Wednesday, 25 March 2015

In Remembrance - Mr Lee Kwan Yew 1923 -2015

Photo credit: Straits Times

Feeling rather emotional today watching Mr Lee Kuan Yew's body being transported to Parliament House amidst the crowds.
Link to the Straits Times LKY live blog and videos here.
There's a genuine outpouring of respect and grief, a true sense of loss and sadness that I am sharing with my fellow countrymen, sorry that I cannot be there in person. He stepped up in difficult times and played a key role in making Singapore what it is today, for which I will be always grateful. 

I grew up knowing that I could achieve whatever heights I set my sights on, regardless of gender, race, language or religion. That I could swim, cycle, run or rollerblade at anytime of day or night and still feel safe. A minor detail, but one that meant a great deal to me. 

For better or worse, you made Singapore your life's work right down to the little things. 

I thank you, Sir, for all you have done for us.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Remember the brave.

Australian soldiers in a captured Turkish trench at Lone Pine on 6 August 1915. Photo: Philip Schuler
My main event of the year, the Anzac Ultra is now just over 2 weeks away. I'll running the 'Lone Pine' course - 6 loops of a 75km route on the Canberra Centenary Trail starting on 6th April. Yep, 450km or bust.

The legend of ANZAC was born on 25 April 1915, and was reaffirmed in eight months’ fighting on Gallipoli. The Australians displayed great courage, endurance, initiative, discipline, and mateship. Such qualities came to be seen as the ANZAC spirit.

To mark the centenary of the ANZAC spirit, the ultra-running community will show their respect and honour the lives of defence service men and women by making a 450km journey on the southern loop of the Canberra Centenary Trail from 6 to 12 April 2015. This will be the one and only time this event will take place.

This challenge will represent the furthest I've run in a single event to date. and while I'm not in the habit of running for charity, I do believe that every little helps. This is not an appeal for donations, I know there are many worthy charities all vying for your attention, time and money, and rightly so. 

The Anzac Ultra does have a charitable purpose, however, aiming to raise over than $50,000 for Legacy, a charity providing services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the incapacitation or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service. Legacy currently cares for 100,000 widows and 1,900 children and disabled dependants throughout Australia.

If you feel inclined to show your support, you can either make a donation to one of the fundraiser pages on the Anzac Ultra Supporters tab (link to individual pages below), or purchase a limited edition Thir event headband.

If you decide to purchase the multifunctional headband (buff, boob tube, skullcap, neck gaiter, mini skirt .. whatever way you fancy using it), do so on this link. They're $22 AUD and Legacy will benefit from all proceeds of the sales. 

To help reduce shipping costs (and therefore allowing more of the purchase price to go to Legacy), I am happy to collect any headbands purchased and bring them back with me to Singapore, Hong Kong or Sabah, which is where I will be over the next month following the race.

All you have to do is leave a message in the special instructions box when checking out.

If you would like me to bring your headband back, please indicate the following in the special instructions text box:

Via Jeri                         (Postal method)  
Hugh Jackman            (Name) 
Jeri's Dream World     (Country) 

*If you are being charged international shipping but want me to bring the headband back for you, please use this Australian address and it will remove the international shipping option:

8 Alice Clarke St, Casey, ACT. 2913, Australia.

Message me on FB if you have any problems completing the purchase and don't forget to put in the seller's notes that this is VIA JERI. 

If you live in Australia or any other country apart from Singapore, Hong Kong and Sabah, then please opt for normal postage. 

It's a functional purchase and you'll be doing some good if this is a cause that appeals to you. Do share and feel free to collate group orders. Orders for my collection will have to be placed before 11th April to ensure I have enough time to pick them up before I leave.

More updates to follow ... I can't believe there's only 2 weeks left .. aaaaaaaaargh!

I've got plenty of luggage allowance ... famous last words! Photo:
Links to some of the Everyday Hero fundraising pages for the Anzac Ultra 2015:

We've Gone Running!

