Eight Brave Women - Part 1

By Veronika Vadovicova


'The first edition of the Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (HK4TUC) dates back all the way to 2012. Whilst the event has grown significantly in terms of global following, it still maintains the same spirit. HK4TUC is a low-key, personal challenge in which participants must run or hike all four Hong Kong long distance trails non-stop, on their own and self-supported. HK4TUC is not a race, there is no course marking and no aid stations. No entry fees. No prizes. The total distance is 298km and approximately 14,500 metres of positive elevation gain. The sequence is Maclehose trail (100km), Wilson trail (78km), Hong Kong trail (50km) and Lantau trail (70km). Participants cover the trails in reverse direction, from trail end to trail head. The event starts in Tuen Muen and finishes at the green postbox at the Mui Wo ferry terminal on Lantau island.

Participants can have crew support between each of the four trails but not whilst they are on the trails. Here no pacers or outside companions of any kind are permitted. Participants can take rest breaks at their own discretion during the challenge, but the clock does not pause, and the total time also includes the transition time required between the trails. The use of trekking poles and music or sound playing devices is not permitted. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory and performance enhancing drugs are banned. Anyone who complies with all HK4TUC rules and completes the full distance in under 60 hours is deemed a Finisher. Those who complete in under 72 hours are deemed a Survivor. 2022 marked the 11th edition of HK4TUC. Over the years an increasing number of female athletes participated in the event and this year half of the field were women.'

(Andre Blumberg - HK4TUC Founder & Organizer)



Kimmy Leung - 180k

Photo by Vincent Chan of Compose The Story


What made you want to take part in this challenge?

Actually this was my 2nd attempt for HK4TUC (my 1st attempt was in 2019, of which I could not make the 18-hour cutoff for Maclehose Trail). I joined again this year because I thought that I was prepared for challenging myself again. The longest distance I ran was 100 miles and I would like to experience how the body would feel for 300km.


What was the most important focus of your training?

I focused on enduring training. I did Raleigh Wilson Trail virtual run in October, a solo unsupported Oxfam Trailwalker run in November and 2 attempts for HK100 flex in January. I also did few runs longer than 50km. Meanwhile, I did some tempo and interval runs in weekdays.


Who was your support and why did you choose them?

Suan Chan was my support crew. She is experienced and professional in supporting trail races. Thanks to her help I had very smooth transfer from Mac end to Wilson head.


What was your best moment during HK4TUC?

My best moments were receiving encouragements everywhere from other trail runners and hikers on trails. Even when the weather was cold, they went up to the trail just to show their support to us. Also, there were many photographers along the trails. I was very touched by such support of the event and I felt very honored to be one of the participants.


Any special tips you would give to future participants?

Train well before the day, and just enjoy the 3 days. Don't push too hard for Maclehose trail, then it will be easier during the 2nd day.


Would you do it again?

Yes as I would like to complete it and kiss the postbox in Mui Wo.


Do you have a message for other Asia Trail Girls?

Be brave to step out of your comfort zone. If you think you can, just do it. If you never try you will never know.



Samantha Chan - 165k

Photo by Yung TSz Chun


What made you want to take part in this challenge?

I always wanted to take part in the challenge, but was scared of it as I know it is a difficult one. I was not thinking about joining HK4TUC this year until Andre messaged me 7 weeks before the event. I started considering it. When I was pretty confident that my knee problem will very likely be fixed by HK4TUC, then I decided to join the challenge, it was 4 weeks before the day when I decided to go ahead.


What was the most important focus of your training?

Ever since I decided to join the challenge, the focus was going to do a lot of recce, as I know nothing about Wilson, Hong Kong and Lantau Trail, it is even worse to do them reverse. So I tried my best to recce as much as I could.


Who was your support and why did you choose them?

My friend Angela and my coach/partner Erwan were planned to be my supporters. They are the most reliable people that I know. I can't trust anyone else more than them. I asked my boss Andy and my friend Daniel to be the drivers. It was on a very short notice and during Chinese New Year, but they all said yes to me without any hesitation. I was so touched by their support!


What was your best moment during HK4TUC?

Most of my time in the first trail was good. It went so smooth and easy. I was happy there.


Any special tips you would give to future participants?

Prepare earlier, don't make the decision so late especially if you are a first time challenger.


Any important lessons you learned?

Since the challenge is during Chinese New Year, beware when you buy food from restaurants - they can sell food which is not fresh. Better to prepare all the food by yourself to avoid unnecessary issues in such a difficult challenge


Would you do it again?

Maybe :D


Do you have a message for other Asia Trail Girls?

Start preparing now if you plan to join the 2023 edition of HK4TUC.



Angie Cheng - 298k HK4TUC Survivor

Photo by William Leung of photosbyme.hk


What made you want to take part in this challenge?

I have been wanting to take part in this event for a few years. I love taking challenges and this is for sure a big challenge for me and most people. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event and I wanted the HK4TUC to be one of my memories. Also, it is a treasure that I still can run freely. No one can guarantee what will happen in the future Maybe one day the green postbox will not be there anymore.


