Doing the podcast with Steven Carr

#7 – Steven Carr (Road runner -> Trail runner / Race Organizer)


Doing the podcast with Steven Carr

Doing the podcast with Steven Carr


Show starts off with the “Tailwind Trail Tip”  –  Three Tips for Downhill Running by John Ellis


Who’s Steve?

1) Very serious guy. Very hard to get him to laugh. No, I am kidding. Steven is a guy who decided one day that with all the people surrounding him being very healthy and very fit, that he wanted to do better. As he puts it in his blog, “it is quite simply a vendetta against all the people who have done better “athletically” than him”. A inspirational story and a guy who has a great sense of humor

Over to Steve:
1) Where is Isle of Man and is it a tax haven? Does Steve have billions of dollars hidden there and is he running from the law?
Nope! He says he doesn’t. But, who knows!
Quick questions for Steve:
1) What is Steve’s favorite trail in Hong Kong and why? Also, what’s his favorite race in Hong Kong?
Ma On Shan ridge. This is on Stage 4 of the Mac. Like Lantau 70 and Hong Kong 100
2) What in Steve’s view is his best accomplishment in the field of running?
Hong Kong 100
3) Does Steve have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?
The very famous Andre Blumberg. Very accomplished yet very humble. Also, Jeri Chua and Rob Krar

Humble beginnings including time scale:

“Before we listen to somebody we want to know who they are”

1) What is Steven’s story? (Touched upon it in the intro but want to hear from his own words). When did he get into running?
Decided to shut people up by doing the London marathon.

2) Talk to us about the half marathon.

“I woke up around 5. I put my running clothes on. Had breakfast; bananas, coffee, water, some Weetabix. Packed my bag. Bananas. Lots of bananas. I then went to the bathroom and proceeded to vomit for around ten minutes. What on earth was I doing?!? I hadn’t trained properly. I hadn’t even thought about this in any kind of depth. I was not ready. I couldn’t do this. I had to do this. I couldn’t not do it now. I had raised the money. My parents had come to watch. I had people waiting for me on the course. I will do it. I will finish it. I will survive.

5:35:21. The last six miles took one hour and forty five minutes.

How did he manage to finish despite vomiting? And, more importantly, what made him not give up?

What’s happened since the humble beginnings?

1) Why does he want to run and how big of a difference is trail running to him when compared to road running? Which one does he prefer and why?

Prefers Trail Running for sure now. Moved to Hong Kong, followed his wife Micheala around who runs. Friends who kept talking to him about runs got him into running. He decided to shut them up by knowing and doing more
1) Aside from his major accomplishment he already spoke about, what are some of of his other accomplishments? Talk to us about HK100 (2014)
After giving up at the 37km mark on the Lantau 70 race, he decided to work on his training. His trainer made his training process more efficient. Worked on nutrition (used Tailwind on HK100), focused on regular runs, better gear and was prepared as to what he was going to do every 10km of the race. Andre told him to call him when things got tough, before he could call his wife so Andre could get him to shut up and move on


1) How does Steve define failure?
As a teacher, doesn’t believe in failure. Only in taking lessons. Writes lessons down

2) What’s his philosophy on DNFs?

No problem with them so long as you learn from it

3) What lessons has he learnt from his “failures”?

On HK100, better training, nutrition and planning

Philosophy on pain:

1) What’s his philosophy on pain? Will he take medicines to finish a run? What’s his philosophy on medicines?
He will not take medicines. Pain is temporary, glory is forever. Makes a rational decision to continue despite pain

Nutrition and Alcohol:

1) What about his diet? Is there something he avoids?
Likes to cook. Now uses Tailwind

2) What’s his philosophy on alcohol?

Hard challenges with alcohol, decided to stop drinking and John joined him

Mental Training:

1) What about the mental aspect of things? Does he have a recorded speech he’d give himself when he is suffering mental anguish?
Not particularly. When he comes across tough situations, he has learnt to persist by looking at the situation rationally

2) Philosophy on team runs vs individual runs. Which one is better according to him and why?

