Saturday, September 20, 2008


I did it !!! I won ! today eventually it was my day !!

was race #2 of the AVOHK 5k series. Weather was brutal: 32C/65%rh (makes 39C/102F heat index). I felt pretty sluggish before the race, not really in good feeling (I guess it was related to the strange starting time of 4PM).
The course is equally awful: a first Km flat, than a steep 900m hill that usually forces many to walk it, a small up/down loop at the top and return, with the downhill that shatters your legs before the last flat stretch.
Unfortunately the winner of the fist race, Stefano P., was absent due to a small injury, so I was the pre-race favorite, but today also my training partner E. joined the race and he can beat me.

I am a very poor downhill runner, so I placed all my hopes in charging fast from the start and opening enough gap on the top of the hill to take it easy downhill and have some reserve for the final km.
Well, i make it short saying that it all went to plan, I arrived to the botton of the hill with E. on tow and charged the hill hard, very hard.
It hurt a lot... it was brutally endless and steep and I could barely breath. I never turned my head until the top and just charged, charged, charged.
At the top I was almost dead, but I opened a real huge gap (I turned my head then). So it take the dowhill comfortably (slow) and it hurt anyway. The breath was not in sync with the legs, so I was really in pain.
After this torture, I eventually reached the flat; I thought for a moment that I was hurting so badly that is someone would have caught me, I would not able to react. So I pushed again but mainly in damage control... turning my head time to time to see if someone was getting close.

well, it was really a relief and a joy to see the finish arch and I was closing for the first time this year as a winner !!
Glad to see that, as expected, E. placed 2nd and he told me later that on the hill I did not even try to follow me because I was going up like a madman (actually, it was so steep that I was barely jogging...). I should have taken it easier and have more fuel for the second half of the race..
I am very happy, It is really a good morale booster.

Weather was so brutal that several runner felt sick after the race, I was really concerned for the 4th placed A.H., who collapsed after the finish and had to be taken to hospital
picture from SCMP newspaper about the poor runner.


Mike said...

Victories can certainly be few and far between, so enjoy it!! Congratulations on the win, and I'm glad that wasn't you in the photo.

The race started at 4pm? Sheesh.

Thomas said...

Congratulations on the first win of many!

by7 said...

guys ... thank you, very kind of you.

since I do not race too often, just take part in "major" races and I am aware of my 2nd tier level in the local standing... I guess that will be on the very few victories of my running career.

These series of 5k races are the one and only disputed on Saturday, because the working week in HK is 5.5 working days until Saturday noon. So the 4PM start time fits with this local working need.
Said that, I checked the records of previous editions and in the previous years it was more common to hold these races in October and November, when the temperature is more reasonable

by the way, Thomas, your HM was excellent. Sub 3 is there to grap

Mark said...

Congrats and way to stick it out in that awful sounding weather!

Andrew said...


Gianluca Rigon said...

Congratulations from Italy !
You are a champion my friend....
Congratulations for your blog and for your tips also.
Ciao !