Trail runners were spoilt for choice last weekend with three races to chose from, and here the Post has rounded up the winners’ reactions from the Hysan Island Hike & Run, the Alpinamente GreenRace at Tigershead and the King of the Hills.
King of the Hills – a record unfolds and a cure for colds
Runners faced a gruelling 33-kilometre course on Hong Kong Island on Sunday, which included the notorious Twins – an unrelenting 1,000 steps to a peak near Stanley quickly followed by another staircase.
There was also an 18.5km course that cut through Mount Butler.
Jeff Campbell won the men’s 33km in two hours and 58 minutes, becoming only the second person in 20 years to complete the course in under three hours.
He won the 18.5km last year but this was his first time running the 33km.
“I felt ready to step up to the full distance this year, and I do a lot of training in the area so I’m familiar with the course,” Campbell said.
“I was comfortable taking the lead early on and was able to run my own race from the front,” he said. “It was great conditions for running. I’m very happy with the win!”
Emily Woodland won the women’s 33km race, in a time of 3:34, but before the race she was struck by sickness induced blues.
“I only decided to race that morning as I’d had a nasty cold and cough and was still coughing up a lung on the start line,” she said. “But as soon as I started running it went away and I felt pretty good!”
Kevin Scallan won the shorter course in 1:41 and Vivian Lee took first place in women’s with a time of 2:10.
Island Hike & Run – stunning view for two
The inaugural event took teams of two 27 kilometres around Hong Kong Island, starting and finishing in Deep Water Bay on Saturday.
Runners faced 1,690 metres of overall elevation gain, but had the option of entering a 19km, 12km or 3km race if the task proved too daunting.
Ryan Scott Blair and Guilherme Pahl Siqueira Silva from the North Face Adventure Team won the 27km in 2:52.
Blair, originally from America but now living in Hong Kong, said that he is very familiar with the trails on the Island.
“I enjoyed the sections that opened up to a stunning sea view the most,” he said. “I liked the team of two race as my teammate and I have joined many adventure races together.”
Silva was less familiar with the route and said that he enjoyed discovering a beautiful part of the Island.
Marie McNaughton and Natalia Watkins from Veganish team were the first women to finish. With a time of 3:34, they were fourth overall.
“We were the only women’s team in the race – we didn’t know till the end – so the win was assured,” McNaughton said. “But we beat all the mixed teams so that was nice for our egos.”
Veganish then both competed the next day in King of the Hills for training.
GreenRace at Tigershead – technical tiger
The 16km course started and finished in Mui Wo, and looped round past to Tigershead above Discovery Bay on Saturday.
Katia Kucher was the first woman to finish in a time of 1:53.
She said the first 7km was runnable despite it being inclined. And then, she said, the first downhill at Tigershead was very technical.
“I felt strong the whole way,” she said, “so I did the first half a bit faster than expected, and feeling strong allowed me to push until the end.”
Vlad Ixel won the race overall in 1:28 despite treating it as a training run.
“I have done over 30 races this year and a lot of races I don’t taper for” he said.
He didn’t hold any expectations before the race but aimed to push hard to the peak of Tigershead. By the top, he had a three- or four-minute lead so could relax and enjoy the course.
The next day, Ixel came second overall and first in his age category in the Samsung Aquathon – a race that combines running and swimming.