Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Race of the Year: AVOHK Reservoir Series (Tai Lam Chung) - 14 December 2014 - 15km

This was it.

My last race of the year.  And also my last trail race for a very, very, very long time.

I've come to enjoy hiking since I moved to Hong Kong and there are some truly fantastic trails and country parks here.  But racing through them is not for me.  No sir.  Not the mad scrambling up and down on rocks, narrow paths, streams, dodging overhanging branches, stomping on resting butterflies, swatting at mozzies, and punishing my knees and ankles just to see how fast I can finish (which is not all that speedy, but I digress.)  It didn't take much to discover that I'm more of a leisurely hiker - you know, the type that takes frequent "breathers" to gawk at the view, take loads of photos, and explore the flora, fauna and the odd wild boar along the way.  Yeah, I see only flat road races in my future running life.

So this last race of 2014 - which was a relatively "easy" 15km route around the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir - was my swan song in terms of trail racing.  Organized by AVOHK (Athletic Veterans of Hong Kong,) this race was the first of three in its annual Reservoir Series, and it was held on a brilliant blue-sky day at the country park that is just adjacent to the minimum security Tai Lam Correctional Institution, through which the runners had to walk to get to the starting point. 

We took the 7 a.m. shuttle bus provided by AVOHK from Peninsula Hotel to the reservoir.  The entire scenic journey took a little less than an hour.  I managed to take this quick shot of the Tsing Ma suspension bridge (the longest in the world that carries both rail and road traffic) past my dozing bus mate.
This is our course map.  We ran counter-clockwise in a loop starting near the southern tip of the reservoir.
 
First glimpse of the reservoir in the morning light.  This is also our starting point.

Can never stretch too much or too often before a race.
Slowing down to appreciate the gorgeous bougainvillea at around the 3km mark. Note that there's not a sign of the other runners.  That's because I'm pretty much at the back of the pack - as usual.
 

At every turn, we got to see the reservoir which was a handy marker.  It was a deliriously happy moment when I'd finished one length of it and could see the distance I had traversed.

 
This is around the halfway point; walking through a pretty bamboo thicket.

So this is it for my "marathon" year.

I'll write more about my 12-month experiences in my next post once I've sorted through my memory bank, hundreds of photos, and oh yes, those clunky kitschy medals I've amassed.

Watch this space, kawan kawan.
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