Photo: Gone Running
Chuffed and honoured to have the awesome peeps at Gone Running feature Fatbird Goes Ultra on their Partner page! 
Check out their online store with great tips on gear, running news and race roundups. These lovely guys are not only top-notch runners, but big-hearted to boot, giving back to the community by supporting a different running-based charity each month. 
March's charity is the amazing Free To Run, headed by human rights lawyer and ultrarunning dynamo Stephanie Case. 
Free to Run is a nonprofit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females in conflict-affected communities to overcome the harmful effects of gender, religious and ethnic discrimination.
Photo: Stephanie Case
Go check 'em out!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Translantau 100km 2015

Getting ready!
Always match your laces to your bag ;)
When I signed up for the 2015 Translantau 100km last year, it was because I thought I would make the most of my (then) impending move to Hong Kong and soon-to-be unemployed status. No reason not to with lots of free time and the HK trails!

As my crazy life usually pans out in the opposite direction of my plans, I find myself rocking up to the start of Translantau with far less than the desired training I'd hoped. When I fell last year at the MSIG Lantau 50, I earned 4 stitches and a patellar contusion that required reining back both my enthusiasm (it's just a flesh wound!) and training, and cut short my HK4TUC attempt at 70km in.

A test run at the KOTH Sham Tseng two weeks gone and all seems back on track, so it's all systems go! Coach Andy DuBois and I decided that this should be a training race in light of the 450km Anzac Ultra I'll be attempting at Easter, so that's what I set out to achieve. I figured about 22h would be comfortable enough and set a limit of 25 so I didn't get too laid back. No poles (to build strength), and try to run any flats and descents was the basic plan.

Nearly 6,000m D+ in 100km, nice!
The race starts on Friday night at 11.30pm, which makes for a really long day. I was up early, excited to be racing again and looking forward to the start. It certainly was a real treat to see Paulina back on the trails again, catch up with Markko and Tuuli, Retha getting excited about her first 100km and a whole bunch of other trail mates!

A deluge of selfies, gear discussions and greetings later, we're FINALLY ready to start. The weather is warm and humid, definitely a more welcome option than freezing winds and rain. Despite all the people I know, I find myself alone at the start line, squashed in next to a couple of Filipina racers Jon and Brian. Jon did the UTHK168 last weekend and I remembered him from GNW 2010 so I was in good company! Randomly, I realise I forgot to take off my makeup from being out during the day .. ah well, I'll know if my eyeliner stands up to the ultra test, then!

Singapore selfie!
A bit of a squeeze, some lion dancing to liven the mood, and we're off across the sand! I pick my way through the runners and it's not long before we're starting to ascent to Lo Fu Tau. I haven't done this course before apart from a short recce so I don't really know what's in store. Climbing up was steady enough and it was nice to see Nora at the top making sure we didn't go the wrong way.

Lions at the start. Photo: TransLantau
Running along, I nearly missed the sharp left into the shiggy bit. A few runners did get lost along here, something easily done as there was just one ribbon which could easily have been mistaken for an indicator to go straight. I liked the next bit, and since it wasn't easy to pass anyone there, it kept my competitive urges at bay and my pace steady enough.

The nutrition plan was to stick to Tailwind the whole way and see how my body reacted. I had my watch on a 10 minute timer, so I was reminded to drink regularly. I had a full 1.5l with me to start (1 scoop per 500ml) and carried a further 18 scoops of assorted flavours for the race. I made it to CP1 Pak Mong in just over 2 hours, felt great and didn't need a refill so I just carried straight on after checking in. My Garmin 920XT is on Ultratrac and even this early on my readings are way off .. it's showing 16km (should be 12) and my average speed will be record breaking if I keep this up!

I'd recce'd the next bit the week before, so I knew it would be a long-ish climb to the top of Sunset Peak. Doing this in the dark with damp to wet conditions and very limited visibility due to mist was actually quite enjoyable. I had my headlamp in my hand as a lower beam made the path clearer, and since you couldn't see more than 5-10m ahead, the only thing left to do was to put one foot in front of the other till you got to the top. Not that cold but windy and wet enough to warrant a windbreaker. Steady down to Pak Kung Au - the steps were a little slippery, and at CP2 in just over 2 hours. There's a spread of food and people look like they're already tucking in at 21km, but all I need is some water, chuck some Tailwind in and I'm off.

