Five Places to Run and Hike
Everyone seems geared up for the season of marathons, runs and hikes in Penang. Su Aziz lists out a few places suitable to train in on the island
Here’s a long stretch of jogging path beside the tarmac road to run on. Virtually empty of cars, the area that has recently developed into a self-contained housing area has very low occupancy. Therefore, its curved 2km long, 4-lane road is rather deserted and quite traffic-safe for runners. Especially for those who plug in their iPods, just be sure to run against traffic where there’s no jogging path. The road is dotted with security guards at entrances to these exclusive homes of around 500m intervals.
Penang Botanic Garden
A mere 15-minute drive from George Town or Batu Ferringhi, Penang’s Botanic Garden is a favourite for those who walk and run. This spacious bit of green lung will ensure an uninterrupted run amidst lush, tropical greens on either tarmac or grassy ground. Seasoned runners of Runners Malaysia recommend either a smaller loop of 1km within the park, a 2km and more hilly one towards Youth Park or what they call ‘Jeep Track’ which is a tarmac road with steep bits that leads you to Penang Hill. The latter stretch may take close to an hour.
Its wide sidewalk does make for a comfortable 2km run alongside the sea. However, do this very early in the morning to avoid interruptions of dodging pedestrians soaking in the sea view and salty air. Also, early in the morning will guarantee you minimum air pollution from vehicles.
Moon Gate, Penang Hill
It seems quite a few popular tracks lead up to Penang Hill and this one’s no different. A favourite hiking trail among locals, this one’s located near the Botanic Gardens and proudly boasts a 7km trek to Penang Hill. Popular among hiking enthousiasts, begin by going through the circular shape cut into the entrance wall and from there on, up Penang Hill. There are steep bits but you’ll be distracted from taking in the abundance of flora and fauna in the place to really notice its challenge.
Hosting the 7km Guang Ming Bukit Jambul Hikathon 2012 in the middle of October, this venue is within Bayan Lepas. The track goes up the hill and offers a view of the southern part of the island at the top. While you’re there, you can enjoy complimentary drinks given to hikers who make it to the top and there’s a donation box should you decide to contribute to the service. There are rustic, stone steps to assist you with the steep bits too.