Hong Kong's finest adventure athletes (or sadomasochistic nutters, as they have been called) are gearing up this week for the annual Trailwalker event. This adventure race sees thousands of people attempting to run, walk or crawl the 100km Maclehose trail in Hong Kong's New Territories. The quickest will run the course in little over 14 hours while the slowest will take something like 48 hours. It is a gruelling feat of endurance over Hong Kong's hilliest passes and the combined elevation covered in climbing the hills is the same as conquering Mount Everest.
The annual event is sponsored by State Street and the official charity is Oxfam. This year a remarkable man called Chris Moon will be the official starter of the race.
Moon is an ex British army officer who, while working for a landmine clearing charity, was taken hostage by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. He managed to negotiate his own release and that of two colleagues, all three escaping near certain execution.
In 1995, Moon lost a leg and an arm while clearing landmines in Mozambique. But within a year he overcame this horrific injury to complete the London Marathon. He has since completed the 250km Great Sahara Run, widely known as the hardest footrace on the face of the planet, as well as numerous other marathons and endurance races.
As well as being the official starter of the Trailwalker event, Moon will also be taking part in it with Charles Dutton, Richard Draycott and Robert Henley, three members of Hong Kong's financial community. The team is called the Moonblazers.
Dutton is the head of research marketing at JPMorgan and is well known face around the bras of Lan Kwai Fong. Draycott is a director of financial head hunters The Whitney Group, and is the current record holder of the Wanchai Triathalon (drinking, dancing and karaoke). Henley works in hedge fund sales at UBS and although sartorially challenged is perhaps considered the brains of the team.
All three are also keen rugby players and indeed their builds are more suited to scrummaging than hiking. A sponsor, an investor at Standard Life, has already sponsored them for square inches of chafing, rather than kilometres completed, in the belief that the former will be greater than the latter.
The four-man team will be raising money for a charity called Dan's Fund for Burns, which has been set up in the memory of Dan Miller, who lost his life in the Bali Bomb attack last year. Dan was a former capital markets lawyer with Herbert Smith in Hong Kong and the fund has been established by his wife Polly to help other victims of burn injuries. Polly was a sales trader at BNP in Hong Kong, and now works for the bank in London. She also suffered 40% burns in the attacks.
The team are hosting a fund raising dinner this evening for 200 people and enquiries about attending the dinner or sponsorship of the race can be made to Richard Draycott at [email protected].