Catch Of The Day once again sprang a joint run with Little Sai Wan upon the Northern. There was much initial confusion and misinformation in the lead-up to the run but in the event the normal joint run scenario developed: LSW setting off at 7 with us setting off 45 minutes later; them with their plastic bin liner and not enough booze; us with our esky brimful of ice and coldies; them with their athletes, us with our physical wrecks; them with their post-run showers, us with our summer-rules stinkies; them with their restaurant and song, us with our hanging out at the esky indulging in degrading behaviour and chemical-induced craic.
The hare and SP Crash Test Dummy even put on a special A to A trail for us in deference to the drivers, while LSW started near the MTR on an A to B. Trail went out along Tai Wo Hau Road and around the houses and footbridges of the bleak urban area. An aura of foreboding. Is this going to be a crappy city run? But no: on Castle Peak Road trail went up some steps. And up and up and up. Then when you thought it had finished it went up again. Whither trail? we pondered as we dragged our aching limbs ever higher. Suddenly we were on Smugglers’ Ridge with no idea why. At a check, Liberace went a long way downhill before Eunuch called on-on further up the trail, but Liberace disappeared into the blackness yelling, “I’m not going all the way back up there. F*ucking guy!”
Then we were in the tunnels of the Shing Mun Redoubt, beloved by Eunuch and be despised by Mango, who “got the willies” in there all on his own as the bats flew at him. The route was straight down the main tunnel highway ignoring the turn-offs, much to Eunuch’s disappointment. Then it was back to Smugglers’ Ridge territory and all the way down to the Kwai Hing park we started from. LSW’s Cheesy Flying Fox was first in by a country mile with Eunuch taking the Northern honours ahead of shortcutter Liberace, One Eyed Jack, Stingray, Mango, Ah Duck and latelatecomer Golden Balls, who took one look at the stairway to heaven and decided to do a “recce” instead.
We got back to find LSW had appropriated our esky and ice because their ice had melted and their beer was warm, but we didn’t care because we’d had a good run. The hashes mingled for a while, but not too long as LSW had all had showers and we stank. After they departed for the restaurant we hung out in the darkest corner of the park, chosen by COTD for its particular aroma of wee and the destitute Al Qaeda guy on the next bench , who kept eyeing us suspiciously from behind his cardboard boxes.
Golden Balls stood in for Dingaling, who was out of town, with a hastily put together trail on home soil. It was Tai Lam village, but not the usual start from the playground next to the kindergarten. This time we started across the river in a large concrete playground on the riverbank. Runners: Stingray, Gunpowder Plod, Velcro Lips, Eunuch, Mango Groove, Liberace, One Eyed Jack, Catch Of The Day, Ah Duck.
Trail led over the river bridge to Tai Lam Chung Road towards the prison camp, then immediately went right into the village and left up the hill through a wooded area of dense Nephila webs that GB and SP Golden Jelly claimed to have cleared. A check in the uplands delayed most of the pack with only Mango and Eunuch getting away, not to be seen again. Trail went through a short bamboo grove section then hit a lovely woodland trail that eventually led down to the women’s prison. A shortish catchwater section and a crossing of the reservoir dam gave the concrete-lovers a bit of a run-out before the rambo-wimp split, with Stingray, Plod and Velcro opting for the short course. When marathon runner Stingray was quizzed as to why he didn’t do the full course, he replied, “Why spoil a good trail?” He was on concrete all the way home.
The Rambo trail went on the track skirting the reservoir and then up up through shiggy to the summit of the Siu Lam hill and started descending towards the loony prison. A checkback caught everybody out as the actual trail veered off left onto the tilted granite slabs that characterise this hillside. Most of the descent was on rocky outcrop and indeed the hare had warned about it being slippery when wet. Happily the forecasted thunderstorms never struck and after a great shiggy descent trail came out in the village just a couple of minutes’ trot from the playground. Eunuch and Mango jogged in first in just under an hour, with the rest following in dribs and drabs over the next 20 minutes. Unable to short cut, One Eyed Jack was last.
GB’s daughter Ruthless turned up for the circle. It was her birthday in a few days and GB had nicked a shiny new stunt unicycle from work as a surprise present for her, which was hiddn, covered up by a tarpaulin on one of the park benches, but Mango Groove roamed apace and sure enough the cry rang out clear in the night: “There’s a unicycle here!”
Gift was swiftly given as Mango clutched his nuts, and then Ruthless and Eunuch took turns entertaining the masses on the contraption. Velcro delivered a brief circle then Golden Jelly got the chilli and rice going. Delicious!