Competition in Hong Kong seems to have reached a new level altogether! Firstly, the Tornado record (deadly Wilson 156kms run) was shattered last week by a bunch of superhuman men. Secondly, the Vibram HK100 race (100km) got filled up in just 4 days! And yesterday, a new historical course record was set on the 42km Moontrekker course. What’s happening to the people of Hong Kong? Why this sudden invigorating passion for races? That’s a mystery.
Some photos at the race start
Hong Kong Trail Runners, me, Vivian, Rom, Mikko
The Grand Poobah of Trail Running in HK – Jeremy Ritcey
Another year and another night spent on Lantau Peak taking photos!
MoonTrekker is a very cool racing event held every year in Lantau. My job, as a volunteer, has been to go up to Lantau Peak at midnight and take photos until about 7am the next day morning.
The first time I did it, Lantau Peak was infested with rats. The second time I volunteered, it was freezing cold up there and the strong wind on Lantau Peak (970m) kept me very cold and awake! Yesterday, the conditions were a-okay. Lantau Peak could not have been more beautiful. One look skywards at 1am in the morning and I could see many, many stars and a crystal clear moon. And the 360 degree view of the horizon was equally beautiful but it was a “man-made” kind of beautiful. The lights of Lantau, the beautiful HK coastline, the lights from the Buddha kingdom in Ngong Ping and so on, it made volunteering well worth it!
And so did the racers! Fantastic crowd, excellent organization and plenty of laughs. Speaking of people, Ryan Blair finished #1. I reached Lantau Peak at close to 1am and even before I had time to put an extra layer of clothing on, Ryan zoomed past me. In fact, my flash was too slow for him. I clicked when I saw his face but by the time the camera executed, I could only get his back! I guess this is what you call “disappearing in a flash”.
Ryan before the race
Ryan disappearing in a flash!
Superhuman runners Albert Yung and Law Chor Kin weren’t too far behind either.
Law Chor Kin
Every year, at close to 3.30am, a bunch of kids show up to watch the sunrise from Lantau Peak. And invariably, for many of these kids, it becomes a great first date as well. Yesterday was no exception. A relatively young couple seemed to be enjoying each other’s company much more than the beauty of Lantau Peak or the sunrise! In fact, one curious racer paid them a compliment before leaving the summit. “Nice place for a date, eh?” he said but didn’t get a response as they seemed to be a little too preoccupied with each other!
You ask me, I think the winner of the racer should be a guy called Murray. I will tell you why – Murray actually showed up close to two hours before the registrations began! He was FIRST to get there! And, at about 6.30am the next day morning when most of the racers had completed and I was getting all packed up and ready to leave the peak, I ran down to Ngong Ping and met Murray somewhere on the way down to Ngong Ping.
“Am I in the leading?” he asked. “How many people in front of me? 2-3 people?” he inquired.
I told him that he was the just 2 seconds behind the winner and wished him good luck!
A fit and raring to go Murray
The sunrise – it was picture perfect!
I ran down to Tung Chung at about 7.30am to catch some zzs!
Video of the start of the 40km race.
Video of the start of the 20km race.
Special thanks to event organizers and all participants.
The route takes all participants over Lantau Peak. So my plan was to take photos at the start of the event (there were two starts, one at 2120 for 40Kms and another at 2320 for 20Kms) and more photos of individuals as they crossed the 936m Lantau Peak. We expected them to start crossing from 0100.
So, my middle-of-the-night hike began exactly at midnight! Took me 43 minutes to summit Lantau Peak from Pak Kung Au. I was sweating as I reached the top at 0043 but the 150Kmh+ wind speed on top of Lantau Peak quickly brought me to the other extreme! I had one additional tee shirt and a 7-11 poncho in my arsenal and has to use them both to stay as warm as possible.
The photographs didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. It was way too misty and the flash lit up the mist giving all pictures a ghostly look. Stong Tsang and Ryan were the first to cross (no surprise there).
At about 0130, I had more company than anticipated. About 60 scouts came to the peak to witness the sunrise the next day morning. There was hardly any space left on Lantau Peak. In fact, there was even more real estate demand at 0230 or so when yet another 50-60 strong happy camper group came to see the sunrise. The cold breeze didn’t seem to deter any of them but there were much better prepared for it than I was! There was hardly any standing place left on the peak!
I managed to stay awake and click away to glory until about 0730 in the morning after which my body reiterated its call for two very important things (a) warmer temperature (b) a nature friendly pee [I had to do my part for nature and water the flowers]. But, unfortunately (a) seemed impossible despite the so-called sunrise (some streak of cloud turning brighter than before was deemed to be the ‘sunrise of the day’ by the 100+ strong crowd who were shouting and cheering at this amazing sight). And (b) was out of the question as well. Real-estate demand on top of the peak was already at its highest (even higher than the 6Mn bucks Queen’s cube in Wanchai charges for its 400 square feet flat). Ironically, so called human civilization did not allow me to do my part for nature. So, I had to make a decision to leave the summit. Decided to go to Ngong Ping and caught up with the Check Point 3 guys there.
The volunteering ended officially when I was blabbering to myself (staying awake for more than 28 hours) and had nothing to do at CP3. So, headed back home to civilization.