The best routes in Tsim Sha Tsui
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, 33-year-old technology recruiter Vince Natteri shows us the greener side of shopping district Tsim Sha Tsui.
I've always loved nature and greenery, and I first started exploring Hong Kong through hiking. In 2004, I joined a hiking group called the Hong Kong Trampers.
A few years later, I learned that one member, Steven Sparksman, was looking for a fourth teammate for his Oxfam Trailwalker team. Steven took me on an insanely long summer run of around 40km one Sunday to "prove myself". And the runner in me was born.
I lived in Tsim Sha Tsui for more than 10 years until recently. As a running addict, I couldn't start the day without a 5.30am morning run, and I wanted to find a decent running route in the crowded and often very polluted area.
Kowloon Park soon became my running playground. Situated in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, it's a large green park with tall trees that flank running tracks, which extend all the way up to the harbourfront.
The views from here are dazzling. On one side, there's the beautifully lit up Hong Kong Island, and on the other, you see the towering ICC.
My daily route was precisely 12.3km long. I ran this route almost every weekday for four years straight. I started off outside Park Lane, ran up the stairs to Kowloon Park and then headed straight to the undulating running track.
From there, I ran all the way to the end of the harbourfront to get my first glimpse of Hong Kong Island and West Kowloon. Then I retraced my path to the running track. This lap would be around 2.5km. I did four of these laps before running back home to Kimberley Street.
Another running route that many follow is along the Star Ferry harbourfront that extends all the way to near Hung Hom via The Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Space Museum. It's a long, flat stretch with brilliant views of Hong Kong Island.
Kowloon Park has its own sporty schedule. Run early, and you will find determined grandpas and grandmas showing up for their tai chi practice, come rain, sunshine or thunderstorm. There is a CrossFit group that shows up on Tuesdays - during the running part of their session, I compete with them.
The best experience I've had running in Tsim Sha Tsui was one morning during a black rainstorm warning. I have a rule: once I start my morning run, I don't stop because of the weather. I continued running in the pouring rain and the tai chi grandpas and grandmas cheered me on from the comfort of their tai chi hall.
Scan this QR code to see Vince's running route
We are running an Instagram contest as part of the Home Run series. Send your best snaps of running in the city by hashtagging your photos with #SCMPHomeRun. Each week, a prize sponsored by Escapade Sports will be given for the best photo and caption. Here's the winning photo for week two by @grinningman taken at Tai To Yan. Congratulations! Up for grabs this week is a HK$500 Escapade Sports online store voucher. Go to scmp.com/topics/home-run for details