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Ellis Crowned Champion of the 2017-18 MSIG HK50 Series

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Action Asia

