The Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge is an event I have been involved with most years since it started. It has become an iconic old school annual endurance challenge where runners try and complete all four Hong Kong long-distance trails (total 298km, 14.5k D+) within 60 hours. Most years, I have shot stills over the few days that the event is on. From medium format portraits at the start to shooting ‘live’ images though the day and night to post from the course for the large number of people who are following along on Facebook & other social media.
Discussion over dinner at the end of 2018 with Four Trails Founder, Andre Blumberg, resulted in a slight change in how I was going to cover the 2019 challenge. We are keen not to fiddle with the event’s old school DNA and try to provide live coverage through live streaming of filming participants on the course, but recognise the massive interest in this event over the three days that challengers are out there battling away. I could easily have provided live streaming as I filmed on the course. The technology is there but in this age of immediacy there is something to be said about keeping this event relatively free of the way most events are heading with coverage. We decided that a middle ground approach would be where to aim at. So, this year I am going to film the event but will release the footage at the end of each day in the form of a ‘highlight’s reel’. There are plenty of other creative ideas that I am going to be applying for this year’s event with some interviews and input from past challengers that will be part of the daily video that can be viewed on the 4 Trails platforms: Facebook, youtube, twitter, Instagram & WeChat.
I have already started filming material for this year’s edition with a session with past challengers: Jeri Chua & Abimanyu Shunmugam, who is also going to be returning for another attempt at finishing under 60 hours after missing out on that target last year.
Here is a brief teaser of the visuals from an interview I filmed with Abimanyu where he talks about what he has learned from last year and what he will do differently this year as well as boldly predicting his finish time.
I also filmed Jeri Chua, who was the first woman to complete the Four Trails and is planning to return in 2020 for another crack. Jeri has an impressive endurance CV that includes Tor Des Grants, Ultra Gobi, Ironmans that feature in a long list of ultra endurance events that she has competed in. I’ll be filming more content over the next few weeks that be included in the coverage during the event this year so stay tuned to the Four Trails social media platforms: