King of the Hill - Lantau Island



When I found out at the end of December that I would be traveling to Hong Kong for work the first week of January I immediately Googled "Trail Races Hong Kong January". I found a trail series called King of the Hills, with a 1/2 and full marathon on Lantau island the weekend before I needed to be in Hong Kong. I signed up for the full marathon right away.



I was scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong the Thursday before the race, the race was on Sunday, but I felt like I was getting a cold and rescheduled my flight, which meant arriving the night before the race. What kind of crazy person flies 20+ hours to run a race they don't know much about the next day? Well I am that crazy person, but I did email the RD to see if I could change to the 1/2 marathon instead, luckily they let me.

stone steps going uphill for 2.5 miles and 2500 feet of gain

My co-worker Eric who was in Hong Kong already and who speaks Cantonese decided to meet me Sunday morning and go to the race with me. This helped my anxiety a bit, since he could help make sure we got on the right ferry and bus.

race views

I didn't get any real sleep on the plane and was hoping that I would be able to get a good night’s sleep before the race, but was only able to pull off 2 hours. 2 hours of sleep in ~40 hours and running a race I didn't know much about in an area I knew nothing about, what could possibly go wrong?


I got to the ferry pier before Eric did, but it was obvious which ferry to take, there were a ton of trail runners at pier 6. We got to Lantau an hour before the race, so we decided to find some coffee since I was exhausted. I was never so happy to see a Starbucks.


I told Eric it would probably only take me 2 hours to run the 1/2 marathon, which was actually only ~ 14km. Well that was my first mistake, underestimating the trails in Hong Kong.

downhill - stone steps, ugh!
The race started on a narrow trail and everyone was walking, I really wanted to run, maybe it was the caffeine. So I decided to pass people on the side of the trail and turned my right ankle pretty badly. I got back into the conga line and hoped that my ankle would calm down. We started to climb uphill, but the trail was made up of uneven, "stone steps". I was hoping it wasn't like this the whole way, but for 2.5 miles and ~2500 feet of gain, it was. The steps made it nearly impossible to run, though once the conga line started to thin out I was able to pass people, but I knew there was no way I was going to finish the race in 2 hours. It took me an hour to get to the top of the hill. The nice thing about walking uphill was I was able to enjoy the views more.


It was foggy on the upper part of the mountain which meant the stone steps were slick. Once we started to head downhill I was hoping I would start making up time, but there were still the slick stone steps. A lot of the people who I passed going uphill passed me going downhill, jumping from step to step. I tried to do this is as well, but slipped a few times and was worried about my ankle so I took it easy.


Luckily the stone steps stopped after ~1 mile and the trail was mostly runnable the rest of the way. I finished the race in just under 3 hours. It was humbling, but given the lack of sleep, travel and swollen ankle I wasn't that disappointed. All in all I enjoyed the race and really love experiencing small local trail races. I did this in Italy a few years ago as well and loved it.


King of the Hills is no joke.


Finisher beer




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Return to Eagle Creek

Three days in Wonderland

Searching for Savory: Part 3