All in the family as nine-year-old Hong Kong trail runner keeps her parents playing catch-up

Claudio, Cindy and their young daughter Sofie love the challenge of the C3fit Bonaqua Sprint Trail Series as they spend time in the mountains bonding

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 May, 2017, 5:26pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 May, 2017, 11:24pm

Some parents bond with their children by watching TV and shopping together – but the Salgados prefer to run with their nine-year-old daughter in the mountains.

On Saturday morning, as the weather brightened up after days of rain, the Salgado family raced together in the 12-kilometre mixed-terrain C3fit Bonaqua Sprint Trail Series Sai Kung.

After two hours, four minutes and 37 seconds, Cindy Salgado crossed the finish line with her husband, Claudio, and daughter, Sofie.

For Cindy, a mother-of-two with a full-time job in the hotel industry, trail running is the most important bonding time for her family.

“I have been doing trail running on and off for over 10 years. A few years ago, I was cheering on my husband and my kids at different races, but now my kids are getting faster and faster and I thought it’s time for me to get back to racing again so that I can keep up with them,” said Cindy.

The Salgados were competing in the third and final leg of the C3fit Bonaqua Action Sprint Series. Irish runner Brian Mcflynn was the overall champion in 1:02:23, while Australian Sherrin Loh grabbed the women’s title in 1:15:22.

Watch: Enjoy the view – C3fit Bonaqua Action Sprint Sai Kung

Though the Salgados may have finished about an hour behind the winners, Cindy said the satisfaction of crossing the line with her loved ones was still immense.

“Sport brings my family together,” said Cindy. “As a family, we rarely watch TV or go shopping together, so sports are what we do the most as a family during weekends and trail running is something that we can all enjoy. The satisfaction and happiness I feel when I cross the finish line together with my family is huge.”

Nine-year-old girl upstages the adults at 14km Hong Kong trail running race

Cindy has loved doing sports ever since she was a kid, and that passion has rubbed off on her children. Sofie started to swim when she was six months old and picked up soccer when she turned three. Her six-year-old brother also does different sports with the family.

“A few years ago, my kids would complain in the middle of a hike and really struggle to go on because they were too tired. In the mountains, they have learned that they can’t give up or turn back because it’s the same distance for you to finish the hike as turning back,” Cindy said.

“When there’s an opportunity, I let them try different sports such as soccer, swimming, cycling, etc. They have total freedom to choose because I want them to enjoy what they do. The ‘never give up’ sports spirit has taught them life-long lessons and now I have really witnessed their growth.”

No slowing Frank Pilkington as he competes in Action Sprint Trail Series

Overall champion Mcflynn, who finished second in the previous two legs in Repulse Bay and Discovery Bay last month, said he really enjoyed the course.

“I started the race quite well and tried to keep it steady going up the hills because it was quite hot. I tried to take it up a bit on the downhills, but I was definitely feeling the heat today. I only started to run on trails after I moved to Hong Kong in 2015 and have done quite a few short races, so I hope to try longer courses this year and maybe get up to 50km eventually,” said Mcflynn.

Mo Devlin, from Scotland, was second (1:06:19), while

third place went to the local runner Gump Wong (1:07:51).

For women’s champion Loh, the win – a first for her – came as a surprise. “In fact, I struggled with the race and it was really hard for me to keep a good pace,” Loh said.

With 10 years’ experience in trail running, Loh said doing the sport was the most important way for her to relax.

The mother-of-two often participates in races with her husband, who is also a great trail runner. Lately her kids have started trail running as well.

Wendy Porterfield from the United States, who has been living in Hong Kong for four years, was second among the women (1:21:16).

French runner Charlotte Taquet was third among the women (1:26:48). She started trail running when she moved to Hong Kong three years ago, after encouragement from her friends. “I really enjoy training with them and racing with them. Today I was running with six friends in the race,” Taquet said. “Although it was hot, the race was great and I especially loved the second part of the course because it was cooler and the scenery was beautiful.”