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Run along the Huangpu river in Shanghai

Running along the Huangpu River in Shanghai

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┬ásatellite pictures in Google Maps the park is still under construction), and it’s not very crowded yet.

Running along the Huangpu River in Shanghai

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.

Running along the Huangpu River in Shanghai

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).

Running along the Huangpu River in Shanghai

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!

Location of the riverside park Shanghai (Ruining Road) 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!

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  1. you know out here in far Xi (West) we have
    less pollution and overall according to
    US Consulate our air quality has been good
    for record length of time. Why? One theory is even the Chinese economy has slowed down!

    Anyway where are you going to send your kids to school as soon as they are out of Kindergarten! Very important.

    Our son,bilingual English Chinese, learning Spanish, piano, violin, rugby,
    debate and much more. We think he’s doin great
    at Shanghai American School.

  2. We also live in Shanghai’s Western suburbs and the air is indeed better than downtown. The past couple of weeks the air has been amazing compared to normal readings. I also heard the story that it may be due to Chinas’s economic slowdown, maybe it plays a role. Let’s see how the pollution will be in October/November. If the air is still good around that time I think there may really be a correlation with the Chinese economy. That would make the city a lot more livable!

    Regarding schools, our kids still have 2 and 3 years respectively at Soong Ching Ling, so we did not make a decision about that yet. SCL is a great school, so I am sure we’ll send them to a very good school afterward as well.

  3. The park was finished in early 2010 before Expo. It is very popular at night and also on weekends especially the rock climbing walls, basketball and skate park. Its also one of the only large areas in Puxi that they fly have room to fly kites up 100m.
    At night the LED kites are interesting to watch and many people bring there dogs and sit out the front of the Family Mart.