. Thankfully, I found iTrainSaturdayswhich is essentially the same thing, a free 5km timed run every Saturday morning for runners of all abilities and ages. The only difference is that there is no barcode, you just register up to 12 hours prior to the run and the results are then posted to the iTrainSaturdays Facebook group.
iTrainSaturdays is sponsored by Daman who are a health insurance company here in the UAE. They run all kinds of fitness events in the Emirates through their ‘Active Life by Daman’ health and wellness movement.
Our first run with iTrainSaturdays was in August and the heat here during the summer months is insane so for those months the run moves indoors to a Shopping Mall! This can be a challenge because the lack of space generally means a repetitive run (10 laps of a shopping mall) but it is such a relief to not be running outdoors in 50 degrees!
There have been numerous runs with iTrainSaturdays since our very first at Abu Dhabi Mall.
Since our first run with iTrainSaturdays in Abu Dhabi Mall we have tried to make as many Saturdays as possible. Things can crop up and its not always easy especially if there has been a brunch the day before or family are visiting but we are going to do our best in 2018 to run as many Saturdays a month as possible.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about iTrainSaturdays you can check out their Facebook page here or send any questions my way!