Running on a vacation is not only a great way to stay in shape, it is also a wonderful way to explore new places. Don’t be surprised if running changes your perspective of the country you’re visiting and its people. Next time when you pack for your vacation, bring along your sportswear too.
Maldives is a country well-known for its pristine beaches, crystal clear water and luxurious water bungalows. A holiday in Maldives doesn’t necessarily mean it should be fully-packed with water activities. Add in a couple of running sessions for an immersive travel experience.
After visiting 4 local islands (Malé, Hulhumalé, Hangnaameedhoo, Maafushi) and 1 resort island (Olhuveli) in Maldives, here are 5 things I learnt about running in Maldives.
1. Best time to run
On average, the temperature in Maldives hovers between 25°C to 31°C all year round. With relatively high humidity, running in broad daylight could be challenging. Thus, the best time to run would be around sunrise and sunset.
My favourite time to run in Maldives is between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. because there are lesser people roaming the streets in the morning compared to the evening. Running at night is tough at some islands due to limited street lights and presence of mosquitoes.
In small islands, you might need to run multiple loops in order to clock, say, 10km distance. Be creative, mix running along the perimeter beach with the inner part of the island to avoid boredom. Small islands are more suitable for short runs, while medium to big islands are suitable for long runs.
Maldives is the lowest country on earth, with 2.4m being the highest elevation. In other words, hill running isn’t quite possible. Instead, you’re pampered with flat terrain that’s great for speed runs.
In bigger and more developed islands, like Hulhumalé, you can run on the concrete pedestrian walkway. However, in smaller islands where the streets are not paved, like Maafushi and Hangnaameedhoo, expect to run on sand and share the street with motorbikes, cyclists and other pedestrians. If it rains the day before, the sandy terrain is often decorated with puddles. Be extra careful when running on the sandy terrain.
4. What to wear
Maldives is a Muslim country. In local islands, men and women are expected to be covered up from shoulders to thighs, except at bikini beach. That means, no singlets, no shorts, and no see-through clothes. Loose T-shirts, knee-length pants, and long pants are the best running apparel. When wearing tights, try to wear a T-shirt long enough to cover the butts.
However, in resort islands, most of the time you can wear anything you want.
5. Running culture
Of all the 5 islands that I visited, I spotted runners only in Hulhumalé. That makes sense considering that Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race, the largest annual running event in Maldives, takes place in Hulhumalé.
I would argue that Malé, the capital city, isn’t a place for outdoor running. The roads are narrow, yet the traffic is extremely busy. You’ll be better off running on a treadmill if your hotel has one.
Do you run on your holiday? Why and why not?