Best 5 Hong Kong running routes

Best 5 Hong Kong running routes

Hard on the heels of eating and making money, running just might be Hong Kong's most popular pastime
best running routes in hong kong

At first glance, Hong Kong doesn’t appear to be an ideal place for a dedicated runner. The streets are clogged, the sidewalks are narrow and the terrain is steep. Not to mention the air pollution.

But somehow Hong Kong supports a vibrant running community. The 2010 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, the biggest running event of the year, drew more 60,000 registered runners.

What's more, there are sanctioned running races scheduled virtually every weekend during the cooler months. These include the venerable China Coast Marathon in January, a substantial list of five-kilometer and 10-kilometer races along Hong Kong’s beautiful and extensive trail network. Other races scale Hong Kong’s highest peaks.

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These competitions are held all over Hong Kong and feature fields that often exceed 1,000, with competitors ranging in age from eight to 90 years old and in ability from casual joggers to some of the best middle- and long-distance runners in the region.

The most comprehensive place to learn about the organized running scene in Hong Kong is HKRunners.

Where to run

Runners in Hong Kong are nothing if not resourceful. We can spot them pounding away on every scrap of pavement: on piers, in parks, and even in the tram lane. Everywhere is game.

But for the most enjoyable running experience we want routes that are scenic, easily accessible and relatively clear of traffic. With this in mind, here’s a primer on our favorite places to run in Hong Kong.

best running routes in hong kongA run that includes slopes, a cemetery and spectacular sea views.

1. Victoria Road between Kennedy Town and Pok Fu Lam Road

Victoria Road begins in Kennedy Town and heads southwest, winding around the lower slopes of Mount Davis. As you leave Kennedy Town, the road pitches upward at about a three-percent grade for about a kilometer.

After this initial climb, it undulates along the coast, offering spectacular views over the Lamma Channel as the road weaves under the shadow of High West and slices through the immense Chinese cemetery.

After passing Baguio Villas and Cyberport, the road ends at Pok Fu Lam Road. Take a right here to continue to Aberdeen or turn around and make your way back to Kennedy Town for a 12-kilometer round-trip.

This route is approximately 6 kilometers. See a detailed map here.

Getting there: Buses 1, 5B, 5X, 10, 101 or 104 to the Kennedy Town bus terminus.

best running routes in hong kongProbably the best waterside promenade in Hong Kong.

2. Ma On Shan-Sha Tin Promenade

Ma On Shan boasts one of the finest waterfront promenades in all of Hong Kong. On a clear day, you can see the eight distinct peaks of Pat Sing Leng towering in the distance across Tolo Harbour.

This promenade also marks the beginning of one of the best (and most trafficked) running routes in Hong Kong. As you depart Ma On Shan, keep the water on your right and run along the promenade. Watch for bicycles on the shared path, but take a moment to enjoy the breathtaking views.

As you continue, the body of water narrows into the Shing Mun River, a channel that runs past Sha Tin and Tai Wai.

For a short run, peel off the waterfront and head inland to catch the MTR that runs parallel to the path.

For a longer run, cross the river when you reach Tai Wai and double back on the Sha Tin side. The route goes as far as Tai Po, making this one of the best long, flat training runs in Hong Kong.

This route is approximately 6 kilometers. See a detailed map here.

Getting there: MTR to Ma On Shan.

best running routes in hong kongHow many buildings can you name in this vista?

3. Lugard Road to Severn Road figure-of-eight

This run combines the most iconic view in Hong Kong with a jaunt along the most expensive road in the world.

Begin at the Peak Tower and run along Lugard Road, dodging all the tourists in the process. Catch your breath as the world’s most jaw-dropping skyline winks at you through the trees then wind your way around the Peak, picking up Harlech Road on the backside.

Harlech ends back at the Peak Tower, but run straight onward past the throngs and the gelato stands and pick up Findlay Road just past the Pacific Coffee location.

Follow Findlay until it meets Severn Road, which boasts the most expensive property in the world. Enjoy the opulence and the views before the road climbs back to Plantation Road.

Make a left and follow it back to the Peak Tower.

This routes is approximately 6 kilometers. See a detailed map here.

Getting there: Peak Tram to Peak Tower, bus 15, or green minibus 1.

best running routes in hong kongGet off the concrete and onto the Hong Kong Trail.

4. Stages 1-4 of the Hong Kong Trail

For a change of pace from running exclusively on cement and asphalt and as a respite from the seasonal heat, any section along the first four stages of the Hong Kong Trail offers a beautiful running venue.

Doing all four at once is a challenging 25 kilometers, but you can easily cut it short at any time since there are several outlets along the way.

The Hong Kong Trail actually begins at Lugard Road on The Peak and following the trail is easy as it’s marked by signposts spaced approximately 500 meters apart and featuring an icon of a male and female hiker in lockstep.

The first two stages of the trail are mostly paved and include stairs, both up and down. The third and fourth stages are mostly dirt, and they undulate quite a bit.

The trail as a whole is not an easy run, but as you wind your way through the canopy of beautiful banyan trees, the exertion seems to melts away.

This route is approximately 25 kilometers. See a detailed map here.

Getting there: Peak Tram to Peak Tower, bus 15, or green minibus 1 for the beginning of stage 1; or bus 6, 41A or 76 for the end of stage 4 if you want to do it backwards.

best running routes in hong kongBowen Road, a favorite of Hong Kong Island residents.

5. Bowen Road

This is the granddaddy of all jogging trails on Hong Kong Island. Bookended by Magazine Gap Road at the western end and Stubbs Road on the eastern end, Bowen Road offers postcard views over Central and Wanchai.

It also happens to be car-free along about four kilometers of its eastern portion. As a result, on temperate weekends, it’s awash with people and dogs, making it a tad congested for an unencumbered run.

However, flat and mostly shaded, it’s an ideal escape for anyone who wants to stretch their legs in the midst of a beautiful, verdant setting.

This route is approximately 4 kilometers. See a detailed map here.

Getting there: Green minibus 9 for the Magazine Gap Road end; buses 6, 15, 66, 76, 19, 41A or 63 -- or green minibus 5, 2 or 24M -- for the Stubbs Road end; or walk up Wan Chai Gap Road 

Freelance writer Jason Beerman has a predisposition for eating food that's served on a stick and sometimes wanders aimlessly for hours at a time.

Read more about Jason Beerman
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