Though many Shanghai runners opt for treadmills or loops round parks, there are more interesting runs which don’t mean jostling with crowds and running through traffic.
Time Out picks out three of the best.
Distance 4.25 miles
In a nutshell This spanking-new riverside walkway is the best place in Shanghai to really run. Located where Xuhui meets the Huangpu, it’s part of a big Expo-backed development plan for this area – as the roads are brand new you’ll struggle finding them on a map. This makes it ideal for runners; other than the odd stroller there’s no one here and there’s even a specialised running tarmac to jog along.
Route Start at Chuanchang Lu metro station, on line 7 (you can also run or bike here from the French Concession by heading down Dongan Lu, the south extension of Wulumuqi Lu – it’s 1.4 miles from Zhaojiabang Lu). From the metro station, go south down Dongan Lu, passing a Lotus supermarket on the left.
After a quarter of a mile you’ll hit Longteng Lu. Cross and you’ll find Xuhui Riverside Public Open Space, a wide walkway complete with water features and bright flower beds which used to be the Jiangnan shipyard, established in 1865. Find the maroon running tarmac and turn right, heading south along the Huangpu River.
Almost immediately you’ll come to Longhua Port, with a big torch-cum-lighthouse structure. Run under the bridge and continue south along the boardwalk and the narrowing Huangpu. You’ll pass towering 40-storey, gold-turreted apartment buildings on the right. At the end of the walkway simply turn back and retrace your steps, passing rock climbing walls and basketball nets just north of the port, as well as bright red dock cranes. The run north is the highlight, with stunning views of the arched Lupu Bridge and the Expo Zone C across the river. When you’ve gone as far as possible, double back, finishing at Chaungchang Lu metro station.
Distance 6.8 miles
In a nutshell Though Suzhou Creek isn’t as good for jogging as it looks on the map, with many un-paved stretches, much of the area around the pretty Mengqing Park has been made into pedestrian walkway, meaning this route is pretty much uninterrupted.
Route Start at Zhengping Lu metro station on lines 7, 3 and 4 (a ten minute cycle north of Jingan Temple at the top of Changde Lu). Take exit 5 and head south towards the creek, passing a crumbling mansion. Turn left at the mansion, and head east, joining the willow-fringed creek-side path just after the pedestrian bridge.
Follow the path until you’re forced onto Guangfu Lu, glimpsing Tesco across the busy junction. Follow Guangfu Lu for about 300 metres, passing the neoclassical Shanghai Mint on the left – though it’s now looking shabby, it is based on the grand old Philadelphia Mint, and was built in 1923 to honour the Americans who sold Chinese minting equipment.
Cross the creek and turn left at the bottom of the bridge on to Yichang Lu. Head east and you’ll soon come to Mengqing Park (open 8am-8pm daily) which used to house the Shanghai Beer Factory. Go in the main entrance, which is the second entrance along Yichang Lu, and head to the start of the 800-metre track on the right – it clocks the metres as you run through the trees. Leave the park the way you came and continue east along Yichang Lu, arriving at the Zhongtan Lu bridge and the graffiti-ed walls of Moganshan Lu. Cross ZhongtanLu, skirting right to hit Monganshan Lu, and follow the paint-splattered pavement past M50.
At the end bear right and go under the bridge onto Xi Suzhou Lu, on the south side of the creek. Jog about 300 metres to the Haifang Lu pedestrian bridge, cross and continue east – the north side has been developed into a pretty park, and is much nicer than the south. When you get to the first bridge (Hengfeng Lu), turn around and retrace your steps.
Distance 6.4 miles
In a nutshell This route traverses three different parks as well as Suzhou Creek, and can be extended at two places for the ultra-fit.
Route Head to the main entrance of Zhongshan Park on Changning Lu, just down the road from the metro station. Take the path immediately in front, which crosses a bridge and goes north. Once at the back of the park, follow the exit signs out onto Wanhangdu Lu – the gate of East China Normal University’s Political Science and Law department is opposite. Turn left, heading west down leafy Wanhangdu Lu until the road meets Suzhou Creek. Go under the red-arched Kaixuan Lu bridge, listen for the rumble of metro lines 3 and 4 passing overhead.
At the next bridge (the Zhongshan Lu elevated highway runs above it), take a quick left and go up the blue-railed stairs on to the traffic-heavy bridge – not the nicest part of the run but the gentle downhill slope to the north side of the creek makes up for it.
At the bottom of the bridge the imposing grey-brick gate of the East China Normal University campus looms large on the left. Once inside the tree-lined campus, jog straight for about 300 metres, crossing a small stream. At the second stream (actually a lake), cross the bridge and head north, following the lake. Soon there’s a running track on the left: enter through the cage-like entrances to extend the run. Otherwise continue to the end of the path, turn left past the basketball courts and then right on to Gongqing Lu which leads to the campus exit.
Across the bustling market on Zaoyang Lu, is Changfeng Park’s gate 2. The best part to run is the path around the lake – to find it go left upon entering the park, cross the bridge and head straight. Loop the lake before heading back the way you came.