Running in Hong Kong

Thursday, 10 April 2008  |  Bullish Insights

Hong Kong wasn’t my ideal running course but I was thrilled with the opportunity to run in new, unfamiliar territory nonetheless. I ran twice on mornings despite the tired, stiff legs from the non-stop shopping and commuting (and carrying my 42 lb. 3-year old daughter half the time!) As for swimming, the pools at both hotels we stayed in where tempting, but I chose to rest my weary legs for a good run instead. There was no way I was missing out on runs in HK!

Date & Time: April 6, Sunday, 6:30 a.m.
Length of Time: 40 mins
Distance: 5 km

Oh, the hubby wasn’t too happy about this run. He expressed his hesitation about me going out on my own the night before, but I tried my best to appease him by promising I’d run back in a snap if at any time I didn’t feel secure. Anyway, I was planning to run in a happy little place called Kowloon Park just a stone’s throw away from our hotel.

Fortunately, I was right. Kowloon Park was indeed a peaceful, relaxing, and undeniably a safe area for me amid the octogenarians who were practicing Tai Chi early that morning. They were all over the place; it was almost like the movie Cocoon asian version! No muggers or creepy people here, hubby!


– Kowloon Park, a safe haven amid the hustle and bustle of Tsim Shat Sui –

The park had clean, wide paths which led to different areas within the park such as the aviary, playground, duck pond, public swimming pool (with nearby McDonalds), and even a fitness trail. Running from end to end was more or less a kilometer (I couldn’t trust my Garmin here as the GPS signal was intermittent due to the buildings in the surrounding area) so I decided to just enjoy the scenery and run where my feet would take me.

The course was mostly flat with small hills to break the monotony but not enough for a good challenge. I even headed for the fitness trail expecting a great hill workout, but found myself surrounded by lolas and lolos strolling up and down slight inclines.

I ran about 4.5 km at an easy pace with long walking breaks when I’d stop to check out the playground for the kids or stare in awe at the beauty of Tai Chi. Despite the lack of a challenge, it was a fun run for me. Just what I needed to reenergize for the long day ahead in Ocean Park.

Date & Time: April 9, 6:45 a.m.
Length of Time: 36 mins
Distance: 4.5 km

On our 4th night, we stayed at Disney Hotel in Lantau Island. I was ecstatic over the fact that they had a Jogging Map and promptly studied one to plan my route for the following morning. I chose the scenic Waterfront Promenade route which would take me from our hotel, Disneyland Hotel, to Hollywood Hotel through the jogging paths by the sea. I planned on extending that route to reach Inspiration Lake, which would give me more or less 5km.

That morning, our last day in HK, I dragged myself out of bed feeling sluggish and tired. You would too had you spent a full day at Disneyland Park with two kids who insisted on riding each and every ride—except for Dumbo and Orbitron twice and Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups thrice!

As soon as I stepped out of the hotel’s back door, however, all aches and pains disappeared. Was this where I was going to run? I was in heaven!


– My first view of my running path that morning –

After some stretching by the Mickey Mouse maze, I followed the red jogging path (mostly running on the grass though for less impact) and enjoyed the cool wind and cloudy sky. After a few meters, however, I didn’t find myself at Hollywood Hotel as the jogging map had shown, but I was in the delivery parking lot! I ran through this and exited the hotel running instead on Magic Road, the main road surrounded by mountains and trees on both ends, and decided to follow this straight course to Inspiration Lake.


– Everyone is asleep at Disneyland except for The Bull Runner –

Running on the empty streets was pretty cool, but after a while my imagination started running wild. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park and I expected a velociraptor to pounce on me anytime. (So much for running in the happiest place on earth eh?!) I was 200m shy of Inspiration Lake when I decided to turn back. I couldn’t muster up the courage to pass the pedestrian tunnel alone and I was feeling some discomfort on my left knee. Peeved at this sign of injury, I walked a few meters and entered Hollywood Hotel. After passing its back door, I discovered the jogging path! The real jogging path I was supposed to run! It was close to the water’s edge and not the red path I had ran through earlier!


– I had the jogging path, and the amazing view, all to myself –

As I entered the secure jogging area (where you must use your hotel room’s card), I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was alone with the sea with a full view of Hong Kong before me. It was beautiful! I tried brisk walking… then jogging slowly… then a little faster to reach a steady 6:30 pace feeling no pain this time. I guess all I needed was some inspiration!


– Running back to Disneyland Hotel. I didn’t want this run to end! –

I ended the run hoping that I could stay just one day longer at this beatiful hotel. Just one more day to run, please? But alas, all things must come to an end, so I’m thinking maybe next year instead? Hmm maybe…