Securing bragging rights by bagging 4 peaks in Lantau
Legendary trail runner KK Chan has several secrets to his success. One of them is a killer 31km training run in Lantau. It goes like this – Mui Wo->Nam Shan->Sunset Peak->Pak Kung Au->Lantau Peak->Ngong Ping->some itty bitty part of the Lantau Trail … AND BACK! We’re talking about something like 2,500m of elevation gain in 31kms. Now you know why they’re such a fit bunch!
We “borrowed” this page from KK’s training book and organized a similar run. 17 runners showed up for this unique opportunity to bag 4 peaks. We assembled nice and early at 7.30am by the postbox in Mui Wo ferry pier. I was about to deliver a prepared keynote speech on Lantau’s rich cultural heritage but I got booed down even before I could begin. What the group found far more interesting was a discussion on how to best wear a Heart Rate Monitor. And, Alice’s revelation on Heart Rate Monitors sparked an immediate widespread interest. She stated an incredible fact which has the potential of delivering a fatal blow to the Vaseline industry while propelling the makers of Heart Rate Monitors to a whole new level. Additionally, it also has the benefit of saving several thousand liters of male blood. Ok, in the interest of complete fairness and unbiased reporting, I have to say that I am not in any way affiliated to either the Vaseline industry or the makers of Heart Rate Monitors. Anyway, enough of this suspense, what she said was -get this – male trail runners can wear their HRM monitors around their nipples to prevent that dreadful chaffing! No more discomfort, no more blood loss, just satisfaction (and an accurate heart rate reading).
Prior to our run, I made the Two Commandments of HKTR Trail Running crystal clear to everyone.
Commandment (1) Thou shall NOT take shortcuts. Under penal code 231.A of the HKTR Constitution, runners taking shortcuts are punishable by death
Commandment (2) Thou shall claim your unlimited 4 peak bragging rights ONLY if thou shall complete the course, take a photo of thouself with the postbox in Mui Wo AND post the relevant Garmin record on the HKTR website
We started our Garmins at about 7.45am. Soon as we headed into the trails from Nam Shan, evidence of typhoon Vincente’s recent visit to Hong Kong was seen all over the trail. Leaves, twigs, broken branches, uprooted trees and plenty of cobwebs were omnipresent on the trail. I was thinking to myself that “Vincente” was such a mild name for such a strong typhoon. It should have had a bad boy kind of name. Something like typhoon “Dragon King”? Anyway, we were lucky with the weather. Some mild showers and overcast skies kept us from overheating.
Simon, Jinhwa and I were the first ones to reach Pak Kung Au. Jinhwa looked like she could run to America and back!
The trail from Lantau Peak to Ngong Ping was particularly slippery. Hopping down those wet gigantic boulders cost me some elegant butt falls.
Upon reaching Ngong Ping, Jinhwa made a U-turn and headed back to bag the remaining 2 peaks while I waited for the group by 7-11 in Ngong Ping. Along with tourist attractions like “Walk with Buddha”, “Talk to Buddha”, “Fly with Buddha”, etc, etc, another key “attraction” today on Ngong Ping was … US! Nine smelly, sweaty runners were most definitely out of place in an area that is clearly intended at milking neatly dressed tourists for money! In fact, when we had our group picture taken, we could have sworn that the Dutch tourist who agreed to take a picture of us said “Smell” instead of “Smile” before clicking the button on the camera!
It was game over for several runners on the way back to Mui Wo. Franck and Simon were happy bagging 3 peaks in one day and left at Pak Kung Au. On my final leg down from Sunset Peak to Nam Shan, some dude walking in the other direction (Jinhwa tells me his name is Matthieu) gave me an epic speech. It went something like this – “Faster. Faster. Come on man! Step it up! The GIRL is way ahead of you!” He was referring to Jinhwa of course. Normally, comments about running fast don’t have much of an effect on me but this guy knew exactly what to say to inspire me to run faster! I shouted something back in my defense and “stepped it up” but despite my best efforts, I couldn’t catch up to her!
The sun also made a strong reappearance slowing down the pace of the group. Eventually, 7 runners – Olivia, Vic, Martijn, Christian, Maggie, Martin and I, secured bragging rights for the day by bagging 4 peaks in 6-something hours.
Unfortunately, my Garmin’s battery ran out halfway so I don’t have a proper record of this run. But I swear I completed it! And good news for those who violated Commandment 1 and took shortcuts – You have been successfully granted Presidential Pardon and shall not be put to death. Instead, you can redeem yourself next week by becoming HKTR’s Ultimate SOB. Stay tuned.