Yesterday I ran the 10k, the shorter one of the two 'undulating' courses near Shek Kong in Hong Kong, and I finished in 38:46, a very good result on a challenging course. Just my splits on the first 3k are proof for this: 3:43/3:30/4:22!
I placed 2nd in age-group and 3rd over-all, got lots of stuff and a nice trophy!
Here the longer version of my story:
Undulator 2 - Spiridon's Revenge
Like eight years ago, I'm passing in front of Kadoorie Farm, steep hills, great view, beautiful blossoms, blue skies, that's X-mas time in Hong Kong.
The bus turns into Route Twisk. Yes, spell-checker, shut up! Twisk, not twist. The driver shifts to second gear. Engine still turns lower and lower. But comes to an involuntary stop. Back to first gear. Up the hill at walking-pace.
We arrive, I jog to the registration, it's cool, almost chilly. I find Gary Eng, he arrived even earlier. And I meet Mark Reeves who beat me by 3 seconds at the Boxing Day Run. I always seem to have a rival in those races, eight years ago, it was John Myatt (see below).
From the start, I find myself close to the leaders, but after the very fast second kilometer, I settle into a comfortable 4th, letting Mark go with two fast Chinese.
I definitely want to avoid un-duell-lating myself (un-duell-lateness: undue lateness due to a duell).
Later in the race, my strategy pays off! I catch Mark at the 4k mark, but loose the leader, temporarily running in 2nd. Unfortunately, another Chinese guy, who actually was in my age-group, passes me. He had run even more defensively, good job. On an uphill at about 6.5, another Chinese catches up, but I manage to open up 3 seconds on the following downhill, which I desperately defend to the finish, running the last kilometer in 3:40.
I finished within sight of the winner, so, even though I was happy with my result, I wonder if I could have done better. All my friends and my stomach know that 9:30am is too early a starting time for me. Ran straight to the - already flooded - loo after finish (will not further elaborate).
And, believe it or not, tomorrow, I'm registered for another hilly 10k on Cheung Chau Island!
Below the story of long ago (2000):
The Undulator... ...is not the latest Schwarzenegger, but equally painful
on it's victims!
As most of you know, I went to Hongkong for a week-end,
including a 30k race. The day before I bumped into
running-mate Gillian Castka, former British national and a
veteran female runner in HK. She told me the course was
undulating, but advised me to stay behind age-group rival
John Myatt, as he had recently posted good results.
Well, I just heard the first part, neither considering
that the word undulating might have different meanings
according to local standards, and traditional British
understatement. I went there by car, with the well-known
Yorkshire madman (Dr.) Babatunde Bukunola, - better known
him as 'Babs' who had opted for the easier 5k uphill
race at Kadoorie Farm - this one has only about 400m
altitude difference - because he had irreparably injured
his knee in his downhill stunts performed at a ridiculous
pace he considers a Yorkshire tradition but definitely not
applicable to HK pavement.
We travelled into the New Territories along a road called
Road Twisk - the people in the car assured me this was not
a spelling mistake. When the race started, a landscape
unravelled that was definitely more beautiful than in most
Schwarzenegger movies, but on a pavement that would have
easily withstood Arnold's hardest punches. I felt in
great shape, so I went out with some Chinese runners,
forgetting about John, covering the first kilometer in
about 3:52 - they had the course marked every 500m in the
Then the hills started, and I was wise enough to walk up,
there was nothing to be gained by running. On the
downhills I caught up with the people that had passed me
on the uphills, and I got to the turning point in 1h 44
sec.. I later figured out that I must have run under 3
min. k/pace on some of the steep downhills, as I had
walked the uphills, and there was no over-all decline.
From that point I realized that I should have heedeg
Gillians advice, as things were getting tougher k by k. I
actually managed to stay clear of John until about 25k,
but when he passed me on an uphill, my right calf cramped
up, so I could not counter on the downhills anymore.
He beat my by about 3 min., and out of the age-group top
five - which is a pity, as there were 25 prizes, and I was
16 over-all! In any other age-group I would have won some
nice running wear!
Congrats to the organizer, there was nothing to complain
about, at the water stops the people even knew the English
word for water, so it was unneccessary that I yelled
'soy', one of the few Cantonese words I know, in order to
avoid pouring sports drink over my head.
And, there were not only prizes for the winners, everybody
got a t-shirt, a waist-bag, a small food-bag, and a tin of
I highly recommend all my running friends in Japan and
Germany to hit HK for a week-end stop-over and
participate in one of the local events, as I'm sure the
hospitality of local race organizers and our sports-mates
of the HKLRRC (Ladies Roadrunners) and the AVOHK (Athletic
Veterans) will guarantee a pleasant stay, along with the
beautiful blue skies that are typical for this season in
Keep on running, but mind the downhills, Juergen