I’m A Runner: Hamish MacDonald

I lived overseas for a decade and I didn’t have a car, so running became my commute. It was a nice way to get to and from work while I was living in Asia as a correspondent with Al Jazeera, as well as in London and the Middle East.

Because my work is pretty intense, particularly when I’m away filming on location in difficult or dangerous places, I really need that little bit of time out. If you can have an hour a day in a place like Kabul to go for a run, it makes the difference between sanity and insanity.

Now that I’m back home, I try to make running part of my routine. With such a busy schedule, I end up being more disciplined because I have to manage my time so carefully.

There are very few places I’ve been where I haven’t been able to run. Egypt during the revolution was probably the only place I wasn’t able to run – and I didn’t run in Somalia either.

I usually run five or six times a week, but I’m doing a bit less at the moment. I try to have a few months every few years where I’m not doing as much.

My regular run is about 12km and I sometimes do a longer weekend run up to 20km. If I’m in a rush and I want to get some fresh air, I’ll do 6 or 7km.

I’ve run the London Marathon, a few half-marathons and quite a few triathlons. I don’t manage to do a lot of races because if I try to schedule them too far in advance, I inevitably get called away on assignment. I’d love to do another marathon.

I’m not particularly fussed with pace – I just run for the enjoyment. I’d say I’m a fairly instinctive runner. If I’m enjoying it and having a good day I’ll push it, but if not I’ll take it a bit easier. I’m a bit competitive, so that kicks in at some point.

I love running in Sydney because the views are so spectacular along the coastline, and it’s quite hilly so there’s a challenge. Another favourite is around Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains where I grew up – the air is much fresher and I tend to get into my stride very quickly.

I enjoy cool-climate running. I was filming in Norway in January and did some runs on tracks in the snow with clips on my shoes. It was fantastic to run out across the tundra in the middle of winter.


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