The Victoria Recreation Club broke the record at the Red Bull 3 Peaks race on Sunday, with the team profiting from having “overall athletes” instead of paddling specialists.
Seven teams of six paddled outriggers from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) at Middle Island to Shek O beach 24 kilometres away.
During the paddle, each team stopped at the base of the 436 metre Violet Hill, the 284m Shek O Peak and the 56m pagoda in Rocky Bay, sending a different pair to each summit.
Steve Palmier, coach and team member for the VRC, said his crew had a range of athletes, from Spartan racers to trail runners.
“The key to success was the margins that we made on the running,” he said. “If you can run quickly down concrete steps, you’ll make up more time.”
By the time they reached the final run, the VRC were confident they were on the way to victory, but the result was not in the bag until they crossed the line in a record time of three hours and 51 minutes.
“It’s always tense because you don’t know what the other team’s runners are like,” Palmier said. “You know where you are with paddling, but if they have six strong runners, then they can make up ground.”
The VRC and the RHKYC were neck and neck as they pulled into Repulse Bay and sent their first pairs up Violet Hill, but then the VRC began to build a lead.
“We relaxed into it when we were in front,” Palmier said. “I think being in the lead helps you get into it. You expend a lot more energy chasing than you do being in front.”