也許是上一年的比賽過於激烈，該年的比賽對於KK而言，就相對上顯得稍為平淡，但 Cosmoboys 最終亦以14小時的成績成為全場總冠軍，「毅行三連冠」的壯舉就此畫上完滿的句號。
撰文: Paul Chong
#ChapterSeven: Being the champion three years running in Trailwalker
1998, 1999 and 2000 are ordinary numbers to us because they do not come with any meaning. However, these three years are extraordinary in KK’s running life. In these three years, his team – Cosmoboys broke the record made by the foreigners who always got the champion in Trailwalker. Cosmoboys was the first Chinese team winning the first place and brought glory to the local runners. What was more, Cosmoboys made a spectacular record “Being the champion three years running” which was a milestone in the history of Trailwalker.
During the chat with KK, there was no mysterious episode or story happened in those three years. What you could hear most was their regular trainings from day to night. When comparing to other trail running training, Cosmoboys may have more perseverance and they aimed to reach their target with all their focus.
In 1998, KK evaluated the past experience and they planned to change the training strategy in order to better the record. Their training focused on the technique of uphill and downhill running. The new strategy was to break their own record but it turned out to a surprising reward.
In the race, KK and his team kept running and reached Checkpoint 5. They were told by the event staff that they were the first team getting to the checkpoint. KK doubted about it at first as he thought there were other teams ahead and the staff made a mistake. KK’s team did not have spare energy to think about it as they were all exhausted. So, they took a rest and left. Although there were people telling them that they were taking the lead, KK kept the pacing till the finish line with an unwavering faith.
Their plan was to break last year’s record, yet KK and his team made an unexpected improvement which was far better than they could imagine. In that year, their record was 15 hours 25 minutes and they got the first place.
Until 1999, according to KK, the race was so competitive that he could still remember it. Many runners joint the event because of KK’s performance and wanted to challenge him.
At the beginning of the race, there were already some stronger teams taking the lead and so KK’s team kept tagging along with them. From Shui Long Wo to Ma On Shan, they were running neck and neck. When they were on the route of Tsz Wan Shan, KK’s team could finally surpassed some of the teams but it did not mean that they could slacken a bit.
When they reached Needle Hill, Grassy Hill and Tai Mo Shan, a few teams surpassed them suddenly. At night, when they were at Tai Mo Shan, KK’s team had to dash and switch on their headlights at the same time. They could see the light from other teams chasing after them. In this tense situation, KK’s team gritted their teeth and ran faster to keep a distance from the team behind them. As far as they saw the finish line, they finally slowed down a little bit and the team behind them followed them to cross the finish line. KK’s team was only 12 minutes faster than the team behind them. Cosmoboys again broke the record of Oxfam Trailwalker and finished in 13 hours 54 minutes. They got the champion again and proved it to the runners around the world.
In 2000 Trailwalker, the race was less competitive than last year. Cosmoboys became a reference for other teams but not a competitor. According to KK, other teams did not run fast to race against Cosmoboys, but they managed to follow Cosmoboys closely from the starting point to East Dam in order to save energy for the last few stages.
Perhaps, the race in last year was very tense so 2000’s one was not very special. Cosmoboys finished in 14 hours and got the champion. This was a perfect ending for the story “Being the champion three years running”.
For KK, what touched him most in those three years were not the training or the races, it was the leaving of his teammates after every race. He had to look for new teammates for the next race, evaluate the ability of new teammates, set goal, help with the training and build team spirit. At the same time, KK had to focus on the training and walk one step ahead of his teammates. Since 2000, KK decided to establish a trailrunning team “Cosmoboys” and gather people who have got the same interest to start a new journey.