Nov 23, 2011

A different kind of trail run

This past weekend we decided to explore a somewhat nearby town called Chengdu. It was going to be a weekend to explore the city and its somewhat close surroundings. We managed to arrive late friday night via bus. 4 hours bus ride form Yongchuan. We got ourselves set up at the Traffic In Hostel and then cruised along the river, past the night clubs, enjoyed some fine fried noodle street food, hung out at the local pub by our hostel and called it a night.

Saturday morning Andrew and I went for an hour run along the river. It was a beautiful fall morning and many chinese people were already out and about. We found out later that we were fittingly running on the fitness trail! We then walked ALL DAY to temples (Wenshu and Green Ram Palace), shops, parks, and coffee shops. We found a great little alleyway with tons of coffee/tea shops, little funky bars, restaurants and a couple of outdoor shops, we loved it! After a full day of walking and seeing the city we spent the evening on Jin Li street, a touristy food and shop street full of lights and people. Not really our thing but a fun experience to check out regardless.

Sunday morning, we went out to check out the Panda Breeding Centre. I really wanted to check it out as Chengdu is really known for this centre and the pandas. We had gone with the hostel bus to make it simple and ensure that we would make it back in time for the hash run. The breeding centre is large with lots of walking paths, and happy cute pandas. We walked around, took photos, and hung with the pandas all morning.

I've been craving some trail running ever since we landed in china. We have found some dirt roads and short trails among the bamboo in Yongchuan, but nothing that has satisfied my craving for some good trails. A couple weeks back, I found out that Chengdu had a hash harriers running group every second Sunday. After some emails, I found out we were able to get to Chengdu for one of their runs and made a trip of it. We made it to the meeting spot no problems. I had never been on a true hash run so was excited to see what it was all about. We enjoyed a cold beverage while we waited for more people, buses, and t shirts. About 60 people showed up for the run, a good mixture of expat and chinese. They drove us about 1.5 hours out of the city to a small farm village. After some explaining, beer drinking and bathroom needs were finished they let us free to follow the flour markers and yell ON ON. It was good fun running through farmer trails, animal trails, and there was even some "bushwacking". It was just over an hour run with lots of sprinting for us as we stayed out front. We got a good workout as we ran through various intersections trying to find the correct trail to continue while others strategies were to wait at the intersection until one of us keenrs yelled out the correct route... Unfortunately, our statistics of choosing the correct trail was about 1% so we had lots of extra sprinting to do in order to get back in the front group. After the run there are some charges to be dealt which involved chugging beers and getting flour thrown on you. The whole experience was fabulous and we loved meeting new people, running on trails, and getting out into the farm land but we needed to get back to Yongchuan for work the next morning and it was getting close to night time by the time we left the spot.


We luckily managed to catch the night train home (long story) and we will be back to this great city and back to participate in the hash run.

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

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