Individual runs. Isn’t sure about team dynamics just yet

Nutrition and gear:

1) Talk to us about favorite gear plus nutrition strategy on an ultra

Nike shoes, Saloman bag


1) What are his goals for 2015 and beyond?
STY and a 100 miler in the future! Leadville or Western States (Thanks to Andre)

Career as a race director:

1) Talk to us about Hard as Nayls. What is it about? Why did he choose to get involved?
Got talked into it by Richard Scotford

2) What are the challenges of organizing a run?

Permits, people, volunteers, sponsors. He has the gift of gab. Was able to convince sponsors

3) Did he enjoy the challenge? Some guy fell down and hurt his head in the last bit of Hard as Nayls. How did he cope with that? How much stress is involved in being the race director?

Can be stressful. Had to learn to separate that incident and be rational about it

4) Would be rather be known as Steve, the ultra runner or Steve, the race director?

On that particular day, Steve, the Race Organizer
Lessons learned:
1) We spoke about lessons learned as a runner. What about lessons learned as a race organizer
Know many people. People are what make the race special


1) Outside of running what are Steven’s interests? Does he read books about running? Which one is his favorite?
Cooks. Reads books. Recommends Status Anxiety by Alain De Botton
Parting words of wisdom:

1) Mantra or motto or creed that Steve lives by (either in his running or his life)

Doesn’t believe in problems. Sees only challenges. Don’t hang around with negative people

2) For someone who views Steve as a role model and intends to start running, what advice would he give to this person?

Be sensible! Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! Do your research

Best contact info:

1) What is Trail to a 100 miles?

2) What is the best way to reach him?

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)

Episode 6 – The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (Blabbering with 4 runners post a 32km run)


  • 32km insane run. Insane because of the heat! Terribly hot. 37 degrees as on Rupert’s watch!
  • Average speed 4kmh ?! We would have been disqualified on the actual race!
  • Saw a turtle!
  • This podcast is mainly me about me blabbering with the 4 finishers post the run! Don’t expect any meaningful takeaways!
View from Pat Sin Leng (Courtesy Milos)

View from Pat Sin Leng (Courtesy Milos)

Turtle in shop as you go towards Sha Tau Kok

Turtle in shop as you go towards Sha Tau Kok

Group photo

Group photo

Old village house (Courtesy Milos)

Old village house (Courtesy Milos)

By one of the blue beaches (Courtesy Milos)

By one of the blue beaches (Courtesy Milos)

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

John and I doing the podcast!

Episode 5 – The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (Interview with Hong Kong’s elite runner John Ellis)

John and I doing the podcast!

John and I doing the podcast!

Show Summary:

In this episode, one of Hong Kong’s most famous and elite runners John Ellis talks to us about his running story.

Who is John Ellis?

  • If an ego is justified, he’s earned one. But, this guy is as modest as he is accomplished. See his running results

Questions for John:

