Morning Race with the Horses at Happy Valley Racecourse 跑马地马场, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong


The weather was 19 degree Celsius. It would be so nice to continue to tuck myself in bed. But I woke up early from bed on the cold morning last week in Hong Kong just to race with horses at Happy Valley Racecourse 跑马地马场 of The Hong Kong Jockey Club in Hong Kong.

Strange as it might sound, I truly wanted to race with the horses that morning at Happy Valley Racecourse . :) Unfortunately, the horses were still asleep. 😊 I decided not to wake them up from their beauty sleep. Therefore, I ended up running with my Hong Kong colleague who kindly brought me there for the very first time. haha! 

No race with the horses.  But running inside the compound of Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong was such a refreshing, wonderful new experience to me! 



Entering Happy Valley Racecourse 跑马地马场 

I have run 2 full marathons in Hong Kong before at Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in 2015 (click here for the 2015 race report) and 2014 (click here for the 2014 race report). But I have not run during any working trips previously. 

Thanks to my kind, hospitable, wonderful Hong Kong colleague Jonathan who took the effort on an early cold morning to be my running tour guide of one of the most popular jogging tracks in Hong Kong, which happens to be inside the compound of Happy Valley Racecourse, The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

I ran from the hotel I stayed at Morrison Hill Road nearby to a building with small field with many horse statues to meet my Hong Kong colleague. 




From there, we ran on the street around the building until we reached Happy Valley Racecourse's Infield Entrance. 

Seriously! If I were to come here by myself, I would not have found the entrance to Happy Valley Racecourse.  How would I know that a racecourse is open to the public for running?

In my whole life, I have not even been inside a racecourse before, not to mention running inside the compound.

This refreshing new experience really got me excited like a small kid learning new exciting things the world has to offer.

I quickly followed my colleague to enter through this infield entrance going through a tunnel before coming out to a totally new wonderful exciting world of sports facilities smacked inside the racecourse in the middle of bustling beautiful city of Hong Kong.





Racing with the Horses 

Hong Kong is really a country with land scarcity. Even a racecourse smacked right in the middle of the bustling city can be made into multi-functional purposes. It also reflects how efficient and well organised people of Hong Kong are. They have earned my utmost respect!

When I entered the tunnel at infield entrance, I never expected to see a 1.5 km jogging track. It's so so cool!! I was so so excited! 

I was supposed to come here to race with the horses....




But but but.......

Too bad... .the 19 degree Celsius morning weather was too cold for the horses. They were still sleeping inside their nice warm horse barns. And being a nice guy, I didn't want to wake them up from their beauty sleep! hahaha!!!

My colleague then was kind enough to offer me to be my running buddy cum running tour guide to run along this 1.5 km jogging track which was in the inner circle of the racing track. 😋


Can you see how happy I was? Smiling face like a small kid!! First experience to run in a racecourse, of course! The experience was simply unforgettable!



As we ran on the jogging track, he would then show me all the sports facilities inside Happy Valley racecourse, explaining to me some history to the racecourse. We would then stop along the way so that I could snap some photos with the beautiful skyscrapers in the background. Such a great experience!!


Jogging Track and Horse Racing Track

The jogging track was well maintained and scenery was simply breathtaking! I wore my Garmin VivoActive to run and it showed that 1 loop was about 1.5 km.  The jogging track was in the inner circle, parallel with the horse racing track.

As I ran on the jogging track, I could see the beautiful horse racing track, Hong Kong Jockey Club's main stand on my right against the awesome backdrop of famous Hong Kong skyscraper. Such a beautiful scenery!!

Double bonus would be the early morning fresh air and the cool weather of 19 degree Celsius!

I used my wild imagination as if the horses were also racing with me at same time at their respective horse racing track in parallel to jogging track

As we ran passed the podium finish stage, I couldn't help myself but to run up there to take a winning photo - as if I have just won a horse race!!! lol!! (Sorry for my self-entertaining joking spirit when writing this article! Just thought of making it more fun! :))

Horse racing track on the right with the Hong Kong Jockey Club's main stand for spectators against beautiful backdrop of Hong Kong skyscraper. Awesome view!

Another view of Hong Kong city from the jogging track of Happy Valley Racecourse


Running towards the run rise - an energetic run - with imagination run wild as if horses were also racing in parallel. :)

Yohoo! Podium finish at Happy Valley Racecourse winners' stage!! I won against imaginary horses!! lol!



