Jogging the Shanghai Streets

Most people look forward to Sunday morning as a time to sleep in. On Sundays, I personally enjoy sleeping until 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon and pulling myself together in time for dinner. Here in China however, I usually wake up around 4:50am on Sundays to go run. I have found that early Sunday mornings are the best time to run because of the lack of traffic. I don’t have to spend 80% of the time waiting at crosswalks for my light to turn green. I also don’t have to weave in between pedestrians and moped riders on the sidewalk. It is very nice to have the Shanghai streets all to myself. As long as the air quality is healthier than “unhealthy”, I am good to go.

I usually run from our Tohee apartments to the Bund, a distance of about five miles according to Google maps. After I arrive at the Bund, I’ll run a mile up and back the length of the Bund along the Huangpu River and finish at the East Nanjing metro station where I take the subway back to Tohee, a two and a half hour, round trip for a total running distance of about 7.5 miles. Then I usually take a shower and then sleep another four hours until noon. On my runs, I always carry a five Yuan bill in one shoe for the subway ticket and some toilet paper and a wet wipe in the other shoe just in case. I might also carry my iPod for the subway ride home and to check the time. While l like listening to music while I run, I don’t do that here since there is too much going on. Unlike the cross-country trails at Davidson, I don’t have to worry about crossing 40 major intersections during my run, or people riding down the sidewalk on their mopeds.

There are many things I enjoy about running in Shanghai. First of all, the pet dogs in Shanghai are a thousand times better behaved than American dogs. In America, about 99 percent of dogs are incapable of leaving joggers alone. In China however, dogs couldn’t care less about joggers. The dogs here get an A+. Secondly, compared to Davidson, Shanghai is a very big and dense city. There is always something interesting to look at. I always feel a sense of excitement when I run the streets here. Also, the subway means I can explore further out from home because I don’t have to run all the way back. I can just find a subway station nearby and ride the subway seat home.

Of course, my favorite part of running here are the spectacular views on the Bund. The view of the Shanghai skyline with the sun rising behind the buildings is one of my favorites of all time. It makes me proud to be Chinese, and I’m not even Chinese. Having run along the River Thames in London, around the Opera House and Harbor Bridge in Sydney, and up and down the mountains of the most southern city in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina, I can safely say that the Bund is my favorite place I have run. Aesthetically, Shanghai has my favorite skyline in the world, and there is no better place to view it than the Bund. Not only the view, but also the hundreds of other people exercising along the bund helps make it a wonderful place to run. It’s nice to be surrounded by other joggers young and old, local and foreign.

I feel there is no better way to see a city than to jog its street early in the morning before everyone wakes up. It is always my favorite part of visiting new places. Jogging these streets will be one of the biggest things I will miss about Shanghai.

View of the skyline from the Bund. The clouds hid the sunrise this time around.

View of the skyline from the Bund. The clouds hid the sunrise this time around.

The route I take to the Bund. This is the best representation I could find. It's 2014 and Baidu, Yahoo, Mapquest, ArcGIS, Openstreetmap, and Google Satellite view couldn't show me a map of the path one would take from Tohee to the Bund. The best I could do was this unhelpful Google map view that shows 493 unwanted extra routes and a choppy random blue line that somewhat represents a route of some sort. Not to be confused by the rainbow of 32 other lines representing roads and subways that couldn't be removed. I just don't understand anymore.

The route I take to the Bund. This is the best representation I could find. It’s 2014 and Baidu, Yahoo, Mapquest, ArcGIS, Openstreetmap, and Google Satellite view couldn’t show me a map of the path one would take from Tohee to the Bund. The best I could do was this unhelpful Google map view that shows 493 unwanted extra routes and a choppy random blue line that somewhat represents a route of some sort. Not to be confused by the rainbow of 32 other lines representing roads and subways that couldn’t be removed. I just don’t understand anymore.

Here is a fellow group of runners I saw on the bund. I decided to stop and take a photo of the people taking photos of these runners.

Here is a fellow group of runners I saw on the bund. I decided to stop and take a photo of the people taking photos of these runners. They thought I was weird. 

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