The Hong Kong 100 Ultra-Trail race on January 19 was a unique chance for Scouts to do voluntary work – not to mention fending off monkeys and trying and stay up all night.
A total of 41 Scouts and leaders worked round the clock to serve food and drinks to 1,300 runners. 150th Scouts, the majority from SIS, were in charge of Checkpoint 8 near Shing Mun Dam, 86 kilometers into this gruelling race.
Chinese runners dominated the event. The winner was Shen Jiasheng from Yunnan, who completed the race in a record 10:22:02. Lu Yangchun was the fastest woman runner, finishing eighth in a record-breaking 11:43:22.
The young Scouts, age 11-14, had to put teams on “monkey patrols” during daylight hours to try and prevent raids. They banged sticks on empty water bottles, but despite their best efforts, monkeys managed to run away with biscuits, oranges and bananas.
Charles-Gautier Joly (Y9) and his Unicorns patrol of seven Scouts, were the main organisers of this camp, working hard to draw a roster covering multiple tasks over a 24-hour period.
It was a great opportunity for youths to see world-class athletes in action. And as the night went on, they tried to cheer up exhausted runners, kept them warm with two campfires, and directed sick or injured runners to the St John Ambulance first aid tent.
The ultra endurance race draws elite runners from around the world. The 103 km race starts at Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung, and finishes on Tai Mo Shan. It involves a cumulative elevation gain of over 5300 meters – that’s like climbing more than half-way up Everest – and the cut-off time is 30 hours.
Scouts from the English-speaking Silver Jubilee District were in charge of six out of 10 checkpoints. 29th Discovery Bay were at Checkpoint 4 in Yung Shue O, 192nd Beacon Hill at CP5 in Kei Ling Ha, 36th St John’s at CP6 in Gilwell, 28th West Island at CP7 on Beacon Hill, 150th Scouts at CP 8 in Shing Mun, 1694th Renaissance on Lead Mine Pass.
Hong Kong is home to a very active scouting movement. The English-speaking Silver Jubilee District (SJD) welcomes over 500 boys of girls. They include Year 2-3 (Grasshoppers), Year 4-6 (Cubs), Year 7-10 (Scouts, age 11-15) and Ventures (from age 15-21).
Scout Leader, 150th Hong Kong Group
Click on the images below to enlarge and view.
Photo credit: Corinne Vigniel