Ibri Stadium – No men allowed between 4 and 6

A couple of days ago after waking up a bit later than usual I didn’t have enough time to do my non-running workout.  So, after an uneventful day at work I decided to walk to Ibri Stadium which is located about 10 minutes from Ibri College of Technology to check out the place. Over the past few months I have heard several stories about the sports complex and stadium that is rarely used. Some colleagues told me that anyone could use the track, gym, and training rooms while other colleagues claimed that this was not the case.  Some  colleagues were refused entry by the guard and couldn’t even enter the grounds.

A view of Ibri Sports Complex with Ibri College of Technology in the background.

Well, the only way to find out was to go in person and get the real story on the stadium myself.  When I arrived I discovered beautiful grounds with lovely lawns, trees and flowers but no sign of a security guard or anyone else. I eventually found the entrance to the track. Of course, the door was locked but I noticed a few ladies in abayas (long black robes than Middle Eastern women wear over their clothes)  walking laps. I wondered how they got inside. Did they climb over the fence? Is there another entrance?

Then I spotted a small office nearby and was greeted by a young Omani who offered to help. He spoke excellent English and explained the rules and told me that I could use the track, courts and training rooms. All facilities are free and they are reserved for women every afternoon from 4 to 6. No men allowed during this time. However, I may use the track during other times if they don’t mind sharing it with men.  (This was a relief to me since I prefer to run in the morning.) Then he took me to the women’s gym and lockers but couldn’t find a key to open the door.   After a couple of phone calls and a short conversation with a lady on the track he announced that the trainer had the key but she was absent today. The other women on the track entered by a different gate but they didn’t have the key to the gym or changing room.

Ibri Stadium

I felt disappointed because I wanted to change and run a few laps since I missed my morning workout. In the end, the man suggested that I change in the kitchen next to his office and  I took him up on the offer.  I managed to squeeze though the gap between the gate and the chained lock. I was excited to have access to a real track. I went to the center and did some stretching and yoga on the grass for about 20 minutes before running (jogging) an easy 4K in 26:30.

My plan is to use the track for interval training and to continue doing my long runs and practice 5Ks on my running path near my home.

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