Few notes on what I learned from my training so far:
– 7 hours for the first half seems just about right (as long as it is not too warm and humid).
– that leaves about 11 hours for the second half – around 9 hours sounds like reasonable pace leaving some buffer for F&B breaks if necessary
– the concrete of Mac 1 is pretty punishing – if I am lucky and arrive at East Dam with enough time buffer then smart choice would be to take Mac 1 very easy to save the legs for the next 200km…
REMEMBER – YOU WILL NOT BEAT 4 TRAILS ON MAC BUT MAC CAN BEAT YOU!
The start is hilly – not too difficult but the distance progress is quite slow early on on Wilson. Much slower than on Mac – patience necessary.
The “downhill” from Cloudy Hill to Tai Po involves 11 uphill sections. Just suck it up!
When exiting Tai Wo area the Wilson Trail arrows are confusing – pointing right towards small village – just ignore and go straight up towards and under the Tolo Highway.
Climb up towards Leadmine Pass seems to go on forever but is not difficult – just keep on going.
Long runable bit after Leadmine Pass to Shing Mun – need to make the most of it without blowing up!
Shing Mun to Tai Po road – monkey kingdom – focus on the route ignore the monkeys, avoid making wrong turns just because monkeys sit on the signs!
Long catch water after Tai Po road – hope the legs are still fine to run it all and make up some time.
Climb to Shatin Pass – take it steady.
Road climb after Shatin Pass – just keep moving. Before hitting trail again watch out for the resident boars – there are some huge specimens around there.
Once on the trail time to run all the way to start of section 4!
Right at the start of section 4 – a noisy dog somewhere there. Just ignore and go. Some climbing here but nothing serious – keep on going.
Section 3 – dogs and boars – need to watch if here after dark but should not have any issues.
Road to Lam Tin goes on forever.
HK side – lots of steps and further than 9km that the W18 marker at Tai Koo may suggest…
Watch out those stupid steps from last Twin to Stanley – don’t roll the ankle like during the training recce…
This in all the likeness will involve some night running. Hard to tell how I will feel when/if I make it here. By the time HK Trail starts I would be in unknown territory- beyond any distance I ever did. Rule of the thumb – run/walk to feel, keep moving, don’t fight sleep – take short naps once the eyes start closing.
Pay attention to the trail especially as by Lantau the tiredness will be out of scale. On the recce I veered of the course just 2km from Mui Wo on the part of the trail I know very well …
Get over the section to Pui O, the small hill may hurt as the legs will be stiff after a long post HK trail break.
Once on the catchwater it is FLAT more less all the way to Tai O – “enjoy” and get some miles on board!
The climb out of Tai O is properly steep but not too long. Use the steps on the side – will hurt the legs less. Ignore the next 3 hills – just get over them.
The road climb to Ngong Ping is long but NOT difficult – some bits are ruinable – jog them!
Make use of the loop around Ngong Ping to digest all the food taken at the Village.
After this only Lantau Peak and Sunset await – these are MUCH EASIER from this side. Last two hills, nothing to save the legs for any more – PUSH!
Nutrition and F&B supplies
Few energy bars for emergencies – no need too many. Start with a bottle of sports drink, bottle of plain water. Reserve one soft flask of plain water in the backpack. Carry filter. Extra pack of sports drink powder – to avoid stop at TMS kiosk that is off the course and means a detour that should be avoided if possible.
Leadmine Pass – only tap water at the moment but Bonaqua dispenser installed already and works.
Shing Mun – refill with sweet stuff (coke or Pocari – whatever available). Free drinking water available here.
Tai Po Rd – if not hot no need to waste time here – grab a drink and go – watch for monkey thieves
Shatin Pass – proper refill here. Cup noodles may be good idea to have some change after all the sweet stuff. Long section ahead so do not underestimate the supplies here.
Kei Ling Ha – Vending machines hopefully will have sweet stuff. Free drinking water here as well as Bonaqua dispenser.
Pak Tam Au – May need to stock up for all the way to the end. Free drinking water here.
Sai Wan may be good place to restock but most likely all closed when I get there.
Not ideal for on the route replenishments – need to carry food on me and plan the drinks. Some detours may be necessary.
7Eleven and/or other shops available at Tai Wo MTR seems to be the first one – requires short detour
Yuen Tun Ha area – there may be options but again would require detour – nothing on the way up.
Leadmine Pass – Bonaqua water refill by the toilets – works now. Few hundred meters down the road is water tap – needs filter.
Shing Mun – Vending machines at BBQ area but require about 500m detour to Mac and back. Not much afterwards until Shatin Pass shop (if open…) so this may be a necessary evil…
2 water pipes on the catch water near the end.
Shatin Pass shop – not reliable – was closed few times when I made it there on my runs.
Clear Water Bay Rd – small shop.
Yau Tong, Lam Tin, Tai Koo – posbilites to eat, drink and refill for the rest of Wilson.
Parkview – may not be open when I am there.
Shek O F&B establishments – but hopefully will have supplies from my crew here.
Parkview supermarket – good place for some proper food if it is open when I am there. Otherwise only the gas station at Wong Nai Chung gap.
Lots water available along the way – filter important.
Food supplies important for this trail!!!
By 8-8:30am there was nothing open in Pui O on my recce – better stock up all the way up to Shui Hau.
Shui Hau – small shop only open – only drinks available.
Shek Pik – tap water available.
Fan Lau – small shop, drinks available.
Tai O – restaurant – may be good to eat properly here.
Ngong Ping – hopefully will be open when I am here.
Note: the beetroot bar did not go down well during Mac recce – better stay away from this.