#18 – William Sargent talks Snakes and MoonTrekker


In this podcast, local Hong Kong snake celebrity William Sargent discusses his passion for snakes and his passion for organizing races in Hong Kong, i.e. the MoonTrekker. He also scares me towards the end of the podcast (listen to find out how). I also generously offer him some advice on how he can make MoonTrekker even better. Oh, we also (somehow) briefly discuss Katy Perry.

Show Notes:

1) What is William’s favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
2) What got William into hiking and what keeps him doing it?
3) Why did he not move to running?

[As the snake guy]
1) Where did this fascination of snakes come from?
2) Why does he like them?
3) When did he realize he had this fascination?
4) Did he dream of becoming a Steve Irwin growing up?
5) Tells us about the work he has done with snakes
6) How he became the Gov Appointed snake catcher in HK

[HK Snakes]
1) In terms of trails, where should one go in HK to find snakes?
2) What are some of the poisonous snakes in HK?
3) When is a good time to see snakes?
4) What’s the one snake you should fear the most?
5) If one steps on a snake while running solo, what should this person do?
6) What’s the most vicious snake he has seen?
7) Has he ever been bitten?
8) What are some of his most unforgettable experiences with our HK snakes?
8b) Does he go alone to see snakes or does he always have someone?
8c) Does he catch them using gloves?
9) In the movie Pulp Fiction, gangster Vincent (Travolta) tells Jules (Samuel Jackson) that dogs have personality and aren’t filthy. What about snakes?
10) Can there ever be “too many snakes” in HK? Can they become like the Shing Mun monkeys?

[About Snakes]
1) What are some facts about HK snakes that will make someone go wow?
2) Tell us about the Hong Kong Snakes FB Group. Where did the idea come from?
3) Are snakes really deaf?
4) Do snakes piss and dump?

[Snake philosophies]
1) How does he feel about snake soup in Sham Shui Po?
2) What about snake handbags
3) Has he ever had snake soup?

[As a Race Director]
1) Did MoonTrekker inspire his decision to leave a major global publishing firm? Or did the break from the daily routine of a mundane job inspire MoonTrekker? Where did the Moontrekker idea come from? Who came up with the name MoonTrekker?
2) Why does he organize the MT? (a) Pleasure of organizing races (b) Contribution to trails of HK (c) Contribution to charity (d) Making money. In what order?
3) Did he fear that MT would not have been a success?
– how many people have they had running the race in each of the years since it started
4) How did he go about getting Barclays as a sponsor?
5) Organizing the race
– what is involved in organizing races. Walk us through the “behind the scenes” moments
– what is the hardest part of running a race in HK?
– what is the most enjoyable part?
– will he ever go bored of organizing the MT?
6) MT sells out in an hour or so. What would he attribute that to?
7) What’s his #1 key to success as a RD?
7b) There are so many races in Hong Kong now. What is he doing to ensure the continued success of MT?
7c) Does he view other races as competition? For example, Wilson and MT are pretty close by
8) Does he want to organize future races? If so, what does he have in store
9) Has he ever wanted to run MT himself?
10) Tell us about the charity side of things. Why Room To Read?
11) How much money has he raised so far? What did R2R do with the money?

[Personality Questions]
1) It’s been said that you are primarily a night hiker. Why do you like hiking in the night so much?
2) Would you rather organize races, hike or catch snakes?
3) Winning a corporate sponsorship for a race isn’t easy. What quality do you have in yourself that allowed you to get a corporate sponsor quickly?
4) Have there been occasions during the organization of MT that you thought your once boring day job was more interesting?
5) Since MT is your full time job, how do you occupy the rest of your time during the year?

1) For MT runners what advice does he have?

[Parting words of wisdom]
1) #1 key to success in life:
2) What is the creed he lives by?
3) Book recommendations

Best place to reach him / contact

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (!/id994423166).

Music: A big “thank you” to


#17 – Part 2: Conversation with Shane Early about Race Direction and his philosophies


We continue to talk to Shane Early from Lantau Base Camp. In this podcast, we will cover the following:

Career as a Race Director:
1) Does Shane enjoy running races or organizing races?
2) What are the difficulties of organizing a race in HK?
3) What are some of the races organized by LBC? Which one is most popular according to Shane?

1) Does he believe in taking medicines? If so, when and how? Has he taken medicines before during a race in order to finish the race?
2) What’s his belief on alcohol and how it effects racing?
3) What does he think about DNF-ing? He DNFed Translantau 100 in 2015. How did he feel after the DNF?

