Thank you everyone. As of today we've raised HKD$21,600
Of course it's never as much as we'd like (or hoped for), but regardless, I think it's awesome! That translates into 144 people having their eyesight restored (see photos to the right).
Just think about that for a sec.
That's 144 people being given the gift of sight.... people that are currently living in darkness, but one day soon will be able to see a sunset, the smile of a loved one, words on a page, a movie, a butterfly... and a million other beautiful things in this magical world.
That will happen because of YOU and your generous donations.
With each passing day, I’ve noticed I wake up later and later. My alarm is set for 6am, so a few days back I got up at 6:08, then it was 6:09, then 6:11… today was 6:17. Hate to admit it, but yeah, possibly some resistance. Once I’m up, I go straight into a hot shower to wake up the brain and body. That normally takes about 10 minutes. Then for breakfast, I’ve been eating pretty much the same thing for 7 days now – a banana, small bowl of porridge, power drink (apple cider vinegar + wheat grass + MCT oil), one egg and a double-shot soya latte. That’s my fix and it seems to work.
Once that’s done, I get my running pack ready (see attached photo with checklist).
The final thing I do before leaving the house each morning is spend 20-30 minutes massaging my leg muscles. People wonder how I massage my own leg muscles!? Don't know, I just do it. ……………. Today was the final leg – 50km on the infamous Hong Kong Trail – starting at the Peak, and then snaking along the southern side of HK island, ultimately ending at Big Wave Bay Beach. I then carried on for two kilometers to officially end “HK360” at Shek O Beach. Yeah! Made it.
Unfortunately the data from Strava (running app) failed to download for this final section (Parkview to Big Wave Bay Beach) so there’s no official record for the final 24 kilometers. Oops. People will just have to believe it. Or not.
Weather forecast for today was 12-16 degrees with scattered rain patches. Yikes. Thankfully no rain for me! So that makes 7 days, not one drop of rain. Yeah baby! Thank you weather gods!
My legs were broken in the morning. Okay, not literally ‘broken’ but certainly feeling a similar level of pain. Each time my right foot hit the ground, it felt as though somebody was tapping the corner of my right patella with a metal hammer. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. And then on the left steps, there was a different pain. My lower left calf muscle was tight and tender (not really in the mood to cooperate), so it was also sending strong signals to my reptilian brain… “time to stop you fool” When I finally did stop for lunch at Parkview, I was truly dreading the afternoon run. But as luck would have it, for whatever reason, the pain intensity dropped significantly in the afternoon. I was back to enjoying the run and the tranquility of being “at one with the trail”… what an awesome way to finish up 360 kilometers.
Brutal day to start the year; no other way to describe it. The legs have had enough. So many aches and pains, in so many joints and muscles. Running a marathon every day (up and down on trails) for 6 days is taking its toll on this old body.
And running 50km today on two hours of sleep doesn't help! Last night was New Years, so like a fool I had rum&coke with my good friend Syd. Just one! But that was all it took....couldn't sleep. Slept maybe two hours.
Anyway, finished the Lantau section today - running from Shui Hau to Discovery Bay. Then took the ferry across to Central and ran from there up to The Peak (9km straight up).
When it comes to friends, for me quality always trumps quantity. I’ve never had a massive circle of friends, but the friends I do have are all precious gems. Take my good buddy Syd, for example. We’ve been friends for 30 years now. We go way back. We walked around Taiwan together (1,000 km), back in 1999, raising funds for the orphanages we were volunteering at on Saturdays. That event ultimately raised HKD$950,000.
Fast forward 20 years and Syd is still my ‘’point man” helping me out with every event, giving his time and energy selflessly, with little or no recognition. This time he brought his whole family (wife + 2 boys) over from Taiwan and they were my support crew for 5 days. It was absolutely magical and magnificent sharing this mini (but epic) event with them all. Today they were involved from start to finish. And Syd’s wife (Milan) even ran the afternoon section with me. What a joy!
I started the day at the Sunny Bay MTR station. That’s where Syd dropped me off before returning home to pick up his family. This was probably the most dangerous section of all, since the access road which parallels the main freeway (heading towards the airport) has no shoulders or pathways for pedestrians. So yep, that means you’re running on the road – with trucks and double-decker buses flying past within 1-2 feet of your head. At times like this, the only sane thing I can think to say is, “fuck it, have faith” ….. otherwise you get frozen in fear, and then where are you??
