The Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (HK4TUC) entered its second day on Sunday with six to eight runners on track to finish the 298km run, according to event organiser Andre Blumberg.
The HK4TUC started on Saturday at 9am. Runners have 60 hours to complete the MacLehose, Wilson, Hong Kong and Lantau trails. They are deemed a “finisher” when they kiss the green postbox in Mui Wo, or a “survivor” if they kiss the postbox after 60 hours, but under 72 hours. The are no checkpoints and no support is allowed on the trails, but runners can have help travelling from trail to trail.
The run was made famous by the filmBreaking 60, which followed four participants.
The lead has been changing between Takashi Doi, 38, from Japan, and Nugo Yamanath Limbu, 41, from Nepal. The top eight are Doi, Limbu, Phairat Varasin, a Thai who finished in 2018, Stephen Redfern, an Australian, Thomas Combisen, from the Philippines, Abimanyu Shunmugam, a two-time survivor from Singapore, Scott Pugh, from Singapore and Pong Law-kai, from Hong Kong.
They are spread out on the 78km Wilson Trail at the time of publishing.
Of the 33 starters, seven have dropped out. There is an 18-hour cut-off for the 100km MacLehose and three people – Mike Tam, of Hong Kong, Hendra Wijaya, from Indonesia and Luo Lan, from China – missed the deadline. David Wei Zhigang, from China, Ronnel Valero, Rolando Espina, both from the Philippines, and Helene Dumais, of Canada, made the cut-off and later dropped out.
Blumberg credits the weather for the later drop-outs. Last year, it was very hot on the first day and 12 people dropped-out in the first 24 hours, but this year it rained , and from 2am to 5am on Sunday it poured.
“The weather always has a few things in store,” Blumberg said.
Dumais was surprised by the concrete and the staircases on Hong Kong trails, Blumberg said. Her supporters convinced her to get to the start of the Wilson trail, where she decided not to go on. Valero and Espina ran together and said they had enough for the stairs.
“I think today it will be about seeing who has a fighting spirit,” he said. “The rain will be quite demoralising. Chafing is very hard to manage in the rain. We’ll see a few drop-outs.”