HK Victoria 162: Start 2020 With One of 6 Races

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6 distances/races to choose under HK V162. Picture Credit: V162 Facebook

Exclusive for SOTG readers and friends: get 20% discount for any of the 6 races in V162 21st Feb to 23rd Feb 2020. Valid till end of registration, Jan 15 2020 HK time. Let me know your interest to sign up and I will send the code for you to use when register. Hurry as limit is only for 20 runners!

Looking for a race to kick off 2020? I certainly need one. It’s all about continuing to improve in this trail running pursuit. I’m very glad to introduce you to Victoria 162 in Hong Kong – nominated as Best New Race for the second year in a row. From conquering 3 highest peak in one go to doing in 3 days camping style. Or shorter yet challenging distances. Maybe pick one to finish at historical Kennedy Town in Victoria City and hug of the seven historical “City Boundary 1903“?

Go Back For Seconds

I enjoyed the peaks and endured the puking drama in 80km race this year, but I wanted to return. Many factors attracted me – the local flair, delicacies food choices, refreshing uncrowded track, pleasant winter weather and well-organised race backed by an experienced team of runners and volunteers.

Of course specific to HK other than it’s stunning Victoria Harbour is the geological history (you might spot the volcanic rocks on some of the peaks), the rolling hills and endless stairs of many shapes (yes, boulder stairs!).

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The Panoramic Victoria Harbour. Picture Credit: V162 Facebook

In what distance to race is still in my evaluation given my condition – I’m still not yet fully recovered from dodgy ankle injury (nearly though so fingers crossed). First world problems I know! 80km is certainly ‘comfortable’ and I would like to beat my last time. But how about considering the more challenging and more adventurous? The singe162km, 3-Days challenge or 3-Days Race? How about settle in for other shorter distance but equally beautiful?

Is HK Safe?

But first and foremost, is HK safe to travel? The question I got a lot these days from fellow runners, taxi drivers and general passers-by following months of what being seen in the media. Having travelled there in November for another race and stayed in the main island, I personally was at the impacted city area during day time (afternoon at Wan Chai), and at night time few blocks away in a controlled security condition without much effect. I can say that HK is relatively safe but exercising vigilant and cautions are must at all time including staying out of the impacted areas, paying attention to the strike and MTR (train) announcement.

In case you are not aware, HK is massive in term of land cover and comprised of multiple islands. So, it is relatively safe to roam freely at countless beautiful trails and secluded beaches. This sentiments are shared with my fellow HK based runners whose life continues and business is carried as usual despite political discontent that continue to fester. That said, of course we hope for normalcy to return, with less street action and more fruitful dialogues in the office.

Route Adjustment

For the upcoming 3rd edition in February 2020, Matthew Mok, the race director has taken pre-cautionary steps to adjust the route. I was advised that “specifically for N80, the adjustments present less concrete and more rural trails, which a much preferred step towards incorporating more wilderness”.

Loving the sound of this as almost route will be in the countryside and on the hills. Should there’s any urban area (example N6 at Fo Tan), runners would be away from any potential clashes. Minor adjustment and route reviewed is also done across other distances too.

Six Versatile Distances

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Map of area and race course in HK V162. Picture Credit:V162 Facebook

Back to the distances being offered. There’s something for every trail runners – beginner, novice and expert alike. Each comes with merits and all depends upon your race goal/purpose:

  • V162 (7,780m in 46 hours 6 UTMB Points) – aka Tour de Victoria if you want to circle around the harbour! Race starts near the airport in Lantau, cross the harbour twice via MTR (from Lantau into Northern Territories above water, and later on go under water to depart from Northern Territories to the HK Island) and finishes at the Victoria City’s famous landmark, the Boundary Rock. Runners will climb all the highest peaks: Lantau Peak (934m), Tai Mo Shan (952 m) and Victoria Peak (552m).
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N4 Ho Pui Reservoir. Leading to Tai Mo Shan Route. Picture Credit: V162 Facebook
  • 3-Day Challenges/Race (7,780m in 47 hours 5 UTMB Points) – Two years ago this was the first multi-stage race with campsites in HK. Tackle 162km base at 2 campsites in 2 ways: (i) self-supported with own food, or (ii) enjoy food provided at checkpoints. Both ways runners must carry own sleeping gear. Runners to race 57km (Day 1), 80km (Day 2) and 25km (Day 3). With camping gears provided by Camelbak in 2020, this race is best for runners who want to practice sleeping under night sky (plus that wake up call) while testing food, gears and endurance.
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For 3 days Challenge/Race – Camping at 2 sites of Victoria 162 route. Picture Credit: V162 Facebook/Jenny Liu
  • N80 in (4,150m in 24 hours 4 UTMB Points) – Covering well-beaten major trails, reservoir, mining villages, explore locally-famed rocks, historical landmarks, and goes to top of HK, Tai Mo Shan. I wrote about this race here.
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N80 Route. I recalled climbing this at night in heavy rain. Picture Credit: V162 Facebook
  • L57 (2,270m in 15 hours 3 UTMB Points) – Classic Lantau island race. Visit historic towns of Pak Mong and Mui Wo, tackle Lantau Peak, go through Tai O Fishing Village and return at Tung Chung.
  • H50 (2,670m in 14 hours 3 UTMB Points) – This is a stand alone course, kick off on Sunday with most popular entries! Runners will experience a 50% redesigned course vs. last year that will go through “Joyful Path”, Siu Ma stream, Tai Tam, through most HK island’s country park and finish at Kennedy Town.
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Pony Hill. H50 Route. Picture Credit: V162 Facebook
  • H25km (1,380 m in 8 hours 1 UTMB Points) – Visit 6 out of 7 historical Victoria City that includes remaining boundary stones. Climb up Victoria Peak to Kennedy Town. A good mix of history, city, the Peak, and panoramic harbour views.

In summary except for N80 and L57, runner will finish at Kennedy Town.

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One of the legendary Boundary Stones at Kennedy Town, Victoria City. Picture Credit: Victoria 162 Facebook

Training

There’s still under 3 months to train. I just kicked off new season training last week and will load more miles and vertical accordingly. Specifically, will work on my weaknesses such as downhill/stairs, running in wet condition and continue with my strength training. Will cover fuelling and nutrition too. Sharing my training through this blog post and Social Media (love to connect, so do follow and stay tune!).

Planning Your Trip

The wonderful organiser can assist on which accommodation and areas to base yourself as this is depending on which races you choose to sign up. Last time, I based myself in Kwun Tong in the same area where N80 finishing line located. Hotel and airfare (Cathay Pacific) are slashing price given current unrest – something to take advantage of.

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Planning Table to assist with travel. Picture Credit: V162

Exclusive for SOTG readers and friends: get 20% discount for any of the 6 races in V162 21st Feb to 23rd Feb 2020. Valid till end of registration, Jan 15 2020 HK time. Let me know your interest to sign up and I will send the code for you to use when register. Hurry as limit is only for 20 runners!

More details: Victoria 162 website

Go on, sign up one of the 6 races and train well! See you in HK.

Happy trail.

SOTG,x

P.S. Did you know that 2019 Victoria 162 has donated HK$46k (US$6k) to Food Angel post race for distribution underprivileged communities in Hong Kong. Unopened foodstuffs from the race checkpoints also been donated to Food Angel. Talking about green race and sustainability organisation!

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