Running in a rainstorm

Today Marcel and I did another run, this time section 3, 4 and 5 of the Mac Lehose trail. Quite a challenge, especially after the intensive run yesterday. And the low pressure area caused by typhoon Higo made sure we did not stay dry today…

After an early breakfast with my wife at the Brunch Club in Soho, I took the MTR to North Point where Marcel joined me. From there we set off to Sai Kung by MTR and minibus, followed by a taxi to the start of section 3. Section 3 and 4 are the most difficult sections of the whole trail, and they were indeed not easy. The weather today made it even more difficult. The moment we entered the trail it started to rain like crazy. If you have ever been in a tropical rainstorm you know how hard it can rain, it was like being under a shower with your clothes on. Luckily a lukewarm shower, as the outside temperature was still in the upper 20’s Celcius.

Actually I felt the rain made running easier today, because it was not as hot as yesterday. I took 6 liters of water and sports drink with me (which does not make for easy running I can tell you) but only drank about 3.5 liters in the 7 hours that our run lasted. Section 3 started off with a long climb and I immediately felt the pain in my legs from yesterday. But the pain eased off after a while and when we arrived at the top of the first mountain I felt quite OK. Most of the other mountains that we climbed today were also not too bad, but the path was often very difficult to walk on. Very slippery and you had to take extreme care not to fall off the trail. Because of the hills and the weather we did a fast hike most of the time, it was just impossible to run not even down the hills. But it was fun and an excellent training.

Also the weather eventually got a bit better and we even saw some sunshine. But not for long, because during the last hour of our run another rainstorm hit Hong Kong (we actually saw it coming in from the ocean). We got soaked again and were glad that we were almost at the end of the trail. However, it turned out that right before the end a landslide had hit the road and we had to go around the backside of the last mountain. We first made a mistake and ended up in an area where we were not supposed to be (a radio transmission post on (I think) Fortress Hill). We had ignored the ‘no entry allowed’ and the ‘high radio transmission area’ signs, but when we got close to the transmitters and could even hear their humming we realized we were not in the right place. The place has a great view over Kowloon but it all felt a bit scary. Because of this and the detour around the mountain we decided not to finish section 5 (we just had a few km left until the end) and go down to Kowloon.

I look back on a great day in a fantastic natural environment. We hardly saw other people because of the weather, which made it even nicer. It was extremely tiring because of the long distance and the 3000 meters that we climbed in total, but it is something that I would not have wanted to miss.

Tomorrow I will likely not be able to walk much because of the muscle ache, so I will travel around Hong Kong by taxi instead of on foot and by public transport. And if I feel good on Tuesday I might do another (much shorter) hike with among others Spil Games’ Peter Driessen, who will be in HK as well. Just over four weeks until the Trailwalker, I am not yet ready for it but I feel I am getting in better shape – just in time!

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  1. Just curious, how much time did you take for Mac3-5 and what time are you targeting for all 10 stages?

  2. Time for 10 stages is about 20 hours, for 3-5 we did something like 6-7 hrs.