In Shanghai I hardly ever run outside, most of my miles I make on the treadmill in my home gym. One reason is that the air is often too polluted to run comfortably, but also the fact that there are no quiet streets to run in my neighborhood plays a role. And during summer it’s just way too hot to run.
Occasionally I drive out to the countryside to run, for example in the area southwest of Sheshan, where it’s still relatively quiet. But within Shanghai I also have one favorite running place: in a riverside park along the Huangpu river in Puxi, at the end of Ruijin Nan Lu (the street where I park is called Ruining Lu). The government built this park quite recently (not sure when, but on the satellite pictures in Google Maps the park is still under construction), and it’s not very crowded yet.
The park stretches just over 3 kilometers, with a pedestrian walkway all along the river. No cars, no bicycles and just some other runners and pedestrians. Because it’s next to the river you can always watch the ships sail by and there is normally a bit of wind. I enjoy the scenery a lot, it’s probably the best place in downtown Shanghai to run. The Bund may have a nice scenery, but it’s just too busy there to enjoy the run.
This morning my dad and I arrived there around 7 AM for a run, it was my first outdoor run in Shanghai since the beginning of summer. The temperature at 7 AM was only 27 degrees Celcius, so quite comfortable for a run. During daytime it’s still way too hot to run, it will take at least another 2-3 weeks before you can run again during daytime. And the good thing is that there is not much traffic early in the morning, so the drive from my house only takes about 15 minutes. If I have to face traffic jams to drive there I would not even consider running here.
We ran just over 12 kilometers (2 times back and forth along the whole waterfront) in just over an hour. This is my favorite speed for an outdoor run because you don’t really get tired and you can still easily talk a bit during the run. There were a few more runners, some pedestrians and some groups of Chinese doing tai chi exercises. But generally it was very quiet, especially towards the southern part of the park (south of the bridge).
After the run we freshened up a bit at the (brand new and very clean) toilet area next to the parking place and then drove back home. We made a stop at the French bakery on Hongmei Lu for some croissants, pain au chocolat and a baguette and then had a nice family breakfast at home before 9 AM. A great start of the weekend!
The riverside park is located just south of the Expo 2010 on the Puxi side of Shanghai. If you come by car there is a paid parking space on Ruining Road (RMB 10) or there are many places where you can park for free. If you come by public transport it is easiest to take Line 7 to Chuanchang Road. The park is also nice for an afternoon or evening stroll, so try it out!