I spent the last three weeks accompanying Trailing-Wife on her business trip to India. She was to spend two days teaching in Bengaluru (known here in the US as Bangalore), and with our older daughter finishing up a volunteer project in Jaipur a few weeks prior, we decided to spend a couple of weeks travelling the country with our daughter before business.
I love to run, and always look for opportunities to run outside when we travel. My detailed running log goes back almost 19 years at this point, and I’ve tracked runs in far-flung places like Amsterdam, Bangkok, Costa Rica, Montreal, London, Paris, and many places in the United States.
I brought my running clothes to India but half expected not to use them. Not only is India very hot and humid at this time of the year, but the roads in many places are much more chaotic than I’m used to (cows and other wild animals sharing the road with cars, trucks, motorcycles, walkers, bikers, etc) and sidewalks are either non existent or difficult to maneuver. It can also be tough for a westerner to wander around the streets of India as there are locals who will ask you for money, ask for a picture with you, or simply hound you into looking at their shop.
Location of hotel is also an important consideration when it comes to running on an out of town trip. Sometimes the hotel location is simply not conducive to running the streets and it can be difficult to travel in a city to where it is good for running.
Conditions did not work for me in the first 5 stops of our trip: Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi and Rishikesh. But to my delight and surprise, conditions were perfect when we made it to our last top in Bengaluru. First of all, Bengaluru has some elevation to it – 3,000 feet above sea level, so the weather is much more temperate than the others places we visited. Temps were mostly in the 70s and the humidity reasonable. Also, our hotel was located across the street from their version of Central Park, which is called Cubbon Park. And finally, Bangalore is much more like the cities I am used to in the US, where the sidewalks are walkable, and there are fewer people on the streets to hassle you.
A big benefit to Cubbon Park is that it is closed to vehicular traffic until 8am every day. I was able to get out into the park at 7am, and the roads were blissfully free of cars and trucks. There was plenty of room on the roads for walkers, bikers and runners. While the photos below show very few other people out there, the park was quite full with many walkers, runners, dog walkers, etc.
A few years ago, a running path (see below) was added to Cubbon Park, which provides a generally softer surface, more shade, and a chance to get away from the cars during the hours in which the park is open. Some of my run was on the running path, but I did find it uneven in parts with stones. While it was definitely runnable, with no cars on the road, I did prefer running on the road, so much of the run was spent on the roads going around the park.
The path of my run is shown at the top of the post. In total my run was 3.3 miles, but it started a bit outside the park and included a repeat of a section at the start and finish. I would estimate a full loop of the park is about 2.3 miles. There are lots of things to see in the park, so 2 loops of the park would not feel repetitious at all.
I was very thankful to find a great place to run outside in India!