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Hong Kong

Coombe Road
This morning's 10km run went a little better than expected.  I had been anxious about how my arch would be after Sunday's punishment, but although still sensitive, wasn't too bad.  My legs felt heavy, and I wasn't running particularly smoothly, but the time for my usual "garbage" 10km was an acceptable 54 minutes. 

On the subject of "garbage" runs, my favourite over the years is the 13km loop I used to run while working in Hong Kong.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I used to travel there quite often, sometimes for a month or two at a time.  Our corporate office was in the Pacific Place complex, and I usually stayed in one of the adjacent hotels.

Bowen Road
Hong Kong Island has many pedestrian pathways and minor roads criss-crossing the jungle-clad mountains, high above the sky-scrapers and sea.  When I first went there, I was quickly and pleasantly surprised to find places you could run that seemed far away from the hustle and bustle.

A run on my regular course started with turning the air conditioner to maximum power and minimum temperature as I left my room.  The usual heat and humidity, even in the early morning, meant that I returned over-heated and bathed in sweat.  The ritual became to strip off and stand under the air conditioning vent reading the paper for ten minutes or so until I stopped sweating.  Showering immediately after the run was useless, because I would still be sweating when I emerged, no matter how cold the water.

Looking over Hong Kong from near Bowen Road
The course was tough, climbing steadily for the first three kilometres, initially past apartment blocks (my favourite was called "Wealthy Towers"), and then higher along the main road to Magazine Gap.  There, I crossed to the south side of the Island and journeyed along the shady and quiet Coombe Road to Wan Chai Gap before joining Black's Link path.  This paved footpath contoured around a mountain, passing through one of Hong Kong's excellent regional parks, and provided fantastic views to the south coast.  It eventually reached civilisation again and then there was a steady downhill stretch alongside the busy Wong Nai Chung Gap Road past the Hong Kong Cricket and Tennis Clubs.  If I was feeling good, it was possible to fly down this section for a couple of kilometres before turning off on the famous pedestrian-only Bowen Road.

The Bowen Road follows a contour along the jungle-clad mountainside high above the main business district and the harbour.  The hum of a city starting a new day drifts up from below, but is offset by the peaceful routine of the Tai Chi practitioners and the smell of incense from the small wayside shrines along the Road.  In my opinion this is the best city running path in the world.  Again, if you are feeling good, it's possible to stretch out, and enjoy overtaking other runners.  After 4 kilometres of Bowen Road, the course turned downhill and returned to the hotel.