Dram was the hare for this Saturday afternoon excursion at one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful trail running locations, but the run was almost killed off before it started when the police blockaded the road up to the country park and wouldn’t let any vehicles through. Happily the first hashers on the scene – the hare and Stingray – managed to blag their way past by claiming to be the advanced guard of an “athletics club” who were having an “event” in the country park. This seemed to satisfy them, but what they made of Dram asleep among the eskies when they patrolled past after the start is anybody’s guess. “Do you do much running?” one of them hazarded, suspiciously eyeing the crates of Tsingtao, Carlsberg, Skol and Kingway strewn around the pagoda.
Big Moany, Yummy Mummy, Oranguwank and Lyman were other early birds, soon joined by Golden Jelly, Nick, Sticky Apid Bottom Exudate, One Eyed Jack and Golden Balls. Stunt Double, Velcro Lips and Gaele Says No duly arrived and then, just before the off was declared, a half-inebriated trio of Moonie, Tintin and Salesman, who’d commendably prised themselves out of a lunchtime session in favour of the bracing mountain air. Liberace and Penile Dementia were to be the latecomers.
“Don’t expect anything special, it’s a boring, predictable trail,” gloomed the Scotch hare, and we were off – through the park, out along the trail behind the toilets and down the unused road towards the new Trailwalker finish. Check, and down the steps to the track for a kilometre, then to the rambo-wimp split. Rambos went up the steps to the mysterious undriveable road loop, along the road then up the track to the ridge leading to the Tai Lam Tunnel car park, but taking the opposite direction towards the reservoir. A beautiful bit of ridge running was followed by a descent down badlands (the same route set by GB in December) and thus to the track we’d started on. Out to the road and up to Tai Tong with a final little hill trail loop back to Tai Tong Road and the finish. Wimps meanwhile went straight on from the split and the two trails joined where the rambos came down from the badlands.
Or at least we thought it did. GB was the first wimp to the split and checked up the hill to the right, whereupon finding nothing he just continued, eventually hitting markings where the trail came up to the final hill trail loop. Moonie and Tintin did the same, then Big Moany and Velcro Lips, leaving just Golden Jelly and Yummy Mummy to tackle the “real” wimp trail. Meanwhile Oranguwank and Lyman, a visitor from Guangzhou, trotted home first on the long course in just under an hour with Gaele Says No in tow a couple of minutes behind. ‘Twas a fine trail in marvellous weather.
As the business started we had observers – yes, five of the coppers who had allowed the “athletics club” through came to witness the bizarre, arcane proceedings, ritual humiliations and grog-swilling antics. They watched curiously as the drivers poured thimbleful after thimbleful of piss down their throats, departing only when the circle broke up and the cars drove away, one of them muttering darkly into a walk talky. We feared the worst, expecting to be pulled over at the roadblock down the hill. But Asia’s Finest deemed us no threat to society and cheerily waved us on, one even asking for the website address. A vote of thanks to the police. Without them the place would have been overrun and we’d never have been able to park!