The next bit is a runnable descent and then flat catchwater for some kms. My top priority in any race is not to fall over or get lost, and I had to pay attention the whole time so I didn't trip over anything on the trail. Along the catchwater, my long day was taking it's toll. My eyes were closing and I couldn't stay awake so I did a fast walk/shuffle with my eyes closed and hoped I opened them before I got too close to the drain. I desperately wanted to sit down and sleep for 10 minutes! Instead I jogged and let myself 'sleepwalk' for ten counts every time I passed a drain ladder. I did remember suddenly waking up and running along thinking 'this is awesome!', but that didn't last long and Lala Land beckoned again all too soon. Milos passed me somewhere along the way and at long last there's the start of the climb to Ngong Ping. That still wasn't enough to keep me awake and my pace slowed considerably as I considered curling up in a corner somewhere for a snooze.

Somewhere along the way Terence passed me, and I locked on to his yellow Altras to pick up my pace and power up a little to CP3. Same MO, fill up with water, chuck in some Tailwind, and I'm off. I hear Terence say 'Wah, so fast ah!' and wave goodbye as he sips his hot drink. ;) It's just past 6am now and the sun is coming up, always energising to feel daylight approaching!

I don't remember much on the way to Keung Shan, just that it was nice to be moving again, headlamp off and the humidity was enough to keep me cool without getting too cold. CP 4 at Kau Ling Chung in under 2 hours, all good and not much is hurting. I am discovering that my new Salomon S-Lab 5l pack is nice and light, but feels too big when the bladder starts to deplete. The straps in front have changed a little and don't seem to hold as well as the older version. The cord replacing the plastic attachments is more fiddly, and I keep having to tighten the elastic straps as they tend to loosen after a while. Otherwise, all is good!

Nearly halfway ... a small descent before a climb up and over into Tai O. I meet Markko somewhere along the way and we have a pleasant run/hike together, taking the descents steady as out knees are starting to hurt. The run into Tai O seemed to take forever, having to run along the shore before turning into the town and reaching the school. It's starting to hurt, but since it's flat I have no choice but to keep running, as per the training plan. Fai is outside the school gates cheering racers on, and it's nice to have a chat while I refill. I see Singaporean runner Shi Wei sat on one of the benches, and Markko is inside by the food relaying his journey so far to his wife, Tuuli. I fancy something to chew on so I go inside to inspect the food .. Terroir are one of the race sponsors and a slice of French saucisson is my treat for the moment. A slug of coke later, and I'm ready to head out. Fai walks me to the end of the road and I decide to walk first, given the next bit is a long climb to Ngong Ping. My knees, feet and heels are feeling pretty sore by now so I figure I'll take it easier.

The long stretch to Tai O CP. Photo: Harris Chan
Through the village a few speedsters pass me, including Shi Wei who looks energised from his rest at Tai O. The three just ahead of me are putting on their gloves, and I wonder if they're feeling cold ... silly me! Sharp right turn up and into the bushes, and it's not long before it dawns on me what the gloves were for ... bushwhacking and pulling yourself up the climb! I found the climb great fun, most of the vegetation was over my head so I had no idea where I was going except that it was up! This was the only time I took any pictures, just because I was so tickled with having to bash through the undergrowth! I did pass a few, but more passed me and it was hilarious to see the bushes on the climb above shaking away as the runners made their way through. I run with an older gentleman for a bit and he reckoned I could make in 18 hours. That really got my brain going! The competitive side of me started the furious calculations to see if it was possible before the sensible (and lazier) side stepped in. I would have to work really hard to get in under 18h, and this was a training run, remember!? Stick to the plan! Training run, training run! But I'm still wondering for ages after if sneaking in a sub-20h would be possible. It takes me 3 hours to get to CP6 at Ngong Ping again, and my spirits are great. Water, Tailwind and a handful of cashew nuts this time.

