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2013-05-13 7:28 PM

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Subject: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing

Hey there BTers! I'm headed to Asia for three weeks and a little freaked out about losing my run fitness. I'd love to run if I can, even if that means hotel treadmills, but do any of you have any experience or advice about running outdoors in Taiwan, Hong Kong or China (specifically Beijing). The pollution levels in Beijing scare me so I doubt I'll run there, but what about Taiwan and HK?

Thanks for any tips you have!



2013-05-13 7:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing

If you have an Iphone, there's an app for China air quality. It's called (oddly enough) "CN Air Quality."

 

For Beijing, it provides both the Chinese Government and American Embassy data.  For Hong Kong, it only gives Chinese gov't data.   Personally, I would run outside if the "score" is anything less than about 150.   You may be more or less sensitive to the pollution, so try it out if you want.

Taiwan should be good-to-go.  They have pollution regulations and (gasp!) they actually enforce them.

In Beijing, the Olympic Forest park is an awesome place to run.  It's super-easy to get to on the subway. (Subway is 2 kuai, about 30 cents each way) If I remember correctly, admission is free. Chaoyang park is also a great place to run, but you have to pay 5 or 6 kuai to get in, and there's no real convenient subway stop.  If you can tell me the area you're staying in Beijing, I can give you a better idea of good running spots, maybe.

2013-05-13 8:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing
I traveled thru Beijing not long ago to Shanghai. The air quality in Beijing was sooooo bad, it's gross and you can taste the air. Hard to explain just what it is like there. I could not imagine what running would be like there.

When I was in Shanghai I worked out indoors. That is kinda odd too as they have to keep the building temp within some government determined % of the outside temp. Means the workout room was hot, stuffy and with next to no air flow. Also I saw NO ONE running or biking for exercise while there.
2013-05-14 7:37 AM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing

Depends on where you stay in Hong Kong.  There are people running round on the street at after-business hours.  Although it would still be very crowded.  If you live on the HK Island near the Central District, I would recommend Bowen Road, a small road leading to a job path in the middle of the mountain (Mid Levels).  I run there all the time when I am in HK.

Some other options in this good article here.

If you don't want to run on the street - which may make you stand out odd unless it's close to marathon time - you can try the sports grounds.  Wan Chai Sports Ground has a 400m track.  Relatively easy access by subway (MTR), take Island Line to Wan Chai station, exit A1.  You might want to check availability coz it seems to always be booked up by schools or other groups for trainings.

Causeway Bay Sports Ground, a smaller facility.  MTR Tin Hau station exit B.  Again, check availability. 

You can also check with the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Service Department for other sports grounds. 

 

 

 

2013-05-14 7:43 AM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing

magic - 2013-05-13 9:56 PM I traveled thru Beijing not long ago to Shanghai. The air quality in Beijing was sooooo bad, it's gross and you can taste the air. Hard to explain just what it is like there. I could not imagine what running would be like there. When I was in Shanghai I worked out indoors. That is kinda odd too as they have to keep the building temp within some government determined % of the outside temp. Means the workout room was hot, stuffy and with next to no air flow. Also I saw NO ONE running or biking for exercise while there.

I know what you mean by "tasting air".  I was in Beijing a few years ago, and apparently when I visited the weather was considered nice and air was good.  but I still had asthma attack. 

As for Hong Kong, it depends on which direction the win blows.  In the summer wind can come from the south which will blow the smog back up to Mainland and you'll get clear blue sky.  The down side is it will be very hot and humid.

2013-05-14 10:21 AM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing

Wow, thanks for the fantastic responses, all! I live in the fresh, wonderful green climate of Vermont so I'll probably choke in Beijing. I'll stick to whatever treadmill my hotel hopefully has. As for the suggestions in Taiwan and Hong Kong, I'm pretty psyched, thank you so much. I'm staying in the Kowloon side, but I'll have a subway pass and my cousins there say cabs are pretty cheap. (I feel a little funny taking a cab somewhere to run...)

The heat and humidity will likely make it tough for me, but I'll take it easy and fit in what I can.



2013-05-14 2:11 PM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing
GreenMtnLabbit - 2013-05-14 11:21 AM

Wow, thanks for the fantastic responses, all! I live in the fresh, wonderful green climate of Vermont so I'll probably choke in Beijing. I'll stick to whatever treadmill my hotel hopefully has. As for the suggestions in Taiwan and Hong Kong, I'm pretty psyched, thank you so much. I'm staying in the Kowloon side, but I'll have a subway pass and my cousins there say cabs are pretty cheap. (I feel a little funny taking a cab somewhere to run...)