* Shout out to Tony Lai for his suggestion on asking  3 quick interview questions to all  the guests*
  • What is John’s favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
    • Changes overtime. Going up and down Tai Mo Shan (Kiosk to Lead Mine Pass) is the current favorite. Because it is 5 degrees cooler and there are no spiders. Also, one can keep refueling at the kiosk. So, a good training run
  • What in John’s view is his best accomplishment in the field of running?
    • Not the races he has done well but the hard races. Where he has had to dig deep and discover a lot about himself. UTMF for him was one of his best accomplishments (he cried when he reached the 9th checkpoint at the 140th km). He still managed to complete the run thanks to Andrew Dawson’s advice. “If you ever pull out of a race, you have to come back and finish the run the next year and go through all the pain again. So, might as well finish it now”)
  • Does John have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?
    • Stone Tsang. He’s a hero in the trail running scene. Also very nice and humble. First met Stone 3 years back
Humble beginnings: where it all started
  • Started off as a road runner and after he moved to HK 5 years back, he got into trail running. Did a few marathons (3.30-3.45) in Sydney
  • Loves the trails
  • From 2010-2015, he’s made a lot of progress. Did HK100 (when they did their first race) in about 13.45. He’s done it in 12.01 since! He’s gotten fitter. Knows the trails better. Lost weight – 12 months ago he weighed 71kgs and now he weights around 63kgs
  • Easts better food and has been off alcohol (thanks to Milos’ inspiration). He’s going to be off alcohol until UTMF/UTMB. 17 beers an hour after that! Dawson won’t approve his abstinence from alcohol but John thinks Dawson is really in Australia to drink wine, not to learn about it
  • Still likes his road runs (AVOHK series, Standard Chartered marathon). He did 2.57 in 2014. Giuseppe (another famous HK runner) did 2.59.59. Likes the red-line intensity of a marathon. Ying is another fantastic trail runner who also does road runs. Giuseppe did 4.09 in the Green Power (45kms)
Training programme:
  • No routine. One long run per week
  • Believes in strength work and stretching
  • About 55kms a week is what he averages (runs mainly during the weekends). 10-15kms during the week
  • During the racing season a lot of those kms are race kms
  • Losing weight and getting better at 100kms has helped him very much. Better nutrition/hydration techniques too
Injuries, coping with it and mental stamina:
  • Races too much and therefore gets injured more often
  • Trail runners run too much (Some like Allen Ng do every race and don’t get injured. John tried that but suffers from tendon issues because of overuse)
  • Needs to go to the gym more often for strength training. Needs to be more disciplined about it
  • During races, he is stubborn, he will ALWAYS finish. He will take the pain but will complete.
  • Did MSIG 50km on Sunday,  Umbrella Run (115km) onWed, 70km that Sunday. Went nice and slow on LT70 but was injured. Told himself he was there, wanted the challenge, embraced the challenge and got through it
  • In terms of physical pain, North Face was the most painful. Base of his feet hurt really bad when he was doing the race. Mentally, he remembered his Fitness boot camp in Sydney. Mr. Warrior used to say “Pain is weakness leaving the body”, “Sweat is fat crying”, “Pain is temporary, glory is forever” so he persisted
  • Tornado (156km) was a tough one. Did the run with Dawson. At Lead Mine Pass, he locked himself in the toilet but refused to quit. Same with Dawson. Both would have remained in the toilet had it not been for Andre Blumberg who showed up with his cowbell and gave both of them a kick in the butt. Andre is the godfather of HK trail running and the best support crew one can have! Andre also helped Vic persist during Vic’s 4-trail attempt (Andre’s race)

Trivia about John

  • Quite competitive
  • Competes against himself. First he targeted Dawson. Wanted to beat Dawson!
  • Goes easy only during summer. Not this summer though (has UTMB to prepare for)
  • Likes team runs and team training. Different dynamic and working as a team is something he likes doing. Helping the slow guy become fast is something he enjoys. Will do the OTW with Marie, Matt and Mark this year. Will miss Dawson during the run. Incidentally, Dawson told me last year that Matt (who replaced an injured John) was an “upgrade in terms of company” to John
  • Minimalist as far as gear is concerned. Runs without a top because it cools him down (not because he’s trying to get chicks)
  • He uses Saloman Sense Ultra Force for shoes
  • Uses a lot of liquid during runs (Perpeteum before and Tailwind now)

Philosophy on medicine and pain

  • Takes ibuprofen but ONLY during the 2nd half of the race. Does not take medicines during the first half
  • He will take the pain no matter what

Interesting races

  • Has done loop races or as Natalia/Matt call it, “hamster wheel races”. Got talked into doing it by Matt (who has a silver tongue). Took Malaysian Airlines to Brisbane (when their planes were going missing). Did 208kms in 24 hours! Monotonous, continuous, straight, fast running requiring mental fortitude
  • Did one in Hong Kong (Sha Tin race promenade). 15-16 hours. “Life is about trying new things”. Every km there’s a nice comfy chair (Natalia says “beware the chair”) but he still persisted and did well (although he says it wasn’t a good race!)
  • Did the Umbrella Run because he believed in the cause (115km)

Goals for the year

  • HK Trail Racing League this year

Advice to budding runners

  • Don’t do too much. Build up slowly
  • Find running buddies. They will motivate
  • Parting words of wisdom: “Life is about loving what you’re doing. Do what you love”. It will make you successful and people around you more happy

 To reach John

  • Go to Gone Running. Set up 6 months ago (Matt, JoeJoe, Steve, Dennis) – outdoor trail running store with good advice from fellow trail runners (

A big “Thank You” to all the listeners for all the valuable feedback. Especially, Phillip (spelt your name right), Martijn, Tony. If you have more feedback, please leave a message and if you’d like to see a particular guest on the show, please let me know by leaving a comment!

