Extreme fitness

Trail running brings domestic helpers and bosses together in Lantau Vertical race

  • Runners with different backgrounds come together in competition at the Lantau Vertical race
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 December, 2018, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 December, 2018, 8:32am

Katia Kutcher and Dolly Vargas Sales have very little in common. One is a domestic helper and another runs her own business. But they both have a love for trail running – which has helped form an unlikely friendship.

Kutcher and Vargas finished first and second, respectively in the women’s senior category at the Lantau Vertical race – a 7km sprint up Lantau Peak – earlier on Saturday.

“It doesn’t matter who you are as long as you are part of the trail running community, it is just a nice atmosphere,” said the 48-year-old Kutcher, who was a road runner for “decades” in Canada and became a trail runner after she moved to Hong Kong eight years ago.

“[Kutcher] has asked me to train with her a couple of times as we both live in Lantau, but our schedules aren’t the same,” said the 40-year-old Sales. “Actually, she is one of the best senior ladies trail runners in Hong Kong, I am very surprised I was able to keep up with her today.”

“Normally we would never know each other; she is a boss and I am a helper.”

But the two women have one other thing in common – they both live extremely busy lives.

“To me, running outside in nature is both therapeutic, and great training,” said Kutcher, who works as a nutritionist, personal trainer and sports clinician on top of running her company DB Fit in Discovery Bay. “It is my addiction.”

Sales said her work was “very stressful” as well – as she has to start work every day at 7am to help look after two young children.

Domestic helpers win Great Relay trail race by dog walking and training with shopping bags

“For the eldest boy, I have to act like a football player – he is super active, is a swimmer and he’s full of energy,” said Sales, who recently joined a local Lantau rugby league so she could relate to the boy more.

“For the little girl, she acts like a Barbie – she thinks she is Elsa [from the Disney film Frozen]. So it is very tiring looking after both of them and talk so differently for each.”

However, she is incredibly grateful for her Irish host family, who are incredibly supportive of her racing endeavours.

“There have been some times where when I finish races and the whole family surprised me at the finish line,” Sales said. “And today, they let me have the day off so I could race, and they always give me extra time to train.”

“They are so amazing, and I think they support me because they know I always put my job first.”

Meanwhile, Canadian Jeff Campbell shattered the course record with a blistering time of 47 minutes, 16 seconds.

Domestic helper takes employer’s daughter trail racing, despite perception and banking obstacles