Ryan Whelan escaped the confines of Causeway Bay and embraced the technicality of the task at hand on his way to victory in the men’s 14km event at Saturday’s Bonaqua C3fit Action Sprint Trail Series at Repulse Bay.

Whelan, from the United Kingdom, surged home in one hour, 14 minutes and 58 seconds, while Stephanie Roland of Namibia won the women’s 14km in 1:28:28, with both winners competing in the event for the first time.

“Living in Causeway Bay, you couldn’t be in a busier place, yet you’re just 20 minutes away from the trails,” Whelan said. “Trail running relaxes your mind and keeps you fit and healthy as well, so I highly recommend it.”

Whelan was pushed all the way by Canada’s Bryan Crane, who finished just 40 seconds adrift.

“It was a fast start and Bryan was right behind me, so I had to run extremely hard and I pushed myself really hard on the uphills,” Whelan said.

“I liked the technical trails best – it was very technical on the last bit but I could maintain a good pace. Overall, my race plan went very well and I managed to keep the lead.”

The women’s race wasn’t nearly as tight as the men’s, with Roland about three minutes ahead of second-placed Angelika Hahn of Germany.

“I have done a few 50km races before but this is my first shorter race,” Roland said. “It was a great race and I had a lot of fun. I quite liked the technical sections and uphills. There was beautiful scenery, and I am quite happy with my result today.”

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In the 9km category, Lai Pak-to successfully defended his men’s title in a time of 56:14, while Scottish runner Alice Mcleod, who moved to Hong Kong only three weeks ago and was competing in her first ever race, won the women’s 9km title in 1:17:27.

“I don’t even know how this has happened but the race was amazing,” Mcleod said. “I liked the course very much, especially the downhills. I will definitely come back next year and try the 14km.”