Can you see the trail behind me? Heading towards Ngong Ping. 
Nice shiggy bits, still climbing!
The Beast wanted to meet me at Ngong Ping and accompany me on the climb to Lantau Peak, but he's stuck in Tung Chung and  with no taxis, cable car closed and a crazy queue for the bus. I say I'll meet him at Pak Kung Au instead and head up towards Lantau. The big steps towards Lantau are wet and slippery, and there's a surprising number of hikers coming the other way. Visibility is terrible so it's just a case of one foot in front of another. I find a rhythm and I get to the top quicker than I expect. It's the coming down that took a while .. slippery rock and a tendency to trip over my own feet are not a fortuitous combination! It's not cold and my arm warmers are doing a great job of regulating temperature from the wind chill.
Finally got out of the bushes!
It took 1h 42 mins to cover that 5km, but I make down unscathed and The Beast is waiting close to the bottom. I give him a hug and carry on ... desperate for a pee now and there was nowhere to stop along the way! A hiker steps into the portaloo at PKA just before I get there so I'm left crossing my legs and trying not to hop. It doesn't occur to me that I'm too well hydrated from my 'drink every 10 minutes' plan. I've been stopping regularly every hour or so, far more than I've done in any other race! My sleep deprived brain doesn't tell me I should adjust my fluid intake so I still follow the plan ...
A busy CP7 at PKA. Photo: SportsSoho 
Another quick refill at Pak Kung Au CP7, three yellow M&Ms and we're off! It's like a big party at the CP as the 50km runners are just coming down Sunset Peak and joining the 100km route. There's a lot more people on the course now and it's nice to have The Beast for company, and Nora appears along the way for a short jog before turning round off in search of other people to egg on. I'm going well here and picking up the pace, and The Beast heads off to Mui Wo soon after.

Nora cracks the whip. Photo: Ko All Weather Kwok
The journey to Chi Ma Wan is hilly but uneventful, and just under 2 hours seemed like forever to get there. I'm really tired now and it all seems like hard going ... not really looking forward to 450km next month right now! I meet Markko along the way again (he passed me earlier), and we take a few minutes to sit down at CP8. I clear the debris from my shoes and put a good slathering of Gurney Goo on my feet. I don't have any blisters, but the two callus points on my big toes have softened from reduced mileage and felt like they might blister up. Better safe than sorry, and any excuse for a quick rest! Also my Experia socks with Thorlo pads were annoying me. The heel and forefoot pads were a little too bulky and made me feel like there was something in my shoe. Good trials for Anzac Ultra next month, at least I know which socks I won't be wearing. I only wore them because I liked the purple colour!

Headlamp ready, batteries changed, water with Tailwind and I'm off again. The climb to Lo Yan Shan is slow but steady, and coming down the other side is quite a lot of fun. Someone tags on behind me, and follows my pace for quite a while. I don't turn round to look for fear of tripping over, but he's one of the 50km runners. I'm doing well till I start to tire and decide to fast walk instead. I'm feeling grumpy and realise I really need a pee again. But there are too many people on the trail now, there's no stopping anywhere and I'm still a good distance away from Shap Long. Not that my Garmin could tell me .. I'm already on 106km and counting on the damn thing. This goes on for a while and all my attempts to find a hidden spot are thwarted by the fact that headlamps are now on and I'd be rumbled in no time! I try jogging, worse! Back to a fast, grumpy walk then, and loads of runners pass me. Bei comes towards me and cheers me on but I'm just a big grouch. It's nearly an hour walking cross-legged and bug-eyed before there's a suitable place to hide .. and as I turn off my headlamp, a couple of runners behind me do so and then follow me off the trail before I can explain. Great, I might as well announce to the whole of Lantau that I'm stopping to pee. FINALLY.

I can run again. The relief is indescribable and I'm off to make up for all that walking. And NO MORE DRINKING. Well, maybe just a little. Running down into Shap Long, I catch up most of the people who'd passed me earlier. There was a female 100km runner who'd overtaken me and I wanted to catch her if I could. I found her just before we go to Shap Long, and dropped her soon after. 2h 41 mins to get to Shap Long CP9 .. time to see if I took John's advice to save something for the last 'runnable' bit!

The last 5kms were decidedly fun. I had plenty of energy and my knees were a little sore but everything else felt just fine. I passed people as I picked up speed and was delighted to see Mui Wo come into view. Nearly done! I pass Markko again on the way, and he's taking it steady on the descents. I can't wait to get to the finish but keep a mantra of 'lift, lift, lift' so that I remember to lift my feet and not trip over anything. It'd be typical of me to have an almighty crash just before the finish!

