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It goes without saying that the opportunity to run is always part of a runner’s agenda when traveling to a foreign country. The idea of running in a foreign country elicits a sense of excitement on one hand, as one looks forward to see the famous landmarks described in travel books or shown in Nat Geo, and caution on the other, as one may get lost in translation (especially when the locals do not really speak english) which could eventually lead to getting lost literally.
I was hoping to be able to do some running around Beijing. Being ‘severely OC’ about my weekly mileage, I made sure that I’ve completed all my required tempo and long runs prior to my trip. That way, if my plan to run gets derailed, I would have at least hit 90% of my required distance.
We were booked in The Raffles Hotel Beijing, the hotel is located along the historic Chang’an avenue.
Chang’an avenue is around 50 to 100 meters wide, with ample sidewalks for running. Quite a number of important architectures, such as the Great Hall of People, the National Museum of China, the National Grand Theater, Tiananmen Square, and the gates to the Forbidden City are located along this road.
The hotel is roughly 1.5 kilometers from the Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, so it’s but natural that I plan my run around that area. In my hotel room, while looking for a pen to draw the running route I created while referencing Google Earth, i saw this inside the desk drawer..
The JOGGING MAP… (errr, not a jogger, but a runner) says that the route is about 3.46 kilometers. The route distance was too short for me so I decided to run the recommended route and extend it further by running around the walls of the Forbidden City, the estimated distance should be around 10 to 11 kilometers.
My not so little brother and I started our run by heading towards the Forbidden City before double backing to Tiananmen. The run along Wangfujin Street (A) was quite chaotic, the street was filled with retail shops, and running on this street was like running an obstacle course, there were lots of people.
We ran a distance of about 0.7 kilometers before turning left towards the east entrance of the Forbidden City (B)
The road that leads to the east entrance of the Forbidden City is roughly another 0.7 kilometers, the side walks are much narrower, and one should take special care when crossing the street as Beijing drivers can be quite unruly, be sure to look on both directions before crossing.
The run around the walls of Forbidden City was around 5 kilometers, a moat surrounds it, and this is the highlight of our run, I really enjoyed this part of the run. The park-like environment felt calm and peaceful. The photos don’t really do justice, you have to be there to experience it.
After completing one round around the Forbidden City, we headed back towards the hotel to Tiananmen. The crowd grew thicker and thicker as we approached Tiananmen.
There were just too many people so I decided to turn around, and head back to the hotel. We finished the run in about an hour and six minutes, with a distance of about 12 Kilometers. The average pace was around 5:30 / km.
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