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Running in China

Olympian Reid Coolsaet blogs about his recent running experiences in China.

I was only in Hong Kong for two days, so I tried to squeeze a lot in, thinking that when I went to Macau for five days I could take a couple of days and just relax. In Hong Kong, I checked out Causeway Bay and Mong Kok.  Both places were very crowded with signs and stores everywhere.  I got a good track session of 800′s and 400′s and started to get used to the heat in this part of the world (much different climate than Japan).

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I took a boat from Hong Kong to Macau and then jumped in a cab.  I kept showing the driver the name of the hotel on my phone hoping he would recognize it because he didn’t speak English.  Each time I tried to show it to him he kind of laughed, probably like I would do if someone kept showing me their phone with Chinese symbols. Then he asks for my phone again and takes out his reading glasses. “Oh yes,” he says. Really man?!

Macau is a pretty crazy place but not nearly as crowded as Hong Kong. Macau has some older parts with distinct Portuguese architecture (there is also Portuguese on all the signs). Macau also boasts five of the 10 largest casinos in the world, including the biggest, the Venetian.

Cotai Strip

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Venetian

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Old Macau. Largo do Senado

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Indoors at the Venetian. Fake sky and all.

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During the light projection show, put to music.

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Macau also has some really nice trails for running.  There are three dirt trail loops on Taipa (southern island of Macau) that are pretty good.  All of the trails trace the perimeter of 100-175 m high mountains. The longest one is about 7.5K (plus another 1K side loop).  All of them have great footing, spectacular views and a bitch of climb to get up there.  THe 7.7K loop, Coloane Trail has a nasty 1K uphill. Once you get up to the trails they’re pretty flat.  The only thing I didn’t care for was a Bamboo Viper on the path one day, after that, I didn’t pay as much attention to the scenery.

Travelling from Macau to Zhuhai, China, was easy as they are practically one city divided by the Chinese border. (Macau is part of China but, like Hong Kong, it’s “special administrative region” where you don’t need a visa to visit). I took a cab, and walked across the border (which pretty much everyone does).  It would have been cool to drive across to see how they transfer you from driving on the left hand side to the right hand side of the road.

I’ve been told (and believe it) that Zhuhai is one of the nicest cities in China. There are a lot of palm trees, nice buildings, pedestrian paths and open space here. I took a course tour today, also to just check out the city while staying off my feet.  The course seems pretty flat and doesn’t have too many turns, however the heat and humidity will likely affect times.

Zhuhai

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Tons of Macanese travel to Zhuhai to shop for clothes and electronics (many more mainlanders go to Macau to gamble). I walked around Gongbei market (main shopping area) for a while yesterday and couldn’t believe how cheap some of the things are, even before you haggle for the best price. There are good quality (maybe even real) items and blatantly fake items too.  There are also tons of purses, wallets and watches and sometimes the brand names aren’t spelled correctly. G-Shors, Dehsiol, Braka (Prada)…

Speaking of purses, men around here love their purses.  And I would normally call it a handbag on a man except around here the guys have leather bags (Louis Vuitton, Coach, etc.) that look like purses women carry. I was told in the market that I should purchase a handbag for all my stuff I was carrying around (wallet, money, phone).  I agree with the functionality of the handbag but a simple black would do just fine.  Have a look.

The size of this guy’s phone is actually more impressive than the purse.

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There is a big contingent of Ethiopians and Kenyans here for the Zhuhai half-marathon.  As far as I can tell there are no other elites from the North America, Europe or Australia.  I’m not sure who the Chinese have racing but I expect it to be about 10 Africans (and hopefully myself) in the lead pack. Twitter is banned here but I can update Twitter through Instagram so I’ll try and get something out after the race. I’m not sure if the race website will have live results.