Down the stairs, into Mui Wo, and I see Tuuli waiting on the corner. I shout that Markko is not far behind and head for the beach. It's lovely running in the town again, on flat ground (lift, lift, lift), and knowing the finish line is mere minutes away. Past the ferry terminal, the cooked food market and over the bridge. At Silvermine Resort I hear my name being shouted (thanks Chico, Kee Seng, Tira, etc!) and I can see a couple of runners ahead. I recognise one as another female 100km runner who passed me in the early stages of the race. There's nothing for it, give it some beans and try to move up a place. Let's see what I've got left!

As it turns out, more than enough. It was great fun opening my stride and feeling strong, I did encourage her as I went past but hoped I wasn't being cocky. The last bit on the sand wasn't one of my most sure-footed moments, but coming under the finish line with the drums beating and friends cheering was brilliant. Total time taken? 21:14:19. 2nd Senior Women (moving into a new age category might not be a bad thing!), 10 scoops of Tailwind, and far more climbing than I expected!

Finish in sight! Photo: Oriental Radium
Huge thanks to Nic for the delicious Coke, and Nora for sorting out my finish certificate. Hats off to Clement and Sabrina for a very enjoyable race and great course, I had a great time out there and met lots of lovely people! Huge respect to everyone out there on the course, the pointy end of the field made it look easy, and the ones who milked every last minute out of the event are real troopers for battling fatigue and injury to finish what they started. And for those who didn't finish, there's no failure in that. Valuable lessons are learnt every step of the way, and as long as you leave wiser than when you started, you're finishing on top.

I would have liked to stay till the end, but I needed to make the 10.40 ferry and was feeling more than a little tired. By my count, I'd now been awake for over 40 hours. I was out like a light on the ferry, and on the taxi home, and then promptly woke up at 7am the next morning starving and ready for church!

The best bit? I finished unscathed, not even a major stumble and only a very minor detour. (Silly watch says I did 121km, Strava followers will think I'm super fast or super bad at directions)

No regrets not having my poles, I just need to get stronger on the climbs and better on the descents. My Hoka Huaka felt good, much improved with the soon-to-be-launched Freelace (the name might change, don't hold me to this!). Tailwind? Brilliant. But I'll need to adjust as the situation demands. And I need treats. Next time I'll have a few treats with me just to combat the boredom or fatigue and get me going a little further or faster. And since it felt like I was deing ambushed by floodlights most of the night sections, I think I'll look into getting a brighter headlamp. I love my little Black Diamond Storm (160 lumens), it's waterproof and does well when I'm on my own, but pales in comparison to some of the portable floodlights the runners at TransLantau seemed to have. The brighter the light, the less chance of falling asleep .. any suggestions?

Clio's Kill Black eyeliner passes the ultra test!
It was a great refresher race for what lies ahead, and my legs felt great. A slightly sore right glute (lazy left leg), but otherwise business as usual. Back out for a run the next day and delighted with how I'm feeling! Next up, Anzac Ultra! #450kmorbust

Race results can be found HERE

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

SOS - Save our Sprint series!

The recent Bonaqua Action Asia Sprint Sai Kung. Photo: Action Asia Events 

There's uproar in the Hong Kong racing community of late.

Veteran events organiser Action Asia Events has been running their Sprint Series for 16 years. Now, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) have announced it will no longer issue any permits for these events.

These events have not only promoted healthy life styles, fitness and community in Hong Kong, they have also raised much needed funds for charity. The first sprint series raised funds to build a school for young children in Nepal, other events raised funds to provide outings for Hong Kong's disadvantaged youth. Hundreds of people join these events each year, to explore Hong Kong's amazing natural beauty and to come together for fitness, fun and charity.

If the AFCD go ahead and cancel permits for these events then this could spell the beginning of the end for Hong Kong's rich trail running scene. With HK's youth are already facing many problems of obesity and inactive lifestyles; the Government and AFCD should be taking extra steps to support events such as the sprint series, rather than spending their resources pouring concrete onto Country Park trails. 
Please help save the Action Asia Sprint Series and all future trail running and hiking events in Hong Kong by signing the petition below.

