Quadriple winners of very tough inaugural UTHK
The first edition of the 175 km long Ultra Trail Hong Kong tool place last weekend in the New Territories and turned out to be much harder than most runners expected. As could be seen on our live coverage page, only 37 runners finished within the 50-hour deadline, with a buffer granted to three more runners to get a place in the official race result - which is also the basis for the distribution of performance points for the Asia Trail Master ranking.
The first race of the ATMs began in cloudy but generally great running conditions on Friday early afternoon. Runners from China took off very fast, but then would miss a couple of signs when darkness fell. This opened the way for a number of local runners to grab the top spots at checkpoints. Eventually, four of them, Alex Fan, Lau Hoi Fai, Wong Tze Wan and Chun Pak Hang, would reach the finish together in a time of 39:31:26. Rather than sprinting against each other, they crossed the line in brotherly fashion.
In terms of Asia Trail Master points, this will put the quartet also at the top of the first ranking with 575 points each. The ATMs ranking committee has decided not to distinguish between them, but to avoid controversial situations in the future, it has also added a detail in the points regulations: if runners cross the finish line together, the ranking at the last checkpoint before the race finish will be consulted to determine who scores the most performance points.
Two women mastered the 175 km course last weekend, with Yuen Kit Shan even scoring tenth overall in 43:45:51! Behind her in second was Kathy Yu Hiu Kit, and Tan Seow Ping was the last timed finisher in third in 51:04.
There was also a B-race at UTHK, but not exactly short neither at a length of 92 km. One man dominated that race, Lam Chi Yung in 15:58. He scores 92 distance points and 200 performance points for a total of 292. Eagle Lee Kin Wai and Lino Lopes grabbed the remaining steps on the podium, aided by a last-minute retirement of Neil Fraser, who got lost with a mere 6km to go. Suzanne Liu was the fastest woman in 21:29, with Poon Yuk Pui not far behind in second and Kennis Chueng Ping Ting in third.
The next race where points for the ATMs ranking can be collected is next week's Wild Elephant Trail in Sri Lanka (event sold out), before the series moves to China for a couple of races in April.