What was the most important focus of your training?

I think I made a very smart decision to get a coach who tailor-made a training program for me as I had no idea how I should prepare for such a long run. The key is consistency. My training program was short in terms of mileage when comparing to other participants. However, my coach adjusted the program based on my own physical condition. That would keep me free from injuries and over training. Throughout the training, I spent a lot of time on threshold running and this made me feel like I can run forever.


Who was your support and why did you choose them?

My husband and my best friend were my support team. They are the ones who know me well and understand what I need during the run. They are also experienced in ultra- distance running. They know how I may feel during the event and what to prepare for each transition. Also, I would like to say big thank you to other experienced runners and coaches who shared their advices and concerns with me.


What was your best moment during HK4TUC?

When I returned to the green postbox, I sat on the floor, looked around and I felt so blessed to have so many friends waiting me for in Mui Wo for hours on that freezing night. They didn't know when I would arrive and they would have to wait for hours again to catch the ferry back home.


Any special tips you would give to future participants?

I got a very good tip from a previous participant - apply baby powder on your feet in between the trails. I got no blister on my feet throughout the journey! Moreover, dress appropriately and get prepared to keep yourself warm during the race. You never know when you need to take a power nap along the trail in such cold weather.


Any important lessons you learned?

Discipline. Never forfeit the training plan with excuse. Prepare enough food variety along the trail. Sometimes your tastes change throughout the run or you may even completely lose your appetite.


What did you feel when you kissed the green postbox? I thought I would be super excited but turned out I was very calm. My legs were in pain for the last 10hours and finally the suffering was over! I could not feel any excitement, just pain. Nevertheless, it was a good memory after all.


Would you do it again?

Before I returned to the green postbox, I told Andre many times that I would not do it again and I did not understand why people would do it again and again. Now I understand.


Do you have a message for other Asia Trail Girls?

Dream big and act when you can.



Jcy Ho - 200k

Photo by Lucien Chan


What made you want to take part in this challenge?

When Andre invited me back on March, 21. I said “yes” almost immediately! (With my Coach Andy approval) I know I will have a year to prepare, and with covid, I won’t be flying anywhere! This really got me motivated to get out and lose some covid fat!


What was the most important focus of your training?

Eat well and sleep well! Get your body right before you do anything crazy! So you will and can recover much faster! Train what’s necessary, believe in your coach. A woman needs much more to recover, don’t ruin your body. Especially those who still want kids at a later stage!


Who was your support and why did you choose them?

The two men I love in the world! My dad (driver) and my boyfriend (support). It’s important to have someone you want to meet and you know they care about you!

My dad went out several times with his car to ensure he knew the route well. On the actual day, he brought so much stuff even hot water so I could shower after each trail! I could not have asked for more!

Having my boyfriend be my support meant I could show him exactly what he need to do during transition. ANYTIME I want, the final week, literally every day! Poor him!


What was your best moment during HK4TUC?

To put things into perspective. I was on the trail for almost 54 hours for only 200km. Wong Ho Chung finished 298km in 46:55 when I was still on Wilson!


I never imagined I will be able to survive ITB pain for more than 44 hours! Started having an ITB issue only 10 hours in! It took me over 25:30 to complete the full Wilson! I was in so much pain. Every step was a killer for me, trying to entertain myself (no music) and separate my body and the pain with nature didn’t look at the watch nor how long I took until I reach TaiKoo! I just didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to rush myself, I just wanted to focus my “one step at a time”!


It was the best and the worst moment because my ITB pain came too early into the event. The best because I was able to overcome all the negative thoughts and only focus on the positive and how to make things better from then on!


I cried so much when I saw the message from my dad after the event. He said he finally see the reason why I love this sport, seeing me in so much pain, he was heartbroken but when he waved and sent me off onto HK trail, he was so proud! I am 42 and yes, I am still over the moon the fact my dad is so proud of me!


Any special tips you would give to future participants?

Be mentally prepared, everyone is different when it comes to training! You need to know what you are missing and what you need for this event! Everyone will want to give you their advice, choose wisely!


Again, don’t be over trained! Look after yourself, listen to your body! VERY important sign, if the period is late, go and check your doctor! It’s not normal even if you are an ultra runner!


Any important lessons you learned?

Had hypnotherapy a month before the event. Solved my downhill fear! On the day, I went a little crazy, I guess I felt I was finally not that scared anymore! That’s probably the reason I had my ITB pain so early on! My body is not yet built for faster downhill! You need to build more strength before start changing the way you run or don’t change at all on the day. The choice is yours!


Would you do it again?

Absolutely flipping YES! Now I have more experience, can't wait to do it all over again!


Do you have a message for other Asia Trail Girls?

If you have the below criteria then you should talk to Andre, he would love to hear from you:

  • Crave for long long long very distance

  • Love being alone in the trail (dark and ghostly)

  • You can entertain yourself for a very very long time (no music is allowed)

  • Love to handle lots of pain

  • Know the routes inside out (willing to recce every section as part of your training)