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My TransLantau100 Adventure

translantau route map

I was in Lantau island, Hong Kong, from 13 – 17 March not for vacation but to run the Translantau 100km. It was my first time in Lantau island and it would be my first ever attempt in a 100km ultra trail marathon.

start point pose

The 100km race started on 14 March at 11.30pm, the start/finish point was at Silvermind bay beach, Mui Wo. On that chilly night (16 – 18 deg C), the race director flagged about 400 of us off without much fanfare as the majority of the runners in the 50km category would be starting the following morning.

night start

I’ve little recollection of what went on during the night run/hike, except the suffering from the wind-chill while we were ascending the peaks. Besides the cold, I vaguely remembered there were lots of queuing to go uphill, and bottlenecks when going over obstacles and steep downhills. There was a very steep downhill on single track where many runners were sliding down on their backsides.

Translantau Profile

The 100km route included the second and third highest peak in Hong Kong – the Lantau Peak at 934m above sea level and Sunset Peak at 854m above sea level, respectively.

It was daybreak after descending Sunset Peak, and that was when I’ve the opportunity to enjoy the race running through the Lantau South Country park, Ngong Ping Plateau where the Big Buddha is situated, Keung Shan country walk, going around Sheik Pik reservoir as the route brought us to Tai O, a fishing town located in the northwest of the island.

Po Lin monastery

keung shan

observatory

After Tai O, I headed towards Ngong Ping CP6 and by the time I reached, night has fallen and I’ve been running for 20 hours over 69km! My sleep-deprived mind was screaming for much-needed sleep and to be honest, the thought of DNF has crossed my mind. After CP6, the route would take us to the summit of Lantau Peak, and to make this climb in the night and in less than idea physical and mental state would be a very risky venture.

At that moment in time, my body was ready to give up. My running buddy, Frances from Philippines, whom I met at TMBT 2013, encouraged me to give Lantau Peak a try. After refueling at the CP, I decided to press on. It proved to be the best decision in the whole race, as the experience of climbing Lantau Peak was the scariest and most memorable experience of my life! Every step up the stone stairs felt labored and excruciating to the knees, but we were able to see the Big Buddha in all its glory. As we ascended higher, the darkness and heavy fog reduced visibility until we could see the Buddha no more. Once near to the peak, we were practically on all fours moving on the ridge line as what felt like 100km/hr wind pounded on us and threatened to blow us off the face of the mountain!

When we finally reached the summit, the wind was blowing so fierce that a crew member (he was holed up in a dug-in shelter) instructed us to quickly get off the mountain as fast as possible. After descending thousands and thousands of steps, we finally reached the next CP at 84km mark. I’ve conquered the highest point in Lantau island in darkness and lived to tell the tale!

From 84km onwards till the CP9 at Shap Long, it was all a blur to me. It was way past midnight, I’ve been on my feet for 2 nights without sleep. I struggled, sleep-walked and tripped my way through this last leg of the route and finally tumbled my way towards CP9 within the cut-off time. I’ve been running the race for 30.5 hours and i absolutely hate it!

From CP9, it remained 5km to the finish point at Silvermind bay beach. As daylight broke, my body awoken a little and I made a late “dash” to finally crossed the finishing line in 31hrs 46mins to complete my first ever 100km ultra trail marathon!

Finisher pose

Finisher medal

Translantau PowerMatix results

Yes, I finally made it! I felt so privilege to have run and completed this beautiful race in Lantau. The course was brutal, and all the finishers must have climbed no less than 50,000 steps up and down the many peaks along the race course. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual figure was double that!


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Higher, Further, Crazier

After going through the epic adventure that was TMBT Ultra Trail Marathon in Sabah last September, I was surely bitten by the trail-running bug (if there’s such a thing). I am ready to embark on my next challenge and had in fact chosen to test my endurance in a 100KM ultra race – TransLantau 100 – in Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

Translantau header

The race is coming up in mid-March and here’s a snippet of the race from the organisers:
The 100-km Translantau will cover the most scenic trails on South Lantau, for a cumulative elevation gain of 5,800 meters. This is a challenging trail run which requires adequate training to complete the full route within 32 hours. The route includes steep climbs and downhills, the highest climb being the Lantau peak (934m).

Translantau100 header

Enjoy this video made for the inaugural Raidlight Lantau100 which was held in 2013.

Raidlight Lantau100 from Lloyd Belcher Visuals on Vimeo.


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The World’s Largest Water Ride

During the December 2013 school holidays, we went vacation at one of our favourite destination, Sunway Lagoon, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The last we visited Sunway Lagoon was in June 2011, and this time round we were looking to take a thrilling ride on the world’s largest water ride – The Vuvuzela!

Besides the new addition of the Vuvuzela, most of the theme park remains unchanged. You can see the photos from my Sunway Lagoon vacation in 2011 post.

For now, let’s look at some photos of the mammoth Vuvuzela, before inviting you to join me in the thrilling ride!

sunway lagoon

vuvu funnel

funnel rear

queue

funnel ride

Due to the novelty factor of this new ride, and the fact that it was the year-end school holidays, there was a long queue and it took us 35 minutes queue time to reach the ride, which finished in under 2 minutes! Nevertheless, it was totally worth the queue! Watch the video and feel the thrills and spills!


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My SCMS 2013 Result

The official result of SCMS 2013 were released after organizers revealed almost 3800 participants at this year’s Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) were hit by a timing glitch – some received inaccurate timings, some had no timing registered, and the worst was some were wrongly disqualified as a result of this unfortunate technical fault.

The good news for me was that my timings were captured and there was no dispute whatsoever. The bad news was I did rather badly and far exceeded SCMS 2012 personal best time. I ran a slow 4h23m, unable to better my PB set last year.

scms2013 result

finisher medal front

finisher medal rear


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StanChart Marathon Singapore 2013

The biggest annual mass run event here, the StanChart Marathon Singapore 2013, was flagged off on 1st December. It was also the last race that concludes my personal running season for the last few years, this year was no exception. The early morning pre-race logistic did not work out so well for me. There was a long queue at the baggage deposit area, as a result, the gate for the sub-4 starting pen was closed when I got there. I had to joined thousands others entering the start point via the 7hr-starting pen which was way behind. Consequently, it took me 6 minutes after the flagged off to reach the start line!

Even at 5am, it was a humid run even though there was much rain the night before the marathon. The going was tough, I was really feeling the effect of the humidity. I did not prepare well for this race, and with inadequate mileage in my trainings, I was paying for my lack of motivation to train.

The full marathon route was exactly the same as SCMS 2012. And with the same route came the same problem of runners congestion at the merging point of the various categories. Unfortunately, past year’s post-run feedback have not been addressed and rectified.

Eventually I was just glad to cross the finishing line in pain, very much disappointed with the timing. Let’s enjoy some of the sights along the marathon route. Photo credit Running Shots

scms flyer

scmszorro

scms power rangers

SCMS2013CW

With the same route year-in-year-out, this race is no fun for me anymore. I’m hoping an overhaul of the race route when the Sports Hub opens in 2014.


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