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Running in Shanghai

Lace up the trainers. Cue Chariots of Fire. It's our runner's primer to Shanghai. Click here for maps of routes and other useful stuff.
2014-07-29 18:03:21

You need to exercise and stop being a drunk workaholic. Whether it's evenings on Yongkang or late nights at the office, we need to burn those extra calories and keep the endorphins pumping. Don’t tell yourself the streets are too dirty. You've walked the city, right? Running is kind of the same thing but faster. Is the air filthy? Well, that's a legitimate concern. Check the US Consulate's website or download this app. Just find a window of reasonably clean air and hit the pavement. Eventually, you might just find yourself making your own paths and running through random alleyways. I salute you. It’s a lot of fun, but for those who aren’t quite there yet, here is a primer.

Click on the images for a detailed view.

The Xuhui Riverside

Difficulty: Easy, Distance: 6.4km (round trip)

A small route, this is a great area in general, complete with a skate park and a free climbing wall. It’s also great for running. The park sidles up to the Huangpu, so you get some picturesque riverside views. Additionally you can scope out the cool contemporary architecture of the Long and Yuz Museums. Also, it's relatively empty, so you won't have to weave around unwitting pedestrians or dodge reckless motorists. It's not always easy to cab it out there, so use hit up the Didi Dache. Or, better yet, bike it. You are, after all, in it to burn calories. The area used to have a Family Mart, but it's closed, so don't forget to bring your own water.

Getting There: Dong'an Lu, near Longteng Dadao (东安路, 近龙腾大道)

Century Park

Difficulty: Easy, Distance: 4.34km

Century Park is an excellent place for a jog. Even if you’re not based in the 'Dong it's totally worth the trek. It's green, reasonably clean and there is a lake. It's flexible, too, with lots of paths spurring off of one another, so you can make your run as short or as long as you like. I like to take the long route, which basically traces the outermost path in the park.

Getting There: 1359 Huamu Lu, near Jinxiu Lu (世纪公园,花木路1359号, 近锦绣路). Or you can take line 2 to Century Park Station. Here is a listing, too.

Suzhou Creek (Route 1)

Difficulty: Easy, Distance: 3.13km

Suzhou Creek can offer two separate light jogs or one beast of a fun run. The areas north and south of the creek have been developed into a variety of boardwalks, promenades and private residences. But there are public routes and the traffic is almost always light. For this first one, if you can take on a bit more, cross the bridge from Changning Lu north and run on Guangfu Lu. It will take you all the way to the Changfeng Aquarium.

Getting There: Wanhangdu Lu, near Changning Lu (万航渡路,锦长宁路)

Suzhou Creek (Route 2)

Difficulty: Moderate-to-hard, Distance: 10.88km

Fair warning for this second route: Suzhou Nan He Lu eastbound (toward The Bund) has a good amount of utility traffic. If you combine this into one long run, connect on Kangding Lu and follow it onward to Wanhangdu Lu.

Getting There: Jiangning Lu, near Yichang Lu (江宁路,谊昌路)

The Boss Route

Difficulty: Heavy Duty, Distance: 9.27km

You will have your senses assaulted, but suck it up. When you finish you will achieve total consciousness. This route takes you through or near Shanghai institutions such as Manhattan, the Nanjing Dong Lu Pedestrian Street, thickets of street food vendors, Xintiandi, Old Town and Huaihai Lu. It's a gauntlet of Shanghai humanity, like knock-off vendors, pan-handlers, oblivious pedestrians plugged into smartphones. Then it finishes at Piro, where you can have a tall, frosty, much-deserved beer. And remember: people waving their hands on Huaihai road – they don’t want taxis, they want to give you a high-five.

Getting There: Changde Lu, near Yuyuan Lu (常德路,近愚园路)