Mud Race 2019: We talk to the winners of a Spartan-style obstacle course in Hong Kong

Competitors ran, crawled, and swung their way across the six-kilometre route at the Tai Tong Ecopark in Yuen Long

Kelly Ho |

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The competitors, including three members of the winning team (left) and five of The Predators (centre and right) begin the race.

No sooner had Saturday’s wet weather convinced Mud Race 2019 participants that they’d be soaked on Sunday, then the clouds parted and the sun came out at Tai Tong Ecopark in Yuen Long.

The sun was shining brightly on the racers, who were ready to plunge into the mud-filled obstacle course. The event featured a six-kilometre-long  trail with seven obstacles along the way. Runners had to pull tyres, walk along balance beams, crawl through mud, and swing themselves across a series of metal bars. 

Coming out on top was a group of long-distance runners from Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School, who were hand-picked by their teacher to join the race. 

Team captain Anson Lo Tsz-lok, 16, who completed the race in 27 minutes, 11 seconds, was the first member of his team to cross the finishing line.

Members of the champion team of the Youth Team Race are long-distance runners from Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School.
Photo: Kelly Ho/SCMP

But each team’s score was based on the completion time of its top five members, and the Cheung Sha Wan team were still neck-and-neck with the first runners-up; luckily, fifth member Howard Wong Pak-yin helped to secure the team’s win. 

The endurance runners, who train at least twice a week, ultimately finished with an impressive team time of two hours, 28 minutes and 46 seconds. 

“Today’s result was within our expectations, because we had researched what the obstacles would look like, so we were well-prepared,” Anson told Young Post. 

He said the most challenging part of the  race was having to crawl through the mud, and the glaring sun only made the trail more difficult. “We had to pay extra attention when we were crawling, so the mud didn’t get into our eyes,” said Anson. “We also used our full body strength to crawl, which was exhausting. Some of us nearly got cramps.” 

The key to staying motivated throughout the arduous race, according to the champion team, was cheering for one another when they met halfway along the route. Team members Siu Pun-shan and Rex Hau Ho-him said they gave each other high-fives when they ran past each other. 

The team added having their parents and teachers there supporting them from the sidelines was “more important than anything”. Also taking part at the event was The Predators, a team made up of six Young Post readers. Some won a spot through the Up Your Game challenge, while others were Junior Reporters.

They spent the 10 weeks leading up to the race working intensively with a personal trainer at the F45 Sheung Wan gym, and following a healthy-eating  plan prepared by YP nutritionist Wynnie Chan. 

Mohammad Ans of CSBS Mrs Aw Boon Haw Secondary School, was the first Predator to finish the race, despite stumbling at the beginning of the course. Luckily, their trainer had prepared them for the kind of obstacles they would face, so Ans was able to recover quickly and catch up with the other runners.

The Predators shows off their finisher's medals in front of the finishing line.
Photo: Kelly Ho/SCMP

The 18-year-old said he was satisfied with his result, and impressed by the overall progress made by his teammates. “Seeing everyone cross the line was certainly the most unforgettable part of the whole journey,” he said. 

Fellow Predator David Cheng, 18, was  proud of the fact that he was able to complete the entire course without stopping. He said he thought the team had been well-prepared for the race but one thing he did not see coming was the sweltering weather. 

“I never thought today would be so hot. The heat made the race a lot harder than  it was supposed to be,” the St Joseph’s Anglo-Chinese School student said.

For the youngest member of the team Saanchi Shah, 15, finishing the race was a huge confidence boost. “The entire experience was very memorable, both during the training and the competition,” the King George V School student said. “But most of all, I have more confidence and faith in myself. Now I know I can push myself and achieve more.”  

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

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