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Running in Hong Kong

Marc on The Peak during the run, with view over Hong Kong

After a run from downtown Hong Kong up to the Peak

I got back on Sunday afternoon from a long weekend in Hong Kong. We had a couple of meetings, Grace did a lot of shopping (she managed to fill an additional empty suitcase that she brought from Shanghai), and we met up with friends for every lunch/brunch and dinner. Plus of course lots of good wines and beers during the evenings, which was a good reason to do some extra sports while there.

I always love to run when I am in Hong Kong and over the years found some nice places for an early morning work-out. My favorite is Bowen Road, a flat road without motorized traffic that runs along the hill above Central and Wanchai. The road is about 3.5 km one way, so if you go back and forth you can run for about 7 km without seeing any cars and with a great view over Hong Kong.

Bowen Road, Hong Kong

Bowen Road, Hong Kong

The downside is that you won’t be the only runner, unless you go very early. On weekend mornings it can actually be really busy here, as many Hong Kongers go for a hike or stroll here and many dogwalkers take the neighborhoods dogs out for a walk. It’s a mixed crowd and that makes it interesting, but because the speeds of the runners and walkers are so different you have to watch out not to hit anybody.

Bowen Road, Hong Kong

Bowen Road, Hong Kong

On Saturday morning I ran Bowen Road again and still liked it as much as before. The climb up to the road from Admiralty was quite difficult, esp. if you run without doing much stretching in advance (I normally just start running slowly, but that’s not a good strategy if you go uphill almost straight away). But the good thing is that at the end of your work-out you can just run downhill to cool down. I took it quite easy during the run and ran 7 km in about 42 min.

Bowen Road, Hong Kong

View from Bowen Road, Hong Kong

On Sunday morning before flying back to Shanghai I decided to put my alarm clock and go for a longer run. The weather was nice (about 18 degrees and sunny at 7:30 AM), so I put on my FiveFingers and decided to run to The Peak. I had walked up to The Peak before and had also jogged/walked up to section 3 and 4 of the Hong Kong Trail from Central, but I had never run to the actual Peak from downtown Hong Kong.

I also did not know what the fastest route would be, so I took my phone with me so I could follow my route on a map. I started from Admiralty again and ran up to Bowen Road. Halfway Bowen Road I took a right on the Wan Chai Gap Road, that goes almost straight up the mountain (over 20% incline at many parts of the road). The advantage is that you rise quickly, but the disadvantage is that it’s impossible to run up. It’s just too steep, so I decided to walk up to the top where the road hits the Peak Road.

View to the south side of Hong Kong island during my run

View to the south side of Hong Kong Island

There I took a one minute break to check my phone’s map and then started running again in the direction of the Peak. I took the Peak Road until the top because of the nice natural scenery on the south side of Hong Kong island, but taking Barker Road (on the north side of the ridge) would have been much faster. The downside of taking the Peak Road is that there is a lot of traffic as most of the cars and buses to the Peak takes this road.

The Peak - Hong Kong

Finally, The Peak

After arriving at the Peak I decided not to go back right away but to run the 3 km loop around the mountain as well. It was not very busy yet so I could run quite fast, especially because this road is relatively flat. Views over Hong Kong are incredible from up here!

View over Hong Kong from The Peak

Incredible views over Hong Kong from the loop around the Peak

When I finished the loop I realized I had to hurry because we had a plane to catch, so I took Barker Road back to the Peak Road and from there the Wan Chai Gap Road back into Bowen Road. That went very fast, running downhill always means that you can make up a lot of lost time. But I felt that my muscles were hurting every step I took, which was not a good sign.

View over Hong Kong from The Peak

I got back in time to the hotel for a hot shower, a liter of water and a hot coffee, before taking a taxi to the Airport Express. I felt great after the 15.8 km run (in 1:45 hour) and wished I could do this every weekend. This morning my muscles reminded me, however, that I may have overdone it a bit: my legs were hurting a lot and I could hardly walk down the 2 flights of stairs to the breakfast table! But no pain no gain, right?

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  1. Hah, I see you are sporting the Yangzhou marathon shirt! Looks like a great run by the way!

  2. I’ve done Bowen Road and the peak but it’s
    been a while. Thanks for the refresher. I had Garmin GPS but it didn’t have map for
    Hong Kong and I got lost. I could get the
    direction for mu hotel – ShangriLa but mostly depended on asking locals for directions – they were very nice even stopped to ask if I needed help as I was looking at sign in perplexed manner.

  3. i didn’t been to Hongkang ,but in Beijing there are some nice places to morning work-out,no cars and more birds.However foreigners is more sports than Chinese, ps.i am a Chinese.haha

    Does your chinese fluent right now.

  4. Thanks for a great tip for my next trip to HK. Since I run in SHG most of time, I do need some hill work. 🙂

  5. Terrific post, I live I’m the mid-leves and have started going for a 10k run on Sunday mornings from our flat to the end of Bowen and back. Even with the walkers, I find it a good release and never tire of the scenery and people watching.

    Any suggestions in Shanghai for tourists other than the Bund?

  6. Running along the Suzhou Creek in Shanghai is quite nice as well, especially early in the morning (before 7 AM) when it’s not so busy yet. If you have a car a run on Sheshan or Tianmashan (both hills in the suburbs of Shanghai) is also fun. Just check the air pollution levels before you set off…