Sarah Clawson is a Planeteer currently living in Manama, Bahrain where she works as a Business Relations Manager for a computer company. She is twenty-five years old and was born in Rochester, New York.
Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty-three islands with the island Bahrain as the dominating one. The island is located on the Persian Gulf and is mostly rocky desert. Manama is situated north on Bahrain Island with 150,000 inhabitants and Arabic (official), English, Persian are the spoken languages.
Sarah recalls that she has been a runner since the day she was born, but on a serious and conscious level for the past four years. She has not yet joined a running club in Manama, but would like to. She runs four or five times a week about 5km or 6km, and on the weekends anywhere from 15km to 25km, depending on her training schedule and upcoming races. She usually runs alone and thinks it is a perfect time for her to clear her head; a lot of big decisions have come to her in the middle of a run.
When asked if she always runs the same workout course Sarah said, "Recently yes, but I plan to venture out to other parts of the island to discover some green areas (I've heard they exist). The only problem is that I prefer to leave from home running, and not drive somewhere to run. But sometimes it's worth it".
When it comes to eating, Sarah said, "If I run in the morning I have a few handfuls of cereal and raisins with a huge glass of Isostar before heading out the door. If I run in the evening I try to eat well at lunchtime and have a power-boosting snack in the afternoon. I love cinnamon Graham crackers. The night before my long runs I have pasta. And the night before a race I like to relax with a plain pizza and a beer (it has it's qualities for runners too!). And of course... liters of water all day long". Though she, herself, does not eat them, Sarah imagines that the local runners indulge in the commonly found pita bread, dates and wonderful fruit shakes that are staples in the locals' diet.
Though there is a lot of sun in Bahrain, Sarah's preferred climate to run in is the fall, with the crackle of the leaves, the sun, and the autumn breeze found in New York. She says that she anticipates some difficulties in training for a September marathon during the Bahraini summer. During August, when the temperatures can reach 120 °F, people tend to run at night or inside on a treadmill.
Sarah reads a popular running magazine and says that she owns "too many" running shoes. When on a run Sarah brings along a water bottle and a little money. She only listens to pop music on a Walkman while running on a treadmill.
Though running is quite accepted in Bahrain she does not see many women running and said, "It is not advisable for a woman to go running in shorts and a T-shirt just anywhere on the island. It is accepted in most parts, but just be careful to try to check out the area before, in order not to offend anyone. Being an Islamic country it is not advisable to run in simply a sports bra, etc. You just need to be careful". Running is popular in Manama with a few races, and even a marathon in March.
Sarah said that while running, "Cars are a hazard! Driving is a bit crazy in Bahrain so one must be vigilant at all times. It's better not to run outside with a Walkman". Sarah also says that locals do not run with dogs because in the Middle East they are not very popular pets, and it would be too hot for their paws to run anyway.
Along with Bahrain, Sarah has also run in the United States, France, England, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates. She has run two marathons in Paris and her personal best time is 1:49 for a half marathon and 4:06 for a full marathon.
When asked where and when her favorite run was, Sarah said, "There have been several amazing runs, and races I have participated in. One run in particular sticks out in my mind - it was in March 1997 along the northern coast of Brittany. An early morning run with Herve. The sun was shining, it was brisk and we ran far. We waved to farmers, little kids going to get their croissants for breakfast and we looked out over the wild cliffs into a beautiful raging sea down below. Afterwards we ran down to the beach and dipped our feet in the freezing water. A truly great run".
Run The Planet would like to thank Sarah Clawson from Bahrain for taking part in the Planeteer Spotlight.