So the morning run took me from Sunny Bay to Tung Chung (13.8km), and then onwards to Tai O (12km). Interesting side note as I passed through Tung Chung. I tried doing a shortcut to avoid running through the downtown core. Big mistake! I got trapped on some mini service road with a barbed wire fence around it. With no option, I had to climb the fence (see photos – the ladder and ‘look at this dumbass’).
The afternoon run was absolutely phenomenal. Milan and I were running on this gorgeous, isolated trail that meanders along the southern tip of Lantau Island with stunning scenery of the ocean, pristine bays and pretty little beaches. At the end of it, Milan said her impression of Hong Kong had changed forever!
Morning section - Fanling to Yuen Long (26.6km). For those familiar with Hong Kong, I think you’ll agree when I say there’s not a whole to see (or do) in this area of the territory. Of course you’ve got the not-so-famous Mai Po wetlands, but other than that, not much else. I was just thankful I was running this long road section on a Sunday morning when the cross-border traffic (especially the 18-wheelers) was minimal.
Syd and the gang met me for lunch; and we drove ahead to Butterfly Beach (where I finished off yesterday).
Afternoon section was a ball buster (excuse my language). I was running from Butterfly Beach in Tuen Mun to Tsuen Wan, via the MacLehose trail (21.5km). Should have been a fairly easy run. But for whatever reason I felt tired, plodding along, counting each step…. and then I missed a turn off. Woops! One wrong turn and 7km later I was able to make my way back to the correct trail. What should have been 21 kilometers turned into 28. At times like this, I wish I had a running partner.
On a more positive note, I crossed the halfway point today. I've now run 220km..... which leaves 140 to go!
So big drop in temperature today. As I started out from Tai Mei Tuk it was about 12 degrees, a tad frosty, but once you’re warmed up it’s pretty ideal for running. The first section took me out and around Plover Cove Reservoir (18km) – it’s a challenging route with quite a bit of up and down (roughly 800m elevation gain) and not a lot of options once you’ve started. You either finish the loop or go back to the start. There’s no road access or other trails to connect with. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty trail with picturesque views of the reservoir.
After finishing the loop around the dam, it was 15km along the straight, boring and dusty road that leads into Fanling. Glad that’s done!
After lunch, we had to jump forward one section and run through the landfill south of Yuen Long (Ping Ha Road to Butterfly Beach). According to the original plan, I was supposed to run this section tomorrow, but apparently the gate to the landfill is closed on Sunday! Therefore I ran this section today (Saturday); and tomorrow I’ll go back and run the Fanling to Yuen Long segment.
Turns out the gate is closed EVERY day to the public. I had to plea with the security guard for 10 minutes before he decided to let us ‘slide’ through. I knew it was going to be tricky getting through the gate (I'd heard different stories), so I asked Syd to accompany me with the car. I promised the security guard we would drive through the landfill without stopping for anything. Little white lie. Little did he know, I jumped out of the car 200m down the road and ran the rest of the way. But all is well that ends well! I gave the security guard a nice tip for his good will. Meanwhile I finished another ‘ugly’ section of the run. What a stink! Just imagine running through the middle of a garbage dump…..
As you can see in the photo to the right, the weather continued to be bright and sunny, though a little cooler.
For the first 90 minutes, I literally did not see another soul on the trail as I worked my way north along the beautiful coastal trail to Hoi Ha.
But because the weather was so cool, I made the greatest mistake a long-distance runner can make.... which is forgetting to hydrate! My morning run took 3hr, 1min and during that time i drank roughly 500mL of water. Duh! They generally recommend 600-700mL per hour (so for 3 hours that would be about 2,000mL or 2 litres). Needless to say, my body started breaking down and by the time i finished 26km I was in great pain. Could barely walk. It was only during lunch time that I realized the idiotic mistake I'd made, but by that time it was too late. Hydrating helped a little, but the muscle fatigue and damage ultimately affected my PM run.
First up, thanks to John Ellis and the GoneRunning team. They've been extremely generous and very supportive. Can't wait to try out the new T8 shorts, and of course the infamous, friction-less undies (which come with a kick-ass, money back guarantee). I'll be sure to give a full report at the end of it all.
Thanks to Devesh at Drone&DSLR for his drone footage and editing. Absolutely brilliant! If you need a camera/video man who knows his stuff, give Devesh a call.
And thanks again to Red Bull. As most of you know, it's power in a can!