My husband Clement and I have been organising the TransLantau trail run for the past four years. This year, we expect close to 2,000 athletes (30% from overseas) to compete in the event, March 11 to 13.
Participants choose between three distances: 100, 50 and 25 kilometres. With 90% of the course on trails and covering two country parks, runners get to push their limits as they feast their eyes on Lantau’s undulating hills and breath-taking coastline.
All in all, the TransLantau takes almost a year to organise. Firstly we look to the government for support. Six different permits are required from different departments according to location, for instance, beach and catch water, as well as villages and private land.
After dealing with the red tape, we consider sponsorship, all of which is local. In exchange for prizes, we have to guarantee exposure for our sponsors’ brands among the trail running community. With sponsorship in place, proceeds can go to charity.
Athletes’ safety is of course paramount, and not only are first-aid posts positioned throughout the course but we have to ensure that evacuation is possible in case of an emergency. The safety and medical aspect alone takes months of preparation.
Runners are required to be semi self-sufficient, but we still need to purchase a myriad of essential items. These include everything from course markers and drop-bag tents to race bibs. Additionally, of course, we have to purchase all the food, water (over 6,000 litres) and electrolytes distributed at the refreshment posts and checkpoints.
Mandatory equipment for runners needs to be specified (everything from water and survival blankets to whistles and mobile phones), as do numerous race-day rules. For instance, runners must stay on the way-marked paths, even to sleep, and there are penalties for littering. Add to this all the ‘little’ details that athletes need to be informed about, like start times, where to shower and in the case of overseas runners, where to stay.
By the time race day dawns, we have established a partnership with a minimum of 200 volunteers, who assist runners during the event itself. An event like this couldn’t happen without them. We can never thank them enough as their support and effort is priceless.
For more information on the TransLantau, visit www.translantau.com.
Image: Michael Ma