The Challenges Of Marathoning In Kurdistan

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Dec. 19, 2012
  • Updated Dec. 19, 2012 at 7:52 AM UTC
Caitlin Hurley running in Kurdistan. Photo: Boston Globe

Just picking out what to run in is a challenge for women.

For Boston Globe correspondent Caitlin Hurley, the challenges of running in Iraq Kurdistan are sometimes unfathomable. Take for example, what to wear.

She moved to the Muslim country to join her husband on a work assignment.

“I had yet to even bare my knees while running,” she writes. “But 26.2 miles in 80-plus-degree temperatures seemed to warrant skimpy apparel no matter what local custom dictated.”

Hurley finally spotted a woman running in shorts. Her name was Frances and she was the country director for UN Women in Iraq. Frances had come up from Baghdad to run the Second Annual Erbil International Marathon.

“As we nervously waited for the delayed start, the mercury rising with every minute, we marveled at our fellow runners’ footwear selections — everything from soccer cleats to slip-on skater shoes to Converse All Stars,” Hurley wrote.

The marathon that Hurley was running in had been conceived five years ago by Nicola Visconti, the founder of the NGO Sport Against Violence in Rome.

For More: Boston Globe

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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