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

Our Group Pjoto

Episode 4 – The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (Conversation with runners at the end of an insane Hong Kong Trail run)

What’s the deal?

As part of our insane summer series, we did a 45km run (The Hong Kong Trail) on 13th June 2015.

12 started and 5 completed the entire trail. This podcast is a very brief conversation at the end of the run with the 5 that finished (Milos, Pak, Stuart, Bogden and I). It took us something like 7.5 hours (including all stops) to complete the run. My Garmin froze midway through the run and I had to hard reset it to bring it back to life. This unfortunately meant that I have lost all my Garmin data for this run.

What will you learn from this episode of the podcast?

Umm.. It won’t be anything that is going to change your life! However, if you have nothing better to do, you can listen to this rather amusing conversation with the 5 finishes right at the end of the run.

Basically, here’s what you will learn:

  • You will learn that you can’t really think clearly after you have done a long trail run in summer
  • You will learn which part of Hong Kong trail to avoid when you run it. (Thanks to fellow runner Stuart’s contribution to our Hong Kong soil)
  • You will learn to make sure to apply sufficient Vaseline before you begin a long run (again, Stuart speaks about his experience with chaffing – after speaking about his struggle with his bowel movement, he thought there was no need to hold back descriptive stories about chaffing)
  • You will learn to carry sufficient water and not purely rely on website info when deciding your water strategy. Runner Bogden ran out of water as the water point he expected to see (as per our website info) was nonexistent.
  • You will learn how to shift blame like a pro. (When Bogden shamelessly blamed me for his water planning fiasco, I proudly shifted the blame to Milos who was too busy texting and did not hear me – remember that if you want to escape culpability, blame it on someone else who isn’t paying attention when you falsely accuse them
  • You will learn that the Ultra Track mode in Garmin is not reliable
  • You will learn that the hot weather plus reservoir stretch combination is the most dreaded part of the Hong Kong trail. You will go through 8L of water on a hot day
  • You will learn that the run down from the peak and the run down to Big Wave bay is usually the best part. Oh, and the air conditioned shopping in Park View
  • You will learn that if you want to get a trail runner to run back to the start after he/she has just completed a 45km run, the going rate is USD 1000, not HKD 1000 (runners think that’s too cheap)
  • But, the biggest lesson you will learn from this podcast is that there are many insane people in Hong Kong who will run 45kms on the hills of Hong Kong under a hot summer sun instead of sitting in an air-conditioned room or sipping a piña colada by the beach. Adventure or insanity? You decide

Conversation with Bogden at the end – Courtesy Stuart


Milos happy that he has reached Marker 100 – Courtesy Milos

Our Group Pjoto

Our Group Pjoto

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


Episode 3 – The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (Interview with Martijn Doekes)


In this episode, my friend and role model Martijn Doekes talks about a couple of things:

  • His story:
    – how he reduced his weight from a heavy 90kgs in 2010 to 62kgs in 2015 (diet, running slowly, hiking).
  • His biggest injury (he forgot the name!)
  • His advice on trail gear:
    – what kind of gear he uses and what he is most comfortable with when he is running

Show Notes:

  • Asia Trail Magazine
  • Hot Weather gear
  • Advice during a hot summer run:
    • Carry less (avoid heat)
    • Wear a visor instead of a cap
    • Wear shades to protect eyes
    • Carry a hand held for water
  • Hot Weather Nutrition
  • Cold Weather gear
    • Jacket: Mammut
    • Bag: Salomon (slightly bigger)
    • Safety gear: Bivvy bag, space blanket, rain jacket
  • Advice to trail runners or people getting into it
    • start slowly and build up. Read the article written by famous Hong Kong runner Olya on The Asia Trail Magazine
  • Interesting Stats:
    • Women DNF less often than men. Women are mentally stronger (I could only find this)

Show Links:
Lantau Base Camp
Hong Kong Trail Runners


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