This morning we ran in the Terry Fox memorial fun run. Since the race started at 9 am on a Sunday morning, at a park on the outer edge of the city, I did not expect many people. As it turned out, at least a thousand, maybe two were there. Like many things in China, it was different than I expected.
Most of the people were there as part of their business. I could tell by their large colorful company banners. Many of the groups also had their own coordinated hats, mini flags, towels, even inflatable ‘clackers’ that you would see at a sporting event. As the race started people continued running in groups under the banners.
Century Park is the largest in Shanghai. It is almost to the end of the subway line in Pudong, the newest part of the city. I was expecting something a little bit rustic. Instead there were beautifully manicured hedges and flowers, surrounding a large man made lake. There were small snack shops selling popcorn and soft drinks every quarter mile. We ran by elaborate topiaries in many colors and a garden full of bonsai trees. It is clear who has won the battle between man and nature in this park.
The run participants spread out on all of the available paths. Some of the paths cut off about half the length of the course, but that did not seem to be a problem. At times the runners with the ten foot wide company banners would lead their groups past slower moving groups. Some groups would slow down to catch their breath, and then sprint forward once again. This went on in somewhat chaotic fashion for about 4 kilometers.
Henry and Jack bounded ahead while Frances and I stayed in the middle of the surging and sagging groups. I don’t know if it was really a workout, but it was fun for all of us.