My journey of running started in Yerevan, Armenia.
When I started to run, back in 2011, it was still uncommon thing, I don’t remember seeing people running, if I ever saw one, it was an old man or men. I remember people looking at me as this weirdo who had nothing better to do but run. I have heard so many comments, such as “this girl is out of her mind”, “what is the point?”, “running isn’t good, you should walk fast”, “running is bad for your knees and joints”, “I bet you have a lot of time in your hands” and so on. True, you will hear these in other countries too, but in Yerevan, running isn’t something common. Year, after year, I would hear more encouragement, people would message me and ask my opinion and motivation, which I try to motivate people as best as I can. I remember this one time when an old woman stopped me and told me that she always sees me running around and she is glad to see someone who loves running. After that one remark, I was filled with so much joy.
One of the best events that I’ve participate was Yerevan’s first half-marathon, which was organized in 2015 October 4th. I saw how many people came for accomplishing their goals, either 2.1 km, or 10km or 21.1km. It did not matter how many kilometers you came, it mattered that you came and was willing to do your very own best.
Prior to the Half-Marathon, Triclub Yerevan, who has a weekly schedule for various workouts, for example every Tuesday, they gather near Cascade and do interval training, strength training or just a run around the streets of Yerevan. Anyone who is visiting or planning to visit Yerevan should join this run. Just imagine you can almost see Downtown Yerevan within an hour, burn those calories and then go somewhere and eat whatever you want, because *you* earned that food. That sounds pretty exciting to me. One of the trainers is Vaagn Toukharian, who has this positive attitude, who will motivate and assist you. He is a four time finisher of IronMan triathlon, which includes running, swimming and biking. So you can be sure that you will get an advice from an expert.
There are other fun runs organized throughout the year in Yerevan, for example on May 1st, Yerevan Half Marathon organizers organized for us Spring run, which was 5km or 10km. July 9th of this year, there was Color Run, which was organized last year too. Let me tell you I had so much fun with my friends, we were covered with different colors, that will boost your mood and fill you with positivity. There was even Santa Claus run before all the Christmas festivities in 2015, where people were dressed as Santa Claus and they had a blast running 5km, I was dressed as Ձյունանուշ (it’s something like Santa Claus’ granddaughter) and two people were dressed as Elf.
You have four months to train for this year’s Yerevan Half-Marathon, which is scheduled for 16th of October 2016. Start a challenge with your friends, push each other and make sure you are doing your best, even if you finish last, you still did better than people who stayed at home and did nothing. Let your will carry you through those kilometers.
In case you do not participate in any of the mentioned events, here are some route options to run around the streets of Yerevan: one can be the Botanic garden, which will fill your lungs with fresh air, also after the rain, it smells so good.
The other one which I like to do is run from my house, which is located in Qanaqer, and I take the longest route and by the time I reach the downtown I covered 8-9km and then I run 2-3km in the downtown and complete my run with a refreshing smoothie, which you can find everywhere!
You can also find water fountains in different locations, and you can totally drink from it, we are known for our clean and sweet water.
Remember: “pain is temporary, victory is forever.” Everything in life needs commitment, determination and discipline. Through that you can find your greatness and fulfill your life with something that not everyone can do.
Running is freedom.
You might think how on Earth is that possible? You go through so much pain and misery, you are out of breath, your legs feel heavy, you are sweating all over, your throat feels dry, you might swallow a bug or two and so on.
I guess all of that makes running a form of freedom. Knowing how it feels and yet choosing to do it.
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