Running in Riyadh
Running in Riyadh can be difficult. The midday heat is enough to level even the most hardened runner and finding company is tough. The much flaunted hashers are hard, if not impossible to find and many of the other groups just don't welcome outsiders. If you find yourself being an "outsider" like me, take heart in the fact that you are not alone. There are a couple of places in Riyadh where you can possibly go running by yourself and get some fresh air in the process. Let's face it, running on a treadmill is great but it can get monotonous. So here is my limited list of places you can run in Riyadh.
1. The area around the King Fahad Medical City.
It's hard to miss since it's right smack in the middle of Riyadh and has a well lit path. The path itself is not really good to run on since it's really hard and there are cars going around it all the time. I wouldn't advice running on it more than once a week specially if you are doing heavy mileage as all that shock can really get to your joints. I can blame more than one episode of plantar fasciitis to that track. Best time to run ? I usually go there early on a Friday morning before the sun gets too high.
2. The joggers park or the Nahda park.
Off the beaten path, it's located near the Khurais road going towards Dammam right after the gulf bridge. Take the side road right after you get off the Gulf Bridge and take a right at the first stop light, it's right there. I like this track better than King Fahad Medical City and the path is mixture of gravel, grass, concrete and road surfaces. I like running here because so few people come here and it's better on your joints than King Fahad Medical City. Best time to run? You can go there in the evenings since it's usually less crowded.
I will add more to these when and if I find more tracks. In the meantime feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any thing specific to say.
Equipment: I would advice trail running shoes for Nahda park and well cushioned shoes for King Fahad Medical City.
- Adventure Travel
Football fans would enjoy some nice matchs
Riyadh famouse for its strong two football clubs, Al Hilal, and Al Nasr. They have almost domenated the local tournaments in the past few decades.
Al Hilal and Al Naser have their own satelite channels, and broad fan base among Riyadh people.
If it happened to have final game either for the Saudi tournament of the King cup, or even the supper, and you football fan, and don't mind the crowd, you should go and see live in King Fahad Studium, East Riyadh, or just go to any Cafe in mid town or in Al Thimama to watch with the crowd, as you were in the studium.
But, any way, watch out the bad boys who may misbehave if their team lost, or even won the game.
Riyadh also has two other football teams, Al Riyadh, and Al Shabab.
Quad biking in the dessert
The dessert 5 Miles behind the camel souk is a nice place for quad biking. It´s very funny to jump over the dunes and drive through the soft sand. The best day for Quad biking is thursday morning, go very early (8am) because of the heat.
Equipment: You can rent a quad for 80 Rial per hour
- Adventure Travel
Hash makes you a hiker
What is this kind of HASH?
The first Hash group was founded by British in the 1930's in Malaysia. Nowadays there are many Hash groups around the world. Three of them are in Riyadh: two run on Thursdays, one on Friday afternoon. They are all inofficial.
People meet somewhere in nature outside a city (in Riyadh it's the stone desert) to go walking and/or running for 1-2 hours. You also climb up the hills. Hashing in Saudi means more than in other countries because of the socialising effect especially with the other gender.
see also my things-to-do-tip 'Hashing in the desert' for further information!
night-runs are held during frequent camp outs
Equipment: - solid hiking shoes with a firm sole for all the sharp stone in the desert
- small bottle of water (0.5 l enough) during the walk. There are liquids provided pre- and post run and a water-check serving fruits (melons, oranges) during the run to ensure Hashers are well hydrated.
- Hiking and Walking
Deluxe sports center
The Al-Khozama sports center is located inside the Khozama center, which is adjacent to the Al-Faisaliah mall. It boasts a gym, squash courts and a 15-metre swimming pool. It also has a bar providing refreshments after your puffs. It's open pretty much all the time when you would want to have sports, and (best of all) it's free of charge if you stay in one of the two nearby hotels (Faisaliah and Al-Khozama). Otherwise I think you have to pay some yearly membership fee which doesn't come cheap.
- Water Sports
wild Desert Caves & adventures
Sixty million years ago, a thick layer of limestone was slowly formed at the bottom of a shallow sea. Today, that same rock formation lies beneath the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia. Alongside the Dahna sand dunes, not far from Riyadh, the Umm-Er-Radhuma limestone is riddled with countless holes known locally as Dahls.
