This weekend sees the running of the annual OXFAM TrailWalker in Hong Kong, and while most participants aim to walk and jog to the finish for the last few years a number of gun teams have chased the podiums and fastest time. This time round we see a real opportunity for records to tumble as Salomon France have pulled together an all star team to have a crack at the course record and The North Face have also assembled some incredible talent (interview with TNF team to follow)
Our team on the ground has been capturing the atmosphere as this event has suddenly grabbed attention all round the world as elite teams rarely target these types of races for a number of reasons including the logistics of bring 4 runners together.
Lloyd Belcher, a local trail runner and photographer/film maker is writing for ultra168 and caught up with the team before this weekend to ascertain their chances:
Andy Symonds: “To be honest, before today we knew very little about the course. We knew it was 100km and we knew how much climbing was involved and that it was next to Hong Kong. What was quite amazing for us today was that we were in a taxi for 40 minutes and then we were in nature. Then we come back here and it’s just these massive buildings so it’s a big shock but it’s amazing that you can be so close to nature in a big city. This morning we spent 2 or 3 hours running along some part of the trail and we discovered that it was really nice trail with nice views, lovely beaches and nice noodles afterwards.”
Michel Lanne: “It is the end of the year so we are a little bit tired. We have many, many kilometres in the legs. For each of us, we have ran many different types of races. For Andy and me, it is a little bit shorter than Julien and Francois but the preperation has involved many, many hours and we shall see.”
5. What do you concentrate in terms of team work?
Andy Symonds: “To be honest, we don’t live very close to each other in France so it’s quite rare that we run together and we never do races like this. I think it is very good to do a race like this together especially at the end of the season. For me it’s a long race so it’s really nice to share it and make the time pass easier. It also means that if one or two of us are struggling then we can just help each other mentally and give each other a little push. For me it’s unfortunate there aren;t more races where you can run as a team because it’s a nice way to share the experience.”