The Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (HK4TUC) is a run like no other. Taking place over Chinese New Year and spanning all four of Hong Kong’s long-distance trails (Maclehose Trail, Wilson Trail, Hong Kong Trail, and Lantau Trail), participants must complete an unforgiving 298km with minimal support.
Awaiting runners at the end of their journey is the famous green post box, a symbol of their achievement. Arriving at the post box in under 60 hours crowns you a ‘Finisher’, while those who finish in under 72 hours are ‘Survivors’. Andre Blumberg, the Challenge’s founder, says of the race:
“What I noticed was that a lot of people in HK actually travel all over the world to do multiday races, but interestingly, there wasn’t any multiday challenge in HK. I noticed that we hav 4 ultra distance trails in Hong Kong; the maclehose (100k), the willson (78k), the Hong Kong (50k) and the Lantau (70k) – so I thought, why not try to combine these and these in 4 consecutive days?
Everybody said, ‘you must be completely mad, it can’t be done, it’s impossible, it’s too difficult’. I was actually a bit disappointed because I had succeeded in achieving it! So the next year in 2013, we made it 4 in 3. And the following year we made it into its current format of running them consecutively. It’s been amazing to watch how over the years the event has grown and how athletes challenge themselves, sometimes over multiple consecutive years, to complete the distance. It shows the strength of the human mind and how people can overcome great challenges.“
Traversing steep mountains and vast distances, the run is deemed one of the toughest ultramarathons on the planet. Who, you may wonder, would dare take up such a challenge?