At the time when I signed up for this event I somehow failed to realize that it is scheduled only a week after HK100. I originally hoped to record a sub-5 hours finish to my name. But knowing I will still be in recovery after 100km race I simply decided to enjoy the day and see how far I would get in this 44.5km long race.
I think this was first time starting a race on The Peak when I did not get swallowed by the crowd. I could run straight away in my own and steady pace without fighting my way through. I felt great by the time I reached the 007 marker and moved from road to trail. Somewhere here I changed my race philosophy for the day. I decided to go quick and see how far will fast pace take me. I was at the 10km checkpoint in less than an hour and I was really surprised how well I felt. I had enough drinks with me so I passed this checkpoint without stopping.
I carried the momentum on the close to a kilometer long climb that followed and soon I was on the undulating trail section. I picked up the pace even more here and soon I was overtaking lots of people. I haven’t slowed down until the Black’s Link climb. I jogged the first about 100m of the climb and then switched to fast walk up the hill. I reached the checkpoint at top of the climb still fresh. I refilled my Pocari bottles and went on running the final 3 or so kilometers towards the mid point at Parkview.
I thought in the morning that Parkview would probably be as far as I would go. In the process of getting to Parkview I improved my personal best on the first half of Hong Kong Trail. I felt great and decided to keep on going. The Jardine’s Lookout and Mount Butler section is my favourite training ground and I duly enjoyed it on this day too. I kept on pushing and made it up both hills with relative ease. I quickly but carefully jogged down the steps from Mt. Butler to Quarry Gap, refilled my Pocari bottle and rushed down the road towards Tai Tam.
I could not believe how great I was still feeling. I ran quickly on this downhill section and I managed to carry good speed also through the Jungle Run towards Tai Tam Road. I reached that checkpoint in well below 3h30mins – I was going well for sub 5 hours finish. I slowed at the checkpoint, topped up my Pocari bottle again and off I was towards the catch water.
And then all of a sudden I lost all my motivation to continue. This is a boring section but it is also a section where I always pick up my pace, perhaps aiming to get over with it as quickly as possible. But this time it just did not work. I knew I am pretty much done. I slowed down perhaps 500 meters after the checkpoint and for the entire HK Trail section 7 I kept switching between jogging and hiking. I simply wanted to get to the Shek O Road and go home.
I was surprised to see that nobody overtook me for very long time even though my pace was pretty slow now. The first people started passing me at the point where the concrete catch water turns into the single track trail just before the steps up to the road. I said ‘hi’ to few familiar faces and let everybody pass.
Eventually I reached the steps that lead up to the Shek O Road. I knew that this is going to be the last bit of my race so I pushed a bit. I overtook 3 or 4 guys on the way up, crossed the road, had a drink and informed the organizers that I am dropping out. They were quite surprised as I looked quite fresh and I only had about 7.5km of the Dragon’s Back section to navigate. But I just had no motivation to continue. The 37km I had done were already 15 km more than I thought I would do. It was a very good work out but I had enough. Will have to leave that official sub 5 hours attempt on Hong Kong Trail for another day…