Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
This was my most favourite run so far. Yep. That’s right. It was fan-dabby-dozy. Bloody amazing. There are lots of reasons why. Probably the setting. Or the people. Or the weather. Maybe the view. Or the dark. Or the food and beer afterwards. Or maybe just ALL of those things.
This was my first accompanied run around the world. A few months ago I’d noticed that Nic Tinworth had started to follow me on Twitter, I think he had seen my articles on The Running Stories website. I’d noticed in Nic’s twitter bio he was from Hong Kong, so, knowing I’d be wanting to run when I got there I tweeted him asking for advice on where to run. A few tweets later and a bit of advice had turned into an offer to join him on a run when I got there. So, a few emails in Hong Kong led to arrangements to meet him and his girlfriend at the top of The Peak in Hong Kong at 8pm outside Starbucks. Following Nics directions I got the #1 green minibus to the top of the peak and waited, enjoying the view. Nic and Rachel turned up, having just RAN up to meet me. I started to feel a little bit worried; I hadn’t run since Beijing, they were both ultrarunners and now here they were already warmed up having ran up the peak. I wondered what I’d let myself in for!
But, Nic stayed true to his word and they went easy on me. For which I was very grateful. We had a slow, leisurely 10K run down the Hong Kong trail by headlamp, chatting away as we ran. Running through spiders webs, over tree branches and rocks, streams and mud, all just lit by the torches on our heads. I’ve never ran with a headlamp before; it was fun. Quite exciting and exhilarating. And I managed not to fall over. The run was all mainly through woods, save for the odd break in the trees where I’d see a glimpse of the skyscrapers that make up that Hong Kong harbour skyline. Stunning. Atmospheric is probably the word I’d use. Imagine it. I think I actually got goosebumps as I was running in 30+ degree heat.
It was great to run with other people again too; not only was I meeting someone new and finding out all about them, I was running a route that I’d probably never had known to run had I just ran by myself. Even trying to find information on the internet wouldn’t have led me to do that route. One because I don’t have a headlamp, and two, because I wouldn’t have been able to direct myself as well as run. Especially at night. And it had to be at night, because it was so hot and humid in Hong Kong. It was bad enough running then, I’m not sure I could have ran any earlier.
My last run was 7 miles in Beijing but that was about 3 weeks prior, and so I was hoping my legs would hold out. I know I’ve lost fitness, that’s for definite, so I wasn’t sure what would happen. But they did me all right. Just. One section was very steep downhill, and I could feel muscles in my legs complaining towards the end of the run; muscles that hadn’t been used in that way before because I’ve never ran downwards that steep or for that long before.
But I didn’t really notice it that much, because I had too much of a grin on my face and a mega awesome feeling in my body from the endorphins swimming around to care. I just wanted to keep on going. Forever. Or for as long as my legs would keep going. Sensibly though we stopped at 10K. A nice round 6 miles on my Runkeeper app.
And what else to do afterwards but go for some thai food and a beer, where I got to know a bit more about Nic and Rachel and all their running achievements. And, wow, what an inspirational couple. They’ve certainly inspired me to try longer distance running when I can get back into a routine, and I’ve realised that maybe, just maybe I could do it. With the right preparation and attitude, maybe I could. So, that’s one of my goals for next year. When I stay in one place for long enough!
And damn, that beer tasted good. The running high I got was the best I’ve had for a while. That smile didn’t leave my face all night.
I can’t thank Nic and Rachel enough for taking me on that run, and giving me one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time. They are truly lovely people, and a real inspiration. Who knows, maybe I’ll be running an ultra with them in Hong Kong one day. Stranger things have happened.