Click here to sign the petition.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Gearing up

Getting ready for TransLantau 100km tomorrow night, and looking forward to seeing some familiar faces! �� 

I'm still a Salomon girl at heart, even with my Hokas ☺️

Monday, 9 March 2015

King of the Hills, and more hills to come!

Competition isn't everything!

Despite my newfound tai tai status, I'm finding a life of leisure to be quite busy, really! :)

Kicked off the month of March with a nice little warmup race - KOTH Sham Tseng. Whilst out on a run the day before, the ever helpful Nora Senn proposed we do the race, and I didn't have a good excuse to refuse! I love that the KOTH series still allows for sign-ups on the day .. gone are the days of that happening in most races!

SO the next day I turn up sans Nora (absent due to an injury flare-up) and get stuck in.

This course was new to me and there's the option of doing a 24km or a 37km distance. I picked the latter, I wasn't passing up on a chance to climb Tai Mo Shan from off the beaten track!

The KOTH Sham Tseng full marathon profile.

The weather played nice, and while I'd hedged my bets with a pack full of warm clothes and food, it was a great day out. My first race this year, albeit run as a training session .. (there's bigger fish to fry next month!) it felt so good to be back on a course running with other like-minded nutters.

I loved the course, shiggy bits (this is a new word I've learnt that describes all the gnarly, hairy technical off-the-beaten-track sections that race directors in HK like to incorporate in their routes), some good climbs and some very runnable sections as well.

I though it was well marked, although some runners at the pointy end would beg to differ .. there have been rumours of course sabotage by removing key markings, why on earth would anyone want to do that and to what end??

Running happy at KOTH Sham Tseng. Photo credit - SportsSoho. 
I started knowing I'd take it steady, but I really had to ignore the competitive voice in my head that pushed me to go harder everytime someone passed me! I'm glad I did - I enjoyed the run immensely, made better by catching up with familiar faces before the start and making new friends at the finish!

It was a pretty good day at the office for local hero Stone Tsang who broke the course record in a sizzling 3:31;46, followed by Asia Trail's Clement Dumont in an equally speedy 3:33:36. Marie McNaughton took the honours as top woman and 8th overall in 4:19:17, with Raidlight's Zein Williams hot on her heels in 4:20:25 for second place and 11th place overall.

You'll find race report from RD Keith Noyes here, and full results here.

Next up is Translantau this weekend coming, 100km with 5,800m positive elevation. Another 'training' race for the 450km (gulp!) Anzac Ultra at Easter.

Here's some great tips and course description from John Ellis at Gone Running. A third place finish last year puts him in a very good position to give some useful advice. (and options for some last-minute kit if you need it!)

I've reposted below with his permission.


Posted by John Ellis on Feb 23, 2015

In only its third year, the TransLantau 100 has already established itself as one of the blue ribbon events on the Hong Kong ultra trail calendar. It is also one of Hong Kong’s toughest, with DNF rates of 29% in 2013 and 32% in 2014, however, that hasn't stopped another record field headed by local favourites Vlad Ixel and Santosh Bishwash, and Australian Majell Backhausen in the 50km.

With the 13 March kick-off only a few weeks away, we thought we would preview the race, with tips on the course, equipment and strategy (plus a course GPX file) to help you get to the finish line in one piece and, hopefully, in good time too.

Photo credit: A Photography


With outside support limited to food and drink at CPs, and no drop bag runners will need to carry their gear for the whole race. This means gear selection is critical - you will want to pack for every realistic scenario, but also avoid carrying unnecessary weight.


Minimum of 1 litre of water - unless you're Anton Krupicka, this will invariably mean a backpack. Many races require that you carry everything bar the kitchen sink, but TransLantau Race Director Clement Dumont has got it right with a sensible list of required kit. This means a smaller backpack will suffice. Depending on how you take your water, we like the Salomon S-LAB Advanced Skin 5L (bladder) and the Ultimate Direction SJ Race Vest (front bottles). Both are well designed, super comfortable with minimal bouncing, and have heaps of easy access pockets.

