Although NYU Shanghai does not have an official running club, there are a number of students who can be spotted out for a run in the streets of Shanghai or along the trail parallel to the Huangpu River. Many find the idea of taking time from your day just to run crazy, but others have found immense value in the habit, making it a core part of their daily routine.

Zoe Kalamaros, Class of  2025, started running in high school when she joined her school’s cross country team. She decided to join after quitting fencing, a sport she had practiced for many years. Zoe noted that she found herself attracted to the sport because she “likes the idea of how easy it was compared to fencing, where you have all of this equipment. When you run you just need your shoes and your clothes and you can do it anywhere.” Since then, running has become something “implemented into my routine and [that] I kind of need for my own sanity.” In a typical week Zoe runs every day except Sunday, for around 8 kilometers on strictly running days and 3.2 kilometers on days when she also hits the gym. She is currently preparing to do the Shanghai International Half Marathon in April. Her long-term goal is “to keep doing it as much as I can, as long as I can.” In Shanghai, the Bund is her favorite running spot whenever she is able to make it all the way out there. 

Running is also a very important part of the day for Alexandra Greer, Class of 2025. As an early morning runner, her routine starts the night before, by making she goes to bed by 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. so that she can wake up at sunrise around 5:00 a.m. While it is still dark out she throws on her running shoes and heads out, usually to the path along the river. To no surprise, she rarely runs into anyone else at this time. She loves how at that time it feels like the “world is still asleep” and that she is able to enjoy the view of the sunrise mid-run. During her run, Alexandra will usually listen to music or a Chinese podcast. She loves running “because it’s freeing for me…, a break from whatever else I am doing in life.” Additionally, she finds running to be a constant in life amidst all the changes. As a native to Colorado, the Boulder Boulder, a 10 kilometer race that takes place every year, is something she has been doing with her family since as long as she can remember. Like Zoe, Alexandra’s goal with running is to be consistent and intentional about making time to do it everyday, something that she finds as a driving motivation to keep up with it. 

For Henry Zhang, Class of 2025, however, running is less of a daily routine and more of a means to maintain fitness. Throughout high school he was very active in playing sports, though it was not until college that he started “running for the sake of running.” He explained that he generally feels motivated to run “when I feel unhealthy or I feel like I need to be doing something.” Recently, he likes to go out for a run between classes if the break is long enough. While he would say the path along the river is the preferred route for a run, he also notes that sometimes “if I am not running for the sake of going down a path, I’ll just run to do something I need to do and then run back.” Last year when the dorms were still located in Jinqiao and local regulations required regular PCR tests, Henry would sometimes run to a 24 hour testing site that was about 3.2 kilometers from the dorm in the middle of the night. As a slightly competitive person, his goal with running is to get faster, although participating in serious races like the half marathon is something he would only be interested in doing with friends. 

As a way of connecting with runners in the NYU Shanghai community, Zoe created a group on the app Strava, which allows you to track your runs and view the activity of others. Whether going out everyday or on occasion, Alexandra affirms that “if you want to become a runner, it’s something that is self proclaimed… as long as you just start doing it, you are a runner, and a part of this community.”