The heat and humidity will likely make it tough for me, but I'll take it easy and fit in what I can.

I used to live in the HK Island side therefore much more familiar with the area there.  Kowloon has a few public sports grounds and pools as well.  Speaking of pools, if you have the chance, swim in the Victoria Park (Causeway Bay) 50 meter true olympic size outdoor pool.  I think they have open swim time. 

Subway is so easy and will take you everywhere. No need to take the cab unless you are in a hurry. 

When are you going?  July and Aug are the hottest months.  After 20+ years in New England I have adapted to the weather here and really tried to avoid going back in the summer.  Except for the past July I went to visit my dad for his 70th birthday.  The heat wasn't as bad as I had imagined.  I ran on the Bowen Rd path in the morning while I was there.

I ran a 1/2 marathon in HK several years ago in early March.  I train through the freezing winter here. On race day it was 25°C and with 70% rel humidity.  But I survived.

Enjoy your stay and eat some good food for me.

 

2013-05-14 10:43 PM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing
D.K. - 2013-05-14 3:11 PM

I used to live in the HK Island side therefore much more familiar with the area there.  Kowloon has a few public sports grounds and pools as well.  Speaking of pools, if you have the chance, swim in the Victoria Park (Causeway Bay) 50 meter true olympic size outdoor pool.  I think they have open swim time. 

Subway is so easy and will take you everywhere. No need to take the cab unless you are in a hurry. 

When are you going?  July and Aug are the hottest months.  After 20+ years in New England I have adapted to the weather here and really tried to avoid going back in the summer.  Except for the past July I went to visit my dad for his 70th birthday.  The heat wasn't as bad as I had imagined.  I ran on the Bowen Rd path in the morning while I was there.

I ran a 1/2 marathon in HK several years ago in early March.  I train through the freezing winter here. On race day it was 25°C and with 70% rel humidity.  But I survived.

Enjoy your stay and eat some good food for me.

 

I'm leaving in about 10 hours!! Thanks for the tip on the pool. I would love to swim in a 50 m pool! I'll have to see when the open swim hours are.
2013-05-14 11:07 PM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing
The Kowloon Park pool is 71 m from my hotel. Looks like the indoor pools are closed until end of May but the outdoor training pool is open. Only 25 m but hey, better than a hotel pool!
2013-05-17 8:32 AM
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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing

I lived in Beijing for a decade and I did run, not every day, but several times a week (less in winter). Definitely made my asthma worse. But a few runs shouldn't kill you. My main stomping ground was the Old Summer Palace. It's a ways from downtown, definitely best early in the morning before tourists show up. Lots of paths, loops around a big lake, etc. I had some other nice areas--a park up in the hills, and the Jingmi Canal west of town, but I lived at the northwest edge of the city so probably hard to find and inconvenient for you, if they still exist. More centrally, local runners congregate at Yuyuantan Park in the mornings. It's on the main east-west drag, very near one of the subway stops on Line 1, I think Muxidi or the next one west but will check. Sorry--Google Maps doesn't work well from home--will try to give you the details tomorrow.

As for Hong Kong, I remember there's a running path around Victoria Park. There's also a running/walking path around the peak with outstanding panoramic views of the city. Just don't be running up there when a typhoon hits. (Been there, done that.)

Haven't been in Taipei for years but there are several big parks in the city center. Outside of town, there are amazing runs in Yangmingshan National Park. You could see what Hash House Harriers has going--one way to meet local runners.

2013-05-19 3:15 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing
Okay--found the subway map. I think the closest station to Yuyuantan Park would be the Military Museum--Junshi Bowuguan in Chinese. It's a few stops west of Xidan/Tiananmen on Line 1. From the station (north exit) you basically head straight north to the park. From Muxidi you have to get out at the west exit and then head north up the street maybe 200m to an entrance (the east one) on the left side of the street.

To get to Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace), there's now a subway line. When I lived there it was a long bus ride. If staying in the city center, you'd change to Line 4 at Xidan and get off at Yuanmingyuan. Bei Gong Men station might also work--it means "north palace gate" in Chinese but I can't remember if that's the gate of the Old Summer Palace. If it is, the north gate is better for running--fewer tourists, closer to paths around the lake. I used to live about a mile from there and it was how I accessed the park. The good thing about the Old Summer Palace is that it is upwind of most of the city and from the industrial areas, which are mostly south and east of town.

Happy running!


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