Running in Ramadan

We are now half way through Ramadan – the moon is full – and the temperature is in the 40s, here in Marrakech. The vast majority of Muslims here observe the month of fasting, which means no food or liquid between sunrise at 3.50 am and sunset at 19.42 pm.

I went for my run yesterday evening, just as the call to prayer started and the streets were completely deserted as everyone came together to break the fast and eat ftour together. Slightly eery in this city that is never empty or quiet. One lonely watch man was settling down to his feast outside his guard post as I went past and waved cheerily at me.

As usual, I had water with me, because even as darkness settles in, it is hot and thirsty work. But my running friends here are all still training – and without anything to drink. As Zineb, who is a member of the Casablanca running club said when I asked her, ” Of course we train in Ramadan! The club is out on a run nearly every day. We start at around 6pm, run for an hour or so then back home for a quick shower and then breakfast.”

That takes some effort. By that time, they haven’t eaten or drunk for 15 hours, and most have done a full day’s work. But as everyone here says – Ramadan is a gift,  not a punishment.

And ftour – the meal that breaks the fast – is a treat. Milk with dates, pancakes, sweet pastries and spicy harira soup, are the staples. Prayers, food and then later in the night more prayers and a main meal around midnight.

The streets come alive again, and everyone celebrates, another day of Ramadan, another day of Baraka (blessing).

 

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