What a great night it was, but I am a little glad it is over now. It was a little tiring and exhausting, and while I know that it was even tougher for all the great hikers doing the 26km Moonlight and 40km Sunrise race, standing all night and pouring drinks, handing out bananas, answering questions for toilets, directions, next stops and sorting out taxis for racers that were exciting early did wear me out!
The Moontrekker races started at 9pm and 11.20pm from the football field in Mui Wo. Each race saw 600 contestants make their way around Lantau, up the peak and down to the beach. We watched the start of the second race, loaded all the supplies, tables, chairs and lights into a van and drove to checkpoint 3, where we sat up our refreshment bar next to the catering boys and the first aid tent. We opened around 11.45pm and the first few hikers had already passed the spot by then, just grabbing a water bottle from our two team members that had started to set up the checkpoint earlier.
Between 1am and 4am it was really hectic, with the bulk of hikers arriving between 2.30-3.30am after climbing 16km for the Moonlight and 30km for the Sunrise challenge. So the majority must have taken around 5 hours for the longer course and 3-3.5 hours for the shorter course. But that’s nothing compared to the fastest racers!
The 40km course record was set by Jeremy Ritcey, he did it in 4 hours and 4 minutess! He was followed by Clement Dumont in 4 hours and 14 minutes and then came darren Benson. The first women across the line was Claire Price.
We kept the check point open until 6am, but by 4am we had run out of all the supplies except water and nuts. The hot pumpkin soup was long gone, so where the bananas, as well as the tuna, ham and vegetable sandwiches. The hungry crowd of 1,200 hikers had aten its way through our resources. Even all soft drinks were gone by then. Lesson for next time, get even more or hold some back for the last hikers, as I felt really sorry for them. Some had hiked 5 hours for 16km and there was only water and nuts left to refresh them. There were a few that gave up at that point, but some brave ones made their way for the final 10km.
We packed up and by 6am we walked the final 2km to the finishing line. By this time the sun was already coming out and you could see it was going to be another nice, sunny day. What a great night for all the hikers, it was dry, not too cold and with a little breeze, just enough to keep them going. Plus they were rewarded with a lovely view from the Lantau Peak, and once they made their way to Palm Beach at the bottom, there was a BBQ, drum players and really a fun atmosphere. Monica and I quickly checked out the celebrations at the finishing line, but then we were too tired to stay and just headed back on the bus to Tung Chung. By 8am, I was in bed, catching up on well needed sleep!