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Run along the Mao River outside Shanghai

The Mao river at Sun Island

This morning my dad and I drove over to the Mao River, between Tianmashan and Dianshan Lake, about 35 minutes from my home in Shanghai. After running for two weekends around Sheshan and Tianmashan we were looking for a place to run with less traffic and people. On Google Maps I found a small road next to a river close to Sun Island, and it turned out to be a good place to run.

Today's half marathon run in Google Maps

Getting up was a bit difficult, even though I did not drink too much at Christine Lu’s Affinity party at CVRVE last night (thanks for the nice champagne and cocktails Christine!). But once we arrived at the river I was fully awake, especially because the circumstances to run were fantastic: a clear blue sky and mild temperatures (around 20 Celsius at 8:30 AM).

Marc running along the Mao river

The road along the river turned out to be even better than I had imagined. No holes, with nice trees and plants on both sides of the road. There was hardly any traffic on the road, because most entrances were closed off with oil drums. Just a few scooters, an occasional local car and a few peasants working in the fields, most of whom were very surprised when they saw 2 foreigners running by, especially when they were also greeted nicely.

Rice fields on the inside of the dike, with a village in the background

The river was more busy than the road, every few minutes a boat sailed by. It’s nice to see them pass by when you run, I enjoyed watching them. We also saw some smaller boats, but they mainly stayed on the small canals to the villages that lined the river.

Small boat coming from a village

The nature around the Mao river consists of a lot of lakes and canals, it reminds me a bit of an area in Holland not too far from my parents home (for Dutch people, the area around Giethoorn). Even the high bridges over the canals were similar.

End of Mao river in Dianshan Lake

My dad and I did a 21.1 km run (a half marathon distance) as preparation for the New York Marathon that takes place exactly 3 weeks from today. Although I used to find a half marathon distance quite long, it seems to be getting shorter and shorter when you get in better shape. We took it easy today and ran the distance in less than 2 hours, including some stops to take pictures and take in the scenery around us. We were both not tired at all, I felt like I could have run a bit longer without any problem. A good sign for the marathon, although I know from experience that the marathon only gets very hard after about 30 kilometers.

Lex running along the Mao river

If you are looking for a nice place to run in Shanghai for long distance practice, this might be a good place to check out. On weekdays it may be very busy on the highways, but on weekend mornings you should be there in about 35 minutes from Hongqiao and maybe another 10 minutes more from downtown. You’ll need your own car though, because finding a taxi there might be tricky.

The Mao river at Sun Island

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