I have been living and running in China for 5 months now, and I have to say it has been a fascinating experience.
I made my recent move from Southsea (home of runr HQ) to Jinan in China - a city you may never have heard of, but it’s the capital of its region, a massive urban area with a population in excess of 8 million.
Being an outside runner in this city is relatively unique, as I rarely pass a fellow runner whilst out taking my exercise. This may well be due to the massive temperature variance from summer heat to freezing winter and the bad air experienced at this time of year, so I have to pick the day to tie up my laces with this in mind. In addition, this really is urban running at it’s toughest - the car is king and the pavements are full of obsticles. That said, it is amazing to run here …
The mix of sky scrapers, ever-emerging tower blocks and imposing government buildings is fascinating. If you couple that with the amazing parks and activities that you see there (square dancing, singing, badminton and even sword-fighting) I have no shortage of unusual sights to help the miles go by.
The unique environment also helps distract me from all the glares and pointing - The attention that a western guy, running the streets in shorts always amazes me. I have been stopped for photos, filmed and …. It makes me feel like a running celebratory, I can’t help but like that!
I am lucky to work at a school that encourages its teachers to be fit and active, so was thrilled when they enrolled me into the Jinan Lake Huashan Half marathon. Of all my 60+ races I have ran in the UK I have never experienced a more organised event with an awesome medal and a bulging finishers pack, plus event photos at less than £1 each (available the same day).
So as I return to the UK for a holiday (during my Chinese Spring Festival break), I am looking forward to a run beside the sea again. Secretly though, I can’t wait to get back to the craziness of my Chinese adventure and continue to be that westerner who’s always running the streets of Jinan whatever the weather!
Nathan Jones ... runner, teacher and runr brand wearer.
Thanks to Nathan for showing us what running is like in China and we might have to pencil a little trip to pop over at some point!
If you'd like to share your running adventures with us, then please drop us an email at www.runr.co.uk and you could feature next on our website.