The best running routes in Tsing Yi and Tsuen Wan
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 explore Tsing Yi and Tsuen Wan with aspiring Olympic marathon runner, 26-year-old Christy Yiu Kit-ching.
I've run every distance from 800 metres to the half marathon, and I hold many Hong Kong records, including the junior half marathon record of one hour, 26 minutes and 22 seconds.
Over the years, many people have tried to persuade me to qualify for the marathon at the Olympics, but I've always been a bit scared by the distance.
In 2012, I ran my first "fun run" marathon, and I realised I could do it. Now I've made the distance my focus, and my target is the 2016 Olympics. The qualification time is two hours 43 minutes; my marathon personal best is two hours, 58 minutes and 56 seconds.
But that was my first, and I had recently undergone an appendectomy, and was not fully prepared.
I am now a full-time athlete, although I'm a trained nurse. I run every day, mainly at the Hong Kong Sports Institute or Tai Po Sports Ground, for around four to five hours.
Of all my training runs, I enjoy running from Tsing Yi Sports Ground to Tsuen Wan Harbour the most. I run this route with my husband, Chan Ka-ho, and his running club called Charmsports, which he set up with partner Chan Kwok-cheung in 2008. The club has around 80 runners.
The route is simple and comfortable for runners and has plenty of sea views. Around 800 metres of the route is along Tsing Yi North bridge (Tsing Tsuen Road), which means you have to run close to vehicles, so I prefer running this route at night when there are fewer cars.
Starting in Tsing Yi, you run over the bridge and turn left towards Tsuen Wan. After passing two sets of traffic lights and a small park, you reach Tsuen Wan Harbour.
There is a route along the waterfront, which runs in front of the Tsuen Wan West MTR station and parallel to Hoi Hing Road. At the end, turn around and come back.
This route is commonly used as a tempo or recovery run for running groups in the area like Charmsports and Universal and Athletic Clubs, which have their training at Tsing Yi Sports Ground.
This is another great place for runners to train. It's tucked away on the waterfront, and the track is well kept and quite new.
For more of a nature run, there is about 5km of trails along the Tsing Yi Nature Trails, which run through the dense foliage of Shek Wan and Kam Chuk Kok.
There are also options for those who like trail running in the country parks over the bridge in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chun; Shing Mun Reservoir and Kam Shan Country Park have the popular MacLehose Trail running through them.
I like the way the area is quite flat, but also has some good hills for training. The routes of the Standard Chartered Marathon 10km, half marathon, and full marathon are surprisingly hilly, so I think it's useful to have some challenging hills to train on.
I never leave home without my GPS watch and a heart monitor, which are essential equipment for a runner.
After a long day out training, my favourite place to eat is Wan Kwai Tsuen, a famous Yunnan rice noodle shop at Sze Pei Square in nearby Tsuen Wan.
Scan this QR code to see Christy's favourite route
We are running an Instagram contest as part of the Home Run series. Send your snaps of running in the city, 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 eight by @mandarin_explorer taken in Lantau. Congratulations! Up for grabs next week is an Escapade Sports kit consisting of a foam roller, microfibre towel and T-shirt. For contest details see scmp.com/topics/home-run