TNF 100 Hong Kong 2014

The North Face 100 in Hong Kong is one of the hardest Trail running events on the Asia circuit. And in what could only have been either a spate of perceived greatness or a moment of temporary insanity (two converging conditions), I had signed up for the 50km distance some 6 months ago, the same day the race opened for registration.

I have been training hard to get ready for this and to see if I could do it as I really wanted to add this finisher medal to the collection. But as with any race, it begins at the start line:
 And no, the following is not a still shot out of Star World, but nowadays, it’s not “The Force” but “The Drones” that are always with us.
The 50km option was good for me, given that there are also approximately 2,500 meters of elevation to conquer.
So at 7:30AM this Saturday morning some 500 or so fellow nut cases gathered at Tai Mei Tuk, in the Northern Territories of Hong Kong in relatively chilling 12 degrees celcius but with the sun just appearing over the horizon and not a cloud in sight, it promised to be a day of perfect running weather.
The trail is well known to be tough and one of steep elevation with little flat in between. Just how hard, I could not have imagined. Steps, rocks and boulders up…, steps, rocks and boulders down. After a couple of hours of that, it became harder to appreciate the stunning surroundings. 
The weather was great and so stamina lasted well through the race but muscle power was no more, Not sure how I managed to keep on lifting the legs and pull myself up those steps.
I definitely did gain a new perspective of Hong Kong though. Having been to this city of skyscrapers well over 20 times, I never imagined that there would be any country side to it
So, I could not resist the one or the other quick photo stop. Although they cost me dearly in my ranking.
Kudos must go to the race organizers, the best I have experienced in any event thus far. The course was well marked for day and night vision, check points were super well stocked with fuel including but not limited to various beverages (water, Gatorade, Pepsi) and foods such as bread, peanut butter, jam, honey, rice balls, bananas, hot mash potatoes, pretzels, and I particularly relished the juicy, fresh oranges.  The volunteers who looked after us at the checkpoints were fantastic, engaging and just really nice people, so much appreciated by us runners – Thank You Folks.
So, after 50,61 km, 2,474 meters of up and 2,474 meters of back down and 9 hours and 30 minutes 36 seconds later, I crossed the finish line, to a welcome by my biggest supporter of all. With the sun, setting behind her, Liz was there braving the cold to take my finish line picture.
The hot vegetable soup at the finish line felt better than any Michelin Star meal I might have had before. Here is another big thank you to the race organizers and volunteers without whom we could not possibly have made it. Thank You Folks.
And here it is:
And when looking in the rear view mirror, it has been quite a good running year for me:
20 x Half Marathons (most of them 3/4 actually)
5 x Full Maratons
3 x 50km Ultra Trails
And on that note, we are off to Macao for a few days to put up these legs…

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