Yuen Long offers secret trails, hidden pools and beautiful scenery
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 Wong Ho-chung, 27, a fireman turned personal training instructor, on some wild adventures near his home in Yuen Long.
When I became a physical training instructor for the fire department four years ago, I realised I had to increase my fitness level, so I started running. In 2011, I took part in the Care Action Race in Sai Kung and finished sixth. The following year I was the champion.
Since then, I've joined the Champion System Adventure Team and I am now a semi-professional runner.
I live in Yuen Long South, near the border. The mountains are 2km from my house. The trails here are very wild - there are few main trails, many short cuts, secret trails and hidden waterfalls with natural pools. When I want to try a new trail, I plan the route before I go, and I always take a map.
Yuen Long is home to some great runners like my Champion System teammate, Stone Tsang Siu-keung, and Gi Ka-man. Yuen Long is very casual, so I will often go straight from my run to the wet markets in my sweaty running kit.
There are very many areas to explore in and around Yuen Long. Kau King Shan is my favourite, as it contains very rough and technical trails with beautiful views.
The trails here are also very quiet - sometimes I can run for more than two hours without seeing anyone. Around Lam Tei Irrigation Reservoir, behind Lingnan University, there is a 5km running loop. I usually use this for speed training.
For steep hill training, there is Kai Kung Leng, the highest mountain in Yuen Long at 585 metres. It is right behind my office and sometimes I train before lunch or after work.
There are lots of road-running routes around here, too, including a 17km road loop around Tin Shiu Wai and a 1.5km loop around Yuen Long Park. There is Yuen Long Sports Ground for track runners, but I find that too crowded.
If you want to start running, join the Yuen Long Running Club. They train around two or three times a week.
If you feel like running in the mountains, you should be properly prepared with a map, food and water, and you should run with other people. More people should explore this area, they will be surprised by the beautiful views and pools.
One of my favourite runs is the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail, which connects Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan. It is 12km of easy trail. I used to run this from my home to Tsuen Wan West MTR station every day.
After a long run, I always go to Nam Hang Pai restaurant, which is just an 800-metre walk from my home.
Scan this QR code to see Ho Chung's favourite run 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.
Here's the winning photo for week five by @markcevans taken in Sai Kung. Congratulations! For contest details see scmp.com/topics/home-run