We got to the starting point in Pak Tam Chung at about 7.15am. There was even more energy there than a King of the Hills event. A lot of very, very fit participants showed up. It looked like a gathering point for some of the top runners from all over the world.
The race started at 8am. Unlike the previous year, I didn’t have any ankle trouble, so I got off to a relatively controlled and comfortable start. The trail at the beginning was a bit narrow, resulting in a few jams every now and then, but some heavy breathing in combination with “passing right” allowed me to overtake where needed.
I made sure I was following my Rules of Running (2012 edition) [thou shall not skip more than one stair at a time, thou shall keep flat running pace at < 12kmh, etc]. So, I was pretty much abiding by the rules of running and cruising along. I had a timing sheet attached to the back of my bag for 13 hours 40 mins (my target finishing time). I then went on to having a chat with Nora Senn (bib tag “F1″ -aptly named as she is one of the fastest female runners in Hong Kong-). I asked her what her target finishing time was. She said it was “whatever it took” to enjoy the race, get up the next day morning, run another 20km, do some cycling in the afternoon and attend a social event later that evening. Having heard that, I was so inspired that I decided to chuck my timing sheet at my next support point!
I ran as per protocol (refueling on gels, granola bars and energy chews every hour or so) and kept cruising along. Not to forget, listening to an awesome collection of rock n roll music and a podcast of Anthony Robbins’ personal power! Around the 40km mark near Hoi Ha, it was great to see Hannes and Jinhwa cheering me up. Then, there was a never ending stretch all the way to Yung Shui O. I saw Nora overtaking me at this point. That was the last I saw of her during the race, it looked like she had turned on her secret power boosters there. From Yung Shui O, a steep uphill lead us to my home territory – the Maclehose trail! That was a confidence booster. Upon reaching the top of Rooster Hill, I was in my unbeatable state of mind (the state of running down one of the best downhill stretches in Hong Kong). I turned on my heavy breathing mode, increased leg movement frequency and ran straight down! Again, I saw Jinhwa and Hannes cheering me up on the last section of this downhill stretch.
Romain and Dominic were supporting me at this checkpoint. The original plan was to change my socks, tee shirt, etc, but I decided to scrap all that and just kept going after refueling with gels and a Pret sandwich. I was on cruise mode from there up until Beacon Hill. Then I had my first (and last) fall for the day. A rather ugly, inelegant misstep caused me to roll down a couple of stairs on the way down from Beacon Hill. Luckily, my reflexes took over and minimized physical damage to a superficial leg wound. It took me about 1-2 minutes to regain confidence but once I did, I kept running at a nonstop pace all the way to Shing Mun reservoir where Romain was waiting at the checkpoint. It got increasingly cold, so I grabbed my jacket, took 2 gels and kept moving.
My pace took a hit going up Grassy Hill and I was walking for the most part of it. It was cold and foggy, so I slowed down on the decent from Grassy Hill to Lead Mine pass to prevent falls. Tai Mo Shan was very, very cold and it was very windy. I was again a little slow climbing up Tai Mo Shan but the cold air kept me moving. On top of Tai Mo Shan, I looked back at the trail to see 2-3 headlights right behind me. I then turned on my kamikaze-mode and made a dash for the finish. Later, I realized that one of those headlights was probably Olya (another superfast female runner) who would have probably turned on her own kamikaze-mode had she known I was barely a minute ahead!
Finishing time: 13 hours 28 minutes. Also, very pleased with the fact that I felt relatively fresh and comfortable throughout. The winner finished in less than 10 hours! (?!) Last year, I finished in 14 hours 53 minutes and came 19th. This year I came 34th! The level of competition in these races has reached a new high!
The race was organized very well and I enjoyed participating.
Tags: Hiking in Hong Kong
, Hk100 Ultra marathon
, THE RACES
, Vibram HK100