1) If he could not run, what else would he do?
2) Was doing a 100 miler (HK 168) something he needed to do to prove something?
3) Does he have any strategies for mental training?

As far as running is concerned what are his goals for 2015?

For beginners getting into 100km+ running, what kind of advice does he have?

Lantau Base Camp:
Tell us about LBC. What is different about LBC compared to other hiking shops in HK?

Parting words of wisdom:
1) #1 key to success:
2) What is the creed he lives by?
3) Book recommendations:

The 1928 foot race across America – the bunion Derby – Charles Kastner
Brain Training for Runners – Matt Fitzgerald
With Winning in Mind – Lanny Bassham

Best place to reach Shane

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (!/id994423166).

Music: A big “thank you” to


#16 – Part 1: Talking About Transition to 100 Miles Plus Race Direction with Shane Early of Lantau Base Camp


This podcast will profile runner Shane Early who started hiking/running in Hong Kong around 2010. He graduated to the 100 miler distance (HK168) in 2014. We want to tap into that. We want to learn how a runner who has done 100km before can ease into a 100 mile race. The mental markup, the motivation, the physical training that is required to move on to the next league of races.

The second half of this podcast will focus on what it is like to be a race director in races. What happens “behind the scenes” when someone decides to organize a race



1) What is Shane’s favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
2) What in Shane’s view is his best accomplishment in the field of running
3) Does Shane have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?

Questions for Shane:
1) Humble beginnings: where it all started
2) Road running/trail running philosophy and why he does it. When did he start doing it?

– He won the 27km Moontrekker. What does he remember about the race that stuck out? Training for the MT. How did that come about?
– What was his training program like and how did it evolve?

– HK168 (Nov)

– Tell us WHY. Why the need to do a 168km. The Ricardo story.
– Having done the 168km, has anything changed in his mental mark up? For example, does he now believe he can take on bigger challenges?
– Walk us through the journey of the first 100 miler. What was it like? What happened after the first 100km mark? Was he saying to himself that heck, this is where I would normally stop
– Did he put a lot of pressure on himself to complete? What was the “outside” pressure like on him?
– If someone is hesitant to do a 100 miler but has done 100kms before, what would you tell this person to encourage them to do and pursue a 100 miles?
– Walk us through the race, the preparation, the training, the nutrition
– What music did you listen to on the trails and when?
– How did you manage the not sleeping part?
– What were the up and down moments of this race? Describe the race to us and what more impressed you about the race
– Why HK168 and not the Tornado and why in HK and not abroad?

– Translantau 100 (Mar) 19.38

– One of the harder races in Hong Kong
– What was his experience like after the HK100? Is there something about this race that stands out for him?

– HK100 (Jan) : 15.29

– Was this his first 100km race?
– How did he train for it and what was his nutrition plan like?

– Translantau 100

Training: (physical)
1) How often does he train and how? Can you tell us about your training program? What does it involve? Do you have a routine?
2) Has his training resulted in injuries and if so how does he deal with them?
3) How competitive is Shane? How important is it to him to best himself? Would he risk injuries in order to achieve certain goals?
4) What’s his philosophy on team runs like the OTW? Would he push his team to do better or would they do it “just for fun” ?
5) Does Shane take any painkillers during runs? What’s his philosophy on that? What’s been his most painful run?

Training (mental)
1) How does he do such long distances during painful moments? What’s been his most painful mental moment?
2) What is his philosophy on pain? When does he know when to persist and when not to?
3) What does he tell himself mentally when he has to persist through pain and continue to the finish line?

Nutrition / Gear strategy:

1) How does he do his long runs? Is his cold weather strategy significantly different from his hot weather strategy?
2) Does he swear by certain gear? Hammer/UCAN/Shoes, etc

In Part 2, we will talk to Shane about his experience as a Race Director, his philosophies about certain things like medicines and books he recommends. Coming soon.

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (!/id994423166).

Music: A big “thank you” to

View from Pat Sin Leng (Courtesy Milos)

#15 – Conversation with Phillip Forsyth on Leading Hikes in Hong Kong + Volunteering in Races

Show Notes:
My guest on the podcast today, Phillip Forsyth,  has been in Hong Kong since 1987 and is a very familiar face in the hiking and running scene here. He has lead over 250 hikes with the Hong Kong Hiking Meetup and has volunteered in many, many ultras that are held in Hong Kong.

In this podcast we will talk about a couple of things:

1) we will ask Phillip how the hiking/running has scene has evolved in Hong Kong over the years.
2) we will ask him about his experience leading hikes in Hong Kong
3) finally, we will talk to him and understand the different facets of volunteering in an ultra. We’ll go “behind the scenes” and ask him about a volunteer’s contribution to races

1) What is Phillip’s favorite trail for hiking in Hong Kong and why?
2) As a volunteer/runner in races, which one is his favorite race?
3) Phillip follows a lot of running and races. Does he have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?

