Wondering what to do on the weekend? With at least 90 different running and multisport races, ranging from one to 173 kilometres long, taking place between now and the end of April next year, there’s good reason – whatever your fitness level – to join in the fun.
From road to trail, a leisurely charity walk to speedy competitive runs, an easy loop round the Peak on Hong Kong Island to the challenging Pat Sin Leng ridge in the northeast New Territories, the variety of events is mind-boggling. With trail running alone – arguably the fastest growing sport in Hong Kong in recent years – there are at least 60 events, more than four times than in 2010.
Here are eight races that whet our appetite for running.
When: November 12
Where: Tai Wan To Beach, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island
What: 8km run with a mix of concrete and trail
Why: a charity run organised by the Child Welfare Scheme, a local charity that supports disadvantaged children and their families, this is the first event of its kind on Lamma. The route goes past the Lamma wind turbine and a scenic mountain trail, before looping back to the start. It’s an easy hike for beginners and can be a challenge for runners racing against the clock. The race ends with a beach music festival featuring local bands, food and drinks, market stalls, beach games and children’s activities.
MSIG 50 Series – Lantau Island
When: December 4
Where: Lantau Island
What: 16km, 27km and 50km trail run
Why: rub shoulders with some of the region’s and world’s best trail runners, such as Ultra Trail Mont Blanc champions Caroline Chaverot and Ludovic Pommeret of France in this event that doubles up as the Asian Skyrunning Championships. The race is part of the MSIG 50 Series, which also includes an event on Hong Kong Island (Oct 23) and Sai Kung (Feb 18). The 16km route covers no major peaks, unlike the longer routes, and has a generous six-hour cut-off – ideal if you’re just getting started in trail running.
Aberdeen Boat Club Beneteau Four Peaks Race
When: January 21 to January 22, 2017
Where: all around Hong Kong
What: Asia’s ultimate sailing and hill running challenge that covers between 55 to 90 nautical miles (101km to 167km).
Why: an annual overnight multisport race organised by the Aberdeen Boat Club since 1985, the race brings together the sailing and running community for an endurance feat which takes on average 24 hours to complete. Typically, competitors set off from Tai Tam Bay on the Saturday morning, sailing towards Lantau. There, runners are dropped off in an allocated zone and travel to shore via a small boat or kayak and ascend Lantau Peak (934 metres) on any chosen route, before making their way back to the boat. From there, competitors tackle three more mountains: Mount Steinhouse (353m) on Lamma, Violet Hill (433m) on Hong Kong Island and Ma On Shan (702m) in Sai Kung. The minimum crew is five, with at least two runners climbing each peak.
Fat Choy Run
When: January 30, 2017
Where: The Peak, Hong Kong Island
What: an 8km road run to usher in the new Lunar Year
Why: one of the long-running popular events on the local running calendar, the Year of the Rooster will be the 36th edition. Organised by the Hong Kong Ladies Road Runners Club, the figure-of-eight course starts at the Peak Galleria and passes by this tourist landmark two more times.
Sign up: hklrrc.org.hk
The 9 Dragons Ultra
When: February 4 to February 5, 2017
Where: Kowloon and New Territories
What: 50 mile (82km) and 50km trail races, back-to-back
Why: Hong Kong’s newest ultramarathon is an interesting concept that combines a 50-miler, starting at midnight on the Saturday, and a 50km race on the next day. Both courses will be different, with 200 runners given the chance to compete in both – conquering the legendary “Eight Dragons” of Kowloon: Kowloon Peak, Tung Shan, Tate’s Cairn, Temple Hill, Unicorn Ridge, Lion Rock, Beacon Hill and Crow’s Nest. The winner of the race will be crowned the “ninth dragon”. Organiser Steve Carr of RaceBase Asia says it will be “the hardest and coolest thing you’ve ever done in Hong Kong.”
Sign up: the9dragons.asia
The Green Race HK Ultra
When: April 2, 2017
Where: Plover Cove, Tai Mei Tuk, New Territories
What: another new trail ultramarathon offering 35km and 70km options
Why: if the environment and sustainability concerns you, you’ll find like-minded people at this new event. Organisers The Green Race hold events with the aim of promoting the enjoyment of outdoors sustainably with each person doing his or her part.
Sign up: facebook.com/greenraceHK
Alpinamente Trail Relay Challenge
When: April 9, 2017
Where: Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung
What: a team relay event with a total distance of 26km
Why: this new race has a different format – teams of three runners tackle three different loops A (4km), B (4km) and C (5km). First all three runners complete loop A. Then, any two runners complete B, passing the baton to one runner to do C, passing on to another runner to do A again. Then, any two runners run B again, before all three runners run C together to finish the race.
Hard As Nayls
When: April 29 to April 30, 2017
Where: Clearwater Bay, New Territories
What: a charity trail race for the entire family with 4km and 8km races for adult-child teams on Saturday, as well as 16km and 42km options on Sunday
Why: started in 2015, this is a memorial race for Andy Naylor, a Hong Kong policeman who died while competing at the 2012 Ironman triathlon in New York City. The race goes through the scenic Clearwater Bay Country Park, the trails and roads that Naylor trained on. All profits from the race will go towards investing in running programmes for local children; investing in the local adult running scene; and donating money to any family who has lost a loved one in a running-based event or activity. On Saturday, after the family races, a BBQ and party will be held.
Sign up: hardasnayls.org