The best of Discovery Bay
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, 40-year-old mother of two, Emma Bruce, takes us on a journey of her sporty neighbourhood, Discovery Bay.
Apart from jogging as a teenager, it wasn't until a friend asked me to join the Discovery Bay 10km race in 2006, that I thought about running. I didn't know if I could run that far.
My first training run was 4 km, and I built up from that. I started doing triathlons, and eventually I got into trail running. That's my passion. I love the freedom and serenity that comes with running on the trails, it's where I get my mojo.
Discovery Bay is a great place to run from, and around, as there are many quiet roads. The Discovery Bay 10km Run for Charity is held here each year. It's a pretty hard race as it is quite hilly, but it's a great community and charity event - this year was the 10th anniversary and they raised HK$186,629. [Editor's note: Emma was also the first female, in 42 minutes 20 seconds].
If it's trails you are after, a couple of steep routes out of Discovery Bay give you access to the rest of amazing Lantau. The easier option is to take the concrete trail through the old village of Nim Shue Wan and drop down onto Mui Wo beach.
From there you can hit the Lantau Trail, and find many options. Another way is to head up Tigers Head (Lo Fu Tao) and run along a beautiful track with stunning views towards the Olympic Trail. From there you can join Mui Wo on the south side of the island, or head to Pak Mong and the north side of the island and into Tung Chung.
Discovery Bay is teeming with runners, triathletes, cyclists, ultramarathoners and all other kinds of crazy overachievers.
The Lantau Buffalos is our local multisports organisation. Members post messages on a forum for regular weekly training sessions, such as beach circuit training, pyramid of pain hill repeats on the bike and trail runs. Discovery Bay is home to elite runner Thomas Kiprotich.
Sports World in Discovery North Plaza has all your running needs - gear, shoes, equipment and nutrition. For a good post-run meal, I actually prefer to cook at home.
After a run we often pay a visit to a farm called Grandpa's Kitchen near Nim Shue Wan, which is run by a lovely local couple. We pick up some produce, like lettuce, Chinese veggies and herbs.
I'm in a busy phase of my life, and it's hard to squeeze in my running. I tend to sneak out early in the morning for a run while everyone is sleeping. My favourite quick and easy run is to go up Tiger's Head to the Olympic Trail, loop through Mui Wo, then go back to Discovery Bay past the Trappist Haven Monastery. It's approximately two hours, depending on your fitness and the weather.
I like it because there is a bit of everything: steep trails, technical sections, stairs, lovely views, a beach, and a steep, downhill concrete trail to blast home.
It's great having the trail right there outside my house.