Karen Cheung Man-yee worked her way from the middle of the pack to win the women’s Ferei 45km Mac Trail Challenge, a race that started a midnight, then headed straight to work after a short sleep.

“I started in the middle so needed to pass a lot of people. I only realised I was in the lead about halfway,” the orthopaedic doctor said. “I was surprised, it gave me motivation but it also mean I knew I only had to keep my pace and didn’t need to push.”

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The race follows popular routes along MacLehose Trail stage five and six, starting and ending at Shing Mun Reservoir.

“I am familiar with the course,” she said. “But everyone is familiar with that route so it wasn’t an advantage.”

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Cheung finished in four hours 42 minutes, and was followed by Mui Chun-li in 5:10 and Iris Lui Wai-lan in 5:11.

Two weeks ago, Cheung was racing in Scotland at the Ben Nevis Ultra. She took the trip courtesy of the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme. The programme trained the two local runners, male and female, who came first overall in five races of the Hong Kong MSIG50 series.

David Ng Wai-hei and Cheung were given training by Joint Dynamics gym before heading to the race in Scotland.

“If it wasn’t for the programme I wouldn’t have seen this progress,” she said. “If I had run this race [Mac Trail Challenge] a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to win.”