Two headlamps with replacement batteries - our strategy here is one reliable, top quality headlamp, with a minimalist backup to save weight. We love our Ay-Ups for 700 lumens of dual-light power, but you'll need a spare battery for this race and they are not cheap. Another excellent option is the LED Lenser H7R.2, which has only just been released in Hong Kong and packs 300 lumens of high quality light from its unique lens-reflector system. It also features fully adjustable power and light (narrow beam to diffused light) and a fully rechargeable battery that should last the 7 hours required on a medium-high setting, plus the option to swap in 4 x AAAs. Lithiums are a great race alternative - expensive but twice the capacity and half the weight. We'll be pairing this with the LED Lenser K1L hand torch - its 13 lumens are enough to get by in an emergency, and it weighs less than 8 grams.

Windproof jacket - check the weather forecast but a lightweight jacket should be enough. March is usually fairly dry, with temperatures averaging 16C minimum to 21C maximum. Also, the night leg is upfront where most runners should be still moving well - but you might want something more heavy duty if this will be a two-nighter for you. Unless the meteorologists are predicting heavy storms, I will personally be using my Mont Bell Tachyon jacket - it really is "featherlight" at only 50 grams, has a tucked in hood, keeps the wind off well, and will handle a few surprise showers with ease. Otherwise, I will be packing my Salomon Bonatti WP jacket - it's completely waterproof, comfortable for running and doesn't "stick" to skin.

Personal cup - consider using a soft bottle instead, as it will let you take your drink to go (even hot drinks like tea or soup), and will also fold up into a lightweight minimal package when not in use. We like the Salomon Soft Flask which comes in three sizes, 500ml, 250ml and 150ml, which weigh just 30, 20 and 12 grams respectively.

Minimum 200 calories - nutrition is really up to personal preference. Suffice to say, try everything first in training and nothing new on race day. Personally, for longer races, I need a more stable, longer lasting baseload energy to supplement the "spikes" I get from gels. My personal fave is Hammer Perpetuem Caffe Latte as it comes in a handy single serving pack, tastes good (if you like coffee), contains protein to avoid muscle breakdown, and is easy on the stomach, even if you like to throw down two packs at a time as I do, pre-race and around halfway. I like to top this up with hourly gels - some good flavours to try are GU Salted Caramel, GU Caramel Macchiato,Hammer Apple Cinnamon, and then PowerGel Hydro Cola for a caffeine-powered finishing kick.

Other gear you'll need to bring includes your race bib, a whistle, emergency space blanket, cap or buff, adhesive strapping tape, a mobile phone and minimum HK$100.


GPS watch - it's amazing how many runners we see with swish bang GPS watches but who don't use the navigation features. Even if you've recced the course, funny things happen on races and it's easy to take a wrong turn that can ruin your race. Admittedly, the graphics are pretty basic but it's quite easy to get the hang of keeping the little triangle (you) on the squiggly line (route). The GPX file upload to your watch only takes a few minutes, if you can find someone to give you one. Luckily, we have the TransLantau course (with 2015 route changes) in the link below - but remember it's a guide and the course markings take precedence! Value for features, our favourite GPS watch is the Garmin Forerunner 920XT with rechargeable 24-40 hours Li-ion battery, multi-sport capability, wireless connection to your smartphone, plus heart rate and "Running Dynamics" data for the science geeks. For those that prefer a more versatile watch, we like the Suunto Ambit3 Peak Black for a similar stack of features but won't look out of place in the boardroom.

Hiking poles - I usually only pull out the sticks for monster courses and was really glad I took them last year. Poles will keep your legs fresher on the many sharp climbs at TransLantau, and will even help you with forward momentum on the runnable sections in the last 25km. I use Black Diamond Ultra Distance Carbon Z as they are rock solid, have a simple locking / unlocking mechanism, and are lightweight at just 280 to 295 grams, important as you'll need to carry them the entire race. They also fold down to 33-44 centimeters so you can strap them to your pack, although I like to just carry them in one hand as I run.

Sunscreen - easy to forget when heading out at 11:30pm at night, but either pre-apply or bring along a small tube.

Lubricant - very important and has stopped many a decent runner dead in their tracks, especially in Hong Kong, where the high humidity results in soggy clothes which chafe much worse. You'll need a high quality product, and ideally one that comes in a small portable pack, like Gurney Goo from New Zealand, or Pjur Back Door Relaxing Glide. Apply liberally to any potential problem areas, like the groin, armpits, nipples (you may prefer bandaids) and also feet - yes feet! Since lubing up my feet, I've hardly ever had an issue with blisters. Bring along a small tube for re-application, if required, and hit those hot spots early.