Equipment: SAUDI GEOLOGICAL SURVEY EXCURSIONS
The Saudi Geological Survey offers excursions and adventure trips such as those described below, for an up-to-date schedule of events, check the Saudi Geological Survey web page.
An Adventure Trip promises a complete day of entertainment on 4-wheel-drive vehicles, with a light lunch provided and a luxury supper at Mersal Village for SR450 per head.
The Mahd Al-Dahah Mine Trip offers a full day at the mine. a tour of the underground caves, dinner and unspecified "surprise tour" for SR200 per person. (samples of ore will be given away)
A Trip on the Sand is the third option, this one at SR250 per person for half a day on open four wheel drives with supper included.
The last option is a one-day Volcano Trip for SR300 per head. The highlight here is a visit to one of the largest craters in the world. The cost covers a light lunch and beverages.
SGS is conducting geological workshops at the Hera'a Souq in Jeddah as part of the Jeddah 2000 festival focusing on: GEMSTONES ,every Saturday,;how to avoid NATURAL DISASTERS, every Monday; how to use a GPS (Global Positioning System) every Tuesday; the importance and use of GEOLOGICAL MAPS, every Wednesday and things to consider when selecting a good LOCATION FOR YOUR HOME, every Sunday.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to watch movies, enter science competitions and take part in daily competitions for valuable prizes.
The SGS number in Jeddah is 02) 619 8000. Fx 619 8906
Supervisor of SGS summer trips: Thamer Al Khairi.
- Theme Park Trips
I have just started playing golf and I have finally started enjoying it :) maybe its because of the company of friends with whom I go or maybe my game has finally improved ;-) ....... as finally I can make some pars and attimes a birdie too !! :)
There are quite a few golf courses in and around riyadh like Intercontinental Hotel ( 9 holes, proper green) excutive course, Dirab (18 holes, proper green) almost 45 minutesto an hour drive from city center, Desert (18 holes in the desert) totally different experience worth a try, also quite cheap as compared to other ;-), almost half an hour drive from the city center and then there is one is arizona compound (never been there as people with white skin can only enter the place ) so unfortunately because of this discrimination I am not eligible to play over there :)
Annual Camels Race
an annual camels race is being held with Jinadriyah Cultural Festavel.
Equipment: ok, first of all you need a young short small weight less boy to ride the camel, and then you need a strong fast camel of course!!
Dazy,Keith Haysom and I went to "The Riyadh Golf Club" for an afternoon of fun !!!!
We hired the clubs,they had seen better days and as for the balls.......more like cubes.We took our own 2ft square piece of astroturf to play on as there was no grass,the greens are called browns.The bunkers are wide and you can get the odd bit of wildlife out there.We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience
Its what you make of it..
Equipment: Hire the clubs from the shack,sorry Clubhouse !!!!
Any other game
Being a sporty kind of person, when I landed here I started searching for any sports activity in which I can participate and enjoy.
Gradually I learnt that this is the only activity which a person can do will all freedom as there aren't many recreational facilities available here.
Most of the sports facilites are provided in the housing compound which we live in, like tennis, squash, raquet ball, basketball courts, then we have bowling alleys, swimming pool and a gym and also a small soccer field which is also being used for Cricket and for practice shots of Golf. If you are really into golf then you can go to Intercon, Duraiyya or Arizona resort compound.
Usually there is nothing much to do in the night and also we do get some spare time so instead of watching TV, I prefer to have some activity.
I myself enjoy playing tennis, squash and cricket and at times I also go for golf specially when a group is big enough so that we can have a good laugh otherwise golf is tooo boring for me as its too slow :)
This is the national game of Saudi Arabia, and they follow this game religiously :) I am serious ..... they are crazy about it, whenever there is an important game going on, you can see there will be no rush on the roads, even when the club teams are playing their stadiums are full. If their teams wins then all the young saudis will be on the road in their cars stopping them in the middle of the road and start dancing :)
In Riyadh, they have a beautiful ground called King Fahad International Stadium, this stadium's unusual Tent-shaped architecture provides maximum protection from the weather to approximately 80,000 spectators who come to watch track and field sports and it definitely is a place worth visiting.
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