RUNNING
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Home Run

Tung Chung is a gateway to many great running trails

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 January, 2015, 5:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 January, 2015, 11:17am

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 Lloyd Belcher, 41, takes us to the hills behind Tung Chung and beyond.

I grew up in Hong Kong, and have enjoyed running for as long as I can remember. Although I was a middle-distance track runner at school, it was during cross-country races that I fell in love with the sport.

Parenthood and a busy work schedule made my running adventures irregular, and it was not until my mid-30s, during postgraduate study in Britain, that I laced up my trainers again. Running through the Oxfordshire countryside, I regained the sense of freedom I enjoyed in childhood. Since returning here, I've run everything from half-marathons to 100km races. Last year, I ran my first 160km trail race.

I moved to Lantau as a teenager in the 1980s. Now I live in Tung Chung, where I'm spoiled with a choice of trails. Many are just five minutes away.

My regular trail routes from Tung Chung include running up Lo Fu Tau, Dog's Tooth Ridge, Lantau Peak, or up to Ngong Ping, and then to Tai O.

With family and work commitments, most of my running is done at dawn or by headlamp at night.

For those who prefer road running around Tung Chung, options include the popular route to Dragon House at the airport.

There's also the scenic run along the seafront to Sunny Bay, which is home to the annual Unicef fun run around Disneyland's Inspiration Lake.

But it would be sacrilegious to avoid the hills and run along the mundane flats. Tung Chung is a gateway to routes on Lantau Island, which has the best trail running in Hong Kong.

As proof, in October, Tung Chung will be thrust into the limelight as host of one of the International Skyrunning Federation's "Skyrunner World Series" races - the Suunto Lantau 2 Peaks.

My favourite run takes me up to Sunset Peak, Hong Kong's third-highest peak at 869 metres. I start at the bridge behind Caribbean Coast and make my way to the first climb straight up Por Kai Shan.

It's a real quad burner until you reach the main trail to Sunset Peak that runs from Pak Mong village. Except for the hideous and unnecessary stairs that have appeared recently, this route is runnable in most parts.

There are also the bonus views of Lantau Peak and the sea beyond Tung Chung as you negotiate some of the best single track in Hong Kong.

The halfway mark, and turnaround point, is the trig point on Sunset Peak - the "real" Sunset Peak that most hikers bypass as they continue down to Pak Kung Au. Coming back on the same route, this run takes about 2½ hours.

After a long run, nothing beats a refuel at my family's usual dim sum haunt in Fu Tung Court, the mall next to the MTR.

Scan this QR code to see Lloyd's favourite 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, the best photo will win a prize sponsored by Escapade Sports.

Here's the winning photo for week seven by @hkclairep. Congratulations!

For contest details see scmp.com/topics/home-run