Guest post by James C
It’s almost time for your big summer holiday. Your sunscreen is packed, you have bagfuls of cheap holiday wear from your friendly local discount clothing retailer, and you’ve even booked your flights to Malta. It’s time to relax, unwind, and let the holiday commence.
The one thing you haven’t considered is your mankini body, which is strange because it’s been the only thing on your mind for the past few months. Since New Year you’ve been hitting the gym every evening, avoiding all things carbohydrate, and drinking water instead of lager. Isn’t the thought of returning to East Midland airport with a paunch pretty depressing?
Visiting a beautiful island like Malta doesn’t have to mean lazing on the beach all day, eating your weight in cheese. In fact you can see a lot more of Malta (or any other holiday destination) simply by donning your running shoes in the early morning and setting out to discover what’s up.
Of course, if you’re visiting Malta in a tourist capacity it’s likely that you’ll be staying near the coast. Even the amateur runner knows that the coast provides the best conditions, due to the breeze coming in off the sea: even in the early morning temperatures can soar quite quickly. One very pleasant route you can take is from St Julian’s to Valletta, along the promenade, and back. This 15 mile route winds through the coastal towns of Sliema, Gzira, and Pieta, before coming back into St Julian’s.
Then there’s the general joy of running along the beach, dipping into the surf every now and then to let your feet cool off. Again it’s best to do this first thing in the morning, as the last thing you want to do is annoy tourists who are trying to sunbathe.
Remember to take a map with you: getting lost in a new country is no fun, especially when you’re in your running gear and the sun is becoming dangerously high in the sky. Also bear in mind that local shops will close between 12 and 2pm to allow for siestas: if you find yourself gasping for a drink at this point, you’re out of luck.
Heading inland a little, you’ll find lovely rural scenery as most of Malta is made up of farmland
Malta is a pretty small island: 17 miles from end to end, so you’re never too far from an excellent trail. Depending on your level of experience, you could even run from one coast to the other in the space of a morning.
For long distance routes, it’s a good idea to start at Mdina: in the center of the island there are many routes branching out from there. Generally speaking, if you’re looking for a way into the interior, search for a farmer’s road from the village square and run up there. You’ll soon find yourself away from the hustle and bustle and enjoying the wind in your hair.
They say that once you complete a race, you should book into your next one. Why bother with the marathon in your own city when you could head to Malta? It may not be the best time for a family or romantic holiday, but if you’re really into your island running this could be the next step for you. Just be sure to stay away from the potent island wine the night before: the night after, anything goes (you’ll have earned it).
This is a guest post from James C, an online media specialist and avid runner.
Lead image by TomRaven