More Heat in the Middle-East as Butter Ticks Off Iraq
After Butter's earliest ever marathon in Kuwait, it was onwards to Doha, Qatar for marathon 165. At 3 am, it was another early start to beat the heat. Running along a cliffy shoreline Butter saw numerous other runners and early morning walkers, but once the sun came up the people quickly vanished and the temperature soared. He reflected on how much the extreme heat in the Middle-East controls the lives of those that live there.
From Doha, Butter travelled briefly back to Europe. He landed in Ayia Napa, Cyprus and elected to run the same day. Despite running just after midday, Butter enjoyed temperatures almost 68°F cooler than in the previous few countries. Ayia Napa is known as a party town, so he stuck to the coastline for his run, making his way out of “very drunken, central Ayia Napa” in the direction of the airport.
Butter had saved himself a day by running immediately, so he took the opportunity to relax on the beach before flying on to his next marathon in Erbil, Iraq. He admits that he had “no idea what to expect” in Erbil and was “shocked at how lovely, neat, tidy, and very friendly” everyone seemed. Butter was joined by some local runners in Sami Abdul Rahman Park and found time to complete an interview with a local news team. It was a “perfect” day and he expressed a desire to return to Erbil for an official marathon in the future.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia would host Butter for marathon 168. Again, he was joined by a group of local runners. Together, the group ran along another seaside cliff, before his new friends had to head off to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid. Butter described the atmosphere in Jeddah as “special and enchanting” and a far cry from the drunken revelry of Ayia Napa. He explained, “no booze means no idiot drunks. With the sundown and the night alive with stars, the entire corniche was full of families nestled along side other families, all eating, praying, laughing, fishing, and hundreds of kids playing.”
Next up was Beirut, Lebanon and another ocean-side run. Butter found himself in the runner's zone and the pleasant run flew-by while he listened to music and podcasts. His next destination will be the hermit kingdom of Turkmenistan.