Beyond the skyscrapers and traffic-choked streets, Hong Kong is a paradise for runners. On January 25, some 73,000 people will take part in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. In the lead-up to the race, local runners will take you on a tour of the city’s neighbourhoods, pointing out the best running routes, shops and pit stops. This week Simon Southgate, 45, shows us around Clear Water Bay.
I have always enjoyed running, and while I prefer to escape to the trails, I still get a kick out of a good road run, or even a session on the treadmill. Running clears my mind and gives me a rare chance to escape from the digital world and just think.
Initially, I focused on track and road running, but I have developed a taste for trail running and ultra-marathons in recent years.
From 2008 to 2012, I completed RacingThePlanet’s 4Deserts – four 250km-stage races over seven days in four deserts around the world – and training for those events required me to explore different trails and running terrain. Living in Clear Water Bay enabled me to do most of my running right from my doorstep.
The roads and trails around Clear Water Bay provide runners with everything they need. If you want a challenging road run, Clear Water Bay Road from Tai Hang Tun Country Park to the roundabout near Silverstrand Beach offers you some testing hills. If you prefer a more scenic route, follow Tai Au Mun Road to Tai Miu Au.
The road hugs the coastline and offers some great sea views. When you get to Tai Miu Au you can really practice your hill running by going down Poi Toi O Chuen Road to the seafood restaurants and then turning around and running back up.
Or you can follow the signs to the Tin Hau temple and run down the steps past the ancient rock carvings. Here you’ll be rewarded with more great sea views and some open space for some shuttle sprints.
If running trails is your thing, the High Junk Peak Country Trail is a great option. Some soft wooded trails mixed with a few technical boulder fields provide options for both experienced trail runners and beginners.
There are some steep sections to get your thighs burning, and you can go up the 273-metre Tin Ha Shan Peak.
All along the trail the vegetation breaks, and you are rewarded with great sea views looking out across Victoria Harbour towards Chai Wan, or out towards the Ninepin group of islands (Kwo Chau Islands).
Don a head torch and run the trail at night; on a clear evening the sunsets across Victoria Harbour are spectacular.
By coming off the trail opposite Sheung Sze Wan Road, you can run eastwards along Clear Water Bay Road to Clear Water Bay Country Park, the 1.4km Tree Walk and a couple of brutal staircases. Then follow the Lung Ha Wan Country Trail up and over Tai Au Mun.
The best thing about running here are the options. Linking up the roads and trails gives you a great mix. The worst thing is the trails are getting more popular.
To avoid the army of hikers and the mountain bikers, I recommend hitting the trails before 8.30am at weekends. Also, the trails can be covered with spiders’ webs in spring.
Escapade Sports has now opened in the small shopping complex near Silver Cape Road, so it’s easy to equip and replenish. The small noodle shop at the roundabout at Clear Water Bay Road/Tai Au Mun Road, and the refreshment kiosk near the Country Park Visiting Centre at the eastern end of Clear Water Bar Road, offer good local grub.
There is something for everyone to enjoy in Clear Water Bay. Just don’t tell too many people.
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source: SCMP by Rachel Jacqueline