In a nutshell, this course is a doozy. Even with 300m less climbing given a forced course change on stage 2, it's still 5,800m D+ which, versus the Maclehose, is 30% more climbing with a 33% shorter cut-off (32 hours). The temptation will be to push hard over the hilly early stages, to take advantage of the cooler early morning temperatures, but you should save some legs for the final quarter, which is mostly quite runnable.

The race starts on Silvermine Beach, with a short out and back on the beach, before heading through Mui Wo village. There is a stair bottleneck after 1km at the first stairs, so don't dally if you don't want to get held up. The next 6km is fairly constant uphill for around 400m D+. It’s easy to go out too hard here and ruin the rest of your race – take it easy! The next 3km is mostly sketchy downhill and takes you back to sea level, before an easy level canter to the village of Pak Mong.

This was easily the toughest section last year with 1,200m D+ in just 10km, including a 450m climb up Pok To Yan, the famous ultra-steep bum-scooting KOTH downhill and then the Lantau Two Peaks stairs up to Sunset Peak. This year's race will follow the 50km route, with a long steady climb up to Sunset Peak via Lin Fa Shan and the reverse KOTH full marathon route. Again, pacing will be critical - it's easy to push too hard in the cooler early morning weather but 900m D+ is still a slog so leave some climbing legs for the later stages.

A slightly easier section, with a fairly flat run along the SouthLantau Country Trail, before dropping down to join Lantau Trail, running backwards along the catchwater on stage 10. Just before hitting Shek Pik Reservoir, the course turns right up the Lantau Vertical course, a fairly constant climb, ascending 370m D+ in 5km, before taking the left turn to Ngong Ping.

Quite a fast section, initially following Lantau Trail section 4 for a 3.5km road downhill, before continuing along section 5, up and down both Kwun Yam Shan and Keung Shan. The course turns left off Lantau Trail after descending Keung Shan, with a steady downhill through to the CP. Don't forget to look up and enjoy the panoramic views!

STAGE 5 - 12KM TO CP5 TAI O (57KM)
Those who have run Lantau Base Camp's Lantau 70 will recognise this as part of the third leg, but in reverse. Start by climbing from sea level up to the 430m high Sham Hang Lek peak, where the countryside really opens up, before meandering over a few small hills. At around 53km, follow the steep stairs downhill to the final 4km coastal section to the CP, just outside Tai O.

Starts with an interesting flat section through the village, then the beautiful and quite runnable Tung O Ancient Trail - one of my personal favourite trails in Hong Kong - but take it easy here. At 64km, after the road starts to turn up, there is a sharp right into a brutal uphill bushwhack, where you’ll climb 540m in 3km. This is the toughest climb on the course and will spit you out at the cable car. From here, follow the contour around Nei Lek Shan to the CP at Ngong Ping, just like the Lantau Two Peaks course.

Only 5km but don't underestimate it. Most people will know this leg with the big steep stairs up to Lantau Peak, same as Moontrekker, KOTH and Lantau 70. If you have pushed too hard on the previous hills, this will hurt but is your last major climb. The stage finishes with the the big steps down the other side to the road before Sunset Peak.

Follows the KOTH contour around Sunset Peak, then mostly downhill to Chi Ma Wan, except for one smallish hill after the KOTH start at Nam Shan. Save some legs for this as you can pick up good time if you’re moving well - this should be your quickest stage of the day.

This is another easier, more runnable stage, but it won't feel like it with an all-nighter and over 80km under your belt. Apart from a medium climb over Lo Yan Shan to start, this is mostly flat and downhill as you wind your way around the Chi Ma Wan peninsula, with only a few small ascents.

Moontrekkers will recognise this section as the starting 5km, but in reverse. At just 5km on mostly flat along the coastal trail back to Mui Wo, the final stage is really just a formality, but will be a grind on tired legs. Enjoy this final stage - you've trained hard, pushed through some low points during the race, and are about to finish a monster of a course. That finishing TransLantau beer is in sight.

See you at the start on 13 March!
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