Questions for Phillip:
1) Humble beginnings: tell us about your background. What got you into hiking?

“Phillip Forsyth who has led more than 100 hikes for the group, found that joining had a profound effect on his own health: “I lost 40lbs (18kg) in the space of six months after joining the group and hosting hikes/runs three times a week. I didn’t spend one cent on gym membership.“

2) Talk to us about the running/hiking scene in Hong Kong.
– How have the trails changed since he started hiking?
– how are the government’s efforts proving in keeping the trails clean and green?
– When did ultras start becoming a fad?

Experience Leading Hikes:
1) What made him start leading hikes?
2) how did he come across Hiking Meetup?
3) how big of a responsibility is it to lead hikes?4) He has lead some hard hikes and some of the runners we have today have found their start in the HK Meetup. I am an example. Martijn is an example. How does he feel about people graduating from his school and moving onto “further education”?
5) Hong Kong hiking meetup trains and send many OTW teams every year and contributes significantly to charity. Tell us about that. What is his role in training and raising money for charity every year. Tell us about the fund raising and how hiking meet up helps teams to prepare for the OTW


Racing Career:
1) Phillip has done a few races too:
– 100k ultras in Lijiang and Nepal

– is he more of a hiker or a racer? What does he like better?

2) 2013 OTW Japan

Training and Nutrition:
1) Does he have a nutrition strategy? The amount of hiking he has done has gone up or down over the years, why?
2) How does he juggle having his own business versus getting out there?

Experience as a volunteer in races:
1) How many races have you volunteered in?
2) Why do you volunteer in races?
3) Why are volunteers important during races?
4) What are his favorite races to volunteer at and why?
5) Talk to us about different aspects of being a volunteer:
– Providing motivation
– Support (food/drinks)
– First aid
– Providing information to runners (time/distance)
6) Do you wish you’d rather race than volunteer
7) What sort of expressions do you read in people’s faces when you volunteer
8) Describe the sense of responsibility you feel as a volunteer in terms of the overall race
9) Is smiling hard? Would he get bored of smiling and cheering people on?
10) The slow guys at the back – what does he tell them to encourage them?
11) does he remember any particular incidents about being a volunteer? If so what are they?

1) For beginners getting into hiking, what kind of advice does he have?

2) parting words of wisdom or creed Phillip lives by

1) where does he envision his volunteering and hike leadership going?

Best place to reach Phillip

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (!/id994423166).

Music: A big “thank you” to

Speaking to Jeri Chua

#14 – A big dose of inspiration from Jeri Chua (prolific ultra runner with a “running CV” that runs several pages long!) – Part 3/3

Speaking to Jeri Chua

Speaking to Jeri Chua

Continuation from Part 2/3

Part 3/3:

We ask Jeri some personality questions as well as questions about her goals for 2015.

Personality questions for Jeri
1) In her blog Jeri rights about “private conversations with God” as a reason for her earlier escape into running. Is that still the case? What’s her top reason for running? Is she very religious and is being spiritual a reason for her to run?
2) If he gets injured and can’t run, what would he do?
3) What are Jeri’ fears?
4) How competitive is Jeri?
5) What is Jeri’s #1 key to success in ultras?
6) How does she condition herself before a race? Rituals, affirmations, visualization
7) Is she ever scared that she will run out of challenges?

Injury, pain and philosophy on medicines
1) After knee injuries (like the TNF DNF), what does she do?
2) What does she do when he’s in physical pain or mental anguish?
3) Would he take medicines? When/where does she draw the line?

Lessons learnt and definition of failure
1) What is Jeri’s philosophy on DNFs? Does she have any regrets on how he should have done a particular race?
2) TNF DNF in 2011: Knee pain and ankle pain. Did she take medicines or did she just decide to call it a day? She says it was a no brainer on her blog. Was it really one?
3) Talk to us about the 4 trails experience

Philosophy on team runs vs individual runs. Which one is better according to him and why?
– Does she like team runs at all?

– What are her goals for 2015 and beyond?

– Outside of running what are Jeri’ interests? Does he read books about running? Which one is her favorite?

Parting words of wisdom:
– Mantra or motto or creed that Jeri lives by (either in her running or her life)

Best contact info:
– Blog/email

Big ‘thank you’ to Jeri for her time and invaluable advice and inspiration.

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (!/id994423166).

Music: A big “thank you” to