Newcomer explores Hong Kong by running, and is spoilt for choice of trails
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 we join recent Hong Kong arrival, Jeri Chua, 39, a magazine editor, as she explores her new city by foot from her home in North Point.
I found running through triathlon. Growing up, I never really ran, preferring to rollerblade or play roller hockey instead. At university, I took up triathlon, and running came as part of that.
My first marathon was part of an Ironman. I was a road runner for several years until I was introduced to trails and ultra marathons. I did my first ultra in 2009; it was a painful, but satisfying introduction to what is now my core sport.
Living in North Point, I love the fact that I can be on the trails and away from the bustle of the city in 15 minutes. The proximity to urban areas still surprises me; you feel like you're really getting away from it all up there. The views are incredible, and never fail to put a smile on my face.
There are lots of running options here. I never had that when I lived in Singapore. You can head up Mount Parker Road for a long, ambling climb - it makes for good hill repeats. If you're after some hilly runs, Mount Butler, Jardine's Lookout, Violet Hill and The Twins offer a great workout and views - there's always an eagle or kite lazily circling the peaks.
Take the jogging track from Po Luen Path and the trail to Kornhill for an easy, flat run. There are so many different routes, I find I can adapt the length to suit how I feel that day.
My favourite run starts from a small local park, up 512 steps (yes, I've counted them) through Pacific Palisades, past a school and on to the Po Luen path. Still climbing, the concrete stairs lead to a flat jogging trail. I follow this path to Sir Cecil's Ride.
It starts climbing again as I join the Wilson Trail and take a left up the stairs towards Siu Ma Shan. I follow the trail and turn left at the T-junction to Mount Butler (Pat Na Shan).
I normally take a few minutes to soak in the scenery before a quick descent to Mount Parker Road. You are spoiled for choice from here: a run up towards the observatory, down the Boa Vista trail, or straight down Mount Parker road to Quarry Bay.
I take the latter, opening up the legs before turning right along the path to Kornhill. My route ends at the end of Wilson Trail Section 2. I usually jog down through the estate towards Kings Road.
On Sundays, I'll aim to finish my run at Island East where they hold the Island East Markets. There's always something delicious or interesting to eat. I have discovered a little sports store in Fitfort at North Point that is surprisingly well stocked with running gear, despite its compact size.
Running is the way I find balance. Being able to squeeze in a run on a long, tiring day reminds me of life's simple pleasures. I like the way running distils everything down to the basics again; it's my way of finding a happy place.
Scan the QR code to see a map of Jeri's favourite route