The Green Lung - Football Fields

Hong Kong is really a country with land scarcity. Even a racecourse smacked right in the middle of the bustling city can be made into multi-functional purposes. 

There is a big football field (or I think 2 of them) in the center of Happy Valley Racecourse. It looks like a green lung with its flat surface with soft green grass, surrounded by high rise buildings.

I could see some people playing football, some joggers running on the grass, and some morning fitness enthusiasts playing tai chi.

At that particular spur moment - I told myself I would run on it as well as soon as I finished running the loops at jogging track.


Football field in the middle of Happy Valley Racecourse, Hong Kong



Hockey Field and Tennis Courts

Oh wow! I was lucky to see cross fit training in action at the hockey field on the side of the football field. There was even tennis court there. Amazing! 

cross fit training in action at Hockey field

Sports Recreational Area

After running 3 loops with a total 4.5 km or so on the jogging track, my colleague would like to have his 10 minute body weight Tabata exercises at the sports recreational area.

I could see many other morning joggers doing their stretching, body strengthening exercises there as well. 

I didn't join my colleague in his tabata as I would want to experience running on the nice soft football field. 

So I decided to run free instead............ at the football field next to finish off with my morning run. :)

Morning joggers doing their stretching and exercises

Look at the view - the racecourse, the Hong Kong Jocket Club's building and main stand, and the Hong Kong rise rise buildings. Such a nice combination!! I love it!


fan dancing - traditional Chinese dance practiced by a group of middle aged residents at Happy Valley, Hong Kong



Running Free like a Horse on Green Grass

How could I not run on the soft green grass of the football field in such nice cool morning with fresh air? It was so tempting from the moment I entered into Happy Valley Racecourse. :)

Perhaps I haven't had many chances to run on grass before in Malaysia. All the running and marathon races are on the road hard surface. I remember few years back I got to run 1 km stretch out of the 42 km on sandy beach at Pantai Chenang at The Ocean Island Marathon in Pulau Langkawi. But other than that, I believe all my runs are mainly on the road surfaces.

Running on the grass was such an unforgettable awesome feeling! So soft! So quiet! So bouncy! So knee-friendly!  (got such word? :))

I decided to run and run and run - left - right - diagonal - with no proper direction! 

Suddenly, I felt like a wild horse - a horse that could do anything, run anywhere

I just wanted to continue running and running and running.... there was such strong sense of freedom as I ran on the grass! I felt such strong connection with the nature, with God's creation

I thought of life - my life! And how I wish I could be set free and run like a wild horse too one day!! I would want to really slow down my life and smell the world and admire every single little things in life. 

And now I know how the feeling would be like!! I'm getting there... I hope! :)


I love this picture lots!! Becuase of the green grass against the high rise buildings - what a contrast!
What I try to show through this picture is the modern and the old, the concretes and the humans, the rules and freedom. :) Sounds too philosophical? haha! Don't ask me to explain! lol!





Yes -this is the field!! What a feeling!



Another shot of  Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong before heading back to hotel and work. 



Wonderful 6.5 km "race with the horses" and "run-sightseeing"

Thanks bro for being my running tour guide to Happy Valley Racecourse, Hong Kong!

In total, I ran 6.5 km (about 50 min) from hotel at Morrison Hill Road to Happy Valley Racecourse and back to hotel. It took me 50 min with the photo snapping, etc. :)

I really wanted to thank my colleague as my running tour guide for this wonderful running exploration!!

I was fully satisfied, energized, and happy with the experience! 

One thing I regretted not doing on that particular morning was to lie down flat on the green grass and stare at the sky.

Just lie down there flat silently, peacefully, smelling the fresh air, enjoying the cool weather, looking up to the sky, thinking of how my mom would be in Heaven and how I could run like a wild horse in my second half of life.....

Good - now it has given me such strong reason to go back there to run again during my next business trip or vacation in Hong Kong.


A funny 6.5 km running route at Happy Valley Racecourse. By the way, Sanatorium Hospital is where Andy Lau is recuperating from his horse fall in Thailand recently during a commercial shooting. I like Andy Lau. May he have a speedy recovery! 



If you ever visit Hong Kong - be it business trip or holiday, I would strongly recommend you to experience this wonderful running experience at the racecourse!! 

Who knows? May be you have a chance to really race with the horses!! 😝








Written by Vincent Khor on 2017.01.24

vincent

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