I'm adding a new country to my running roster this week. I'm in Canada and enjoying city centre runs through the skyscrapers of Toronto and dodging the roller bladers on the lakeside.
Maybe I'm alone in this, but knowing my fellow runners and their love of a bucket-list, I strongly suspect I'm not. I like to keep a mental record of countries I have run in. It gives me a particular satisfaction adding somewhere new to the list.
When visiting a country, I always pack my trainers no matter how brief the trip. On some occasions they have even been tied to the outside of a crammed bag - but they always make the cut, no matter what the baggage restrictions.
For me, running in another country is like sampling the local food, hanging out at the town square bars or cramming into a lift to go and see the highest viewing point of the city. It's just one of the things you have to do. Heading out for a run is a big part of experiencing a new place. Isn't it?
When I think back on some of the times I have run overseas, they are the most enjoyable and adventurous times on my travels ever.
Running through snowy mountains in Bulgaria feeling like Rocky, running barefoot along the beach at Koh Samui in Thailand and nursing blisters on the soles of my feet afterwards or running on the old Fiat factory test track in Turin made famous by the Italian Job - they all make me look back and smile.
I don't include countries where I have run on a hotel treadmill, but not outside. To me that doesn't count. It's my game, my rules ok?
To a list that also includes USA, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Japan, China, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Qatar, France and Greece I can now add Canada. Just writing it revives some great memories. Those tourists that don’t run are really missing out aren’t they?