The very first Lost Sole event. For the 50km challenge, we had 3 people take it on, Marj Pritchard, Steve Pheby and Spiro Deligiannis.
For the 25 km challenge we had Dave Matthews, Alison Kershaw, Angie Hirst, Rob Rigby & Marie-Helene Peeters.
The 50km Lost Solers started at 8:15 from Mui Wo ferry pier by the green mailbox. The day was overcast and cool which was ideal conditions for this long event. Steve Pheby was suffering from a cracked rib he sustained from a run the week before so it was agreed on a moderate hiking pace with no running as such and to stick together as a group. They reached CP1 at the foot of the Wisdom trail in Ngong Ping by 12:15. There was a slight delay at Lantau Peak as Steve bumped into his next door neighbour at the summit. Cp1 was more a lunch point as everybody tucked into boiled eggs and jacket potatoes with salt & pepper kindly donated by Spiro. After 20 minutes it was off for the next section with some light jogging down to the Tai O road. Here the cracked rib was really showing on Steve’s face with the constant pounding on the concrete but they soon started the long climb over the back hills around Kueng Shan region.
Meanwhile the 25km participants were already on their way from Mui Wo. Over Sunset briskly and then onto Lantau peak where the weather had cleared up but the 50k’ers were too far out of sight by then, deep in the Keung Shan range. They then headed down towards Shek Pik bbq site where Venus was awaiting them with snacks and refreshments…but would they arrive there before the 50k’ers?
This time the 50k trio were pushing their way over the hills of Keung Shan and then making their descent to the dreaded Tai Long Wan catchwater. Only 5km to the next check point…well so they thought as Steve Pheby secretly told Venus to move the CP from marker 87 to the Shek Pik bbq site which added over another kilometer. Finally they did manage to hear the next check point before seeing it. Venus was shouting her words of encouragement and cheering the trio along. She had an absolute feast laid out ready with eggs, bananas and crisps. Spiro was at a loss though as some how he had used up all his salt and pepper. Most importantly they arrived before the half solers. It was a further 25 minutes before they popped out of the forest for which the legs of the 50ker’s were getting cold so they decided after pleasantries and polite jibbing, they set off for Mui Wo. The half solers also set off for Mui Wo albeit via the #1 bus service.
This next section really is a case of getting your head down and stomping out the catchwater. There was no running but Steve P put his earphones on and went into overdrive walking at a fast pace whilst Marj jogged to keep up. After a while the catchwater finally and with great fanfare, came to an end and it was back on the dirt although only for a short while till they got down into Pui O. They just had one more obstacle in their way between them and being the very first finishers of the Lost Sole, Radio Hill! This was a hard slog of a climb brutal to tired legs that already had over 40 kilometers and 2000 meters of ascent in them. But with teamwork and sticking together they finally made it back into Mui Wo under dark skies. The mailbox was a most welcome site for them along with cold beers and pizza waiting at The Kitchen.
Matt Pritchard and Venus Khongphet were the superb volunteers at the 2 designated checkpoints of Ngong Ping and Shek Pik.
Marj, Spiro and Steve finished the entire course in 11 hours 22 minutes. A plot was made afterwards to expand the event for the following year on exactly the same route but to have the 25k version go along some portion of the route to help the the longer distance participants. Lost Sole 2017 and half Sole 2017 was planned from that day.