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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Thrilling Joint Finish in the Hong Kong 50 Series Men’s Event

SportsThrilling Joint Finish in the Hong Kong 50 Series Men's Event

In an exhilarating display of sportsmanship, the opening leg of the Hong Kong 50 Series culminated in a rare three-way tie. Three accomplished athletes reached the finish line simultaneously in the men’s event, turning heads and capturing hearts in the process.

The 50-kilometre trail-run event started from the scenic Peak Galleria, cast under the impressive silhouette of Victoria Peak, stretching all the way to Wong Nai Chung Gap. Canadian runner Jeff Campbell held a notable lead, staying a minute ahead for most of the challenging course.

However, as the finish line neared, Campbell’s solitary lead was threatened. Local athletes Chan Ka-keung and Wong Wai-hung, aided briefly by Rex Lo, gave a spirited chase. The trio managed to considerably narrow the gap, and while Lo couldn’t maintain the same momentum due to the grueling three-peak section – Mount Butler, Jardine’s Lookout, and Violet Hill – Chan and Wong persevered.

Just a few hundred meters shy of the finish, they managed to bridge the gap with Campbell. Instead of a nail-biting sprint to the finish, the three athletes, in a heartwarming gesture, decided to complete the race as a united trio. Recalling the moment, Campbell said, “The guys caught up, prompting me to sprint. But they suggested a ‘joint finish’. I thought it was a splendid idea and agreed.”

Wong reflected on the course’s challenges, mentioning various “rocky or technical sections that hindered consistent running”. For Chan, the mutual decision to finish as a team was born out of the immense challenge they collectively faced over 5 hours, 1 minute, and 32 seconds. He remarked, “The race was demanding, but early on, we supported each other. In the last stretch, seeing Jeff, we gave our all. After such an intense journey, a collective finish felt right.”

The women’s segment of the race witnessed France’s Sophie Hedou emerging victorious, clocking in at 6:05:18, which was a good 11 minutes and 39 seconds ahead of the second-placed Canadian athlete, Flora Ching Wing-yee. The third spot on the podium was claimed by Hong Kong’s Lee Wai-fong.

The event, which attracted around 600 enthusiastic runners, also showcased a shorter 24km race. Vlad Ixel from Australia, fresh off his win at the Lantau 2 Peaks race, secured the top spot in this category with a time of 1:47:14. In the women’s division for the same distance, Veronica Leng of Slovakia triumphed, finishing her comeback race post-pregnancy in 2:05:59. An elated Leng stated, “Racing again, particularly in an Action Asia event on Hong Kong Island, feels exhilarating. It’s like running on home turf in ideal conditions.”

Runners and enthusiasts now eagerly await the Lantau 50, the second leg of the HK50 Series, scheduled for December 2.


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