There are two full marathons offered in Hong Kong. The big one is the Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon and the other, smaller affair, is the China Coast Marathon. For most people, it’s a matter of choosing one or the other since they are usually only a few weeks apart. This morning I ran in the China Coast half marathon, my third time taking part in this event.
This week I didn’t feel much like running. Work was stressful and I found myself not getting as much sleep as usual. Running started to seem like a chore and I felt myself slipping back into some old habits. Instead of waking up early to run, there were a few days when put it off until later after work. Instead of drinking a cup of herbal tea and stretching before bed, I found myself sitting in front of the computer, knocking back a few beers, and even dipping into the scotch a bit. I started telling myself that running is interfering with work and causing me more stress instead of alleviating it.
I used to live in Mainland China and while there were many things that I enjoyed about living there unfortunately running was not one of them. Since I am tall and have white skin, it’s almost certain that I would attract attention from people. I remember having to avoid certain hours when the students were getting out of classes or they were on a break because those little kids are the worst at giving out a big fake ‘hello!’ or trying out other phrases that they know. To them it was the most hilarious thing that happened all day but for me it was just annoying. Other people would just stare. I guess I’m a fairly low key person and don’t like that kind of attention. Of course there were other obstacles to running in China, especially in bigger cities like Shenzhen where it’s not always easy to find good routes.
Anyways, here in Hong Kong nobody looks twice at me and it’s great. There are also many places to run, especially up here in the New Territories where there is generally more space. There is a strong running culture here and it seems like there is always somebody out there running. I find it motivating to be part of a community, even if I don’t talk to the people as I pass by. There are also races every weekend during the fall and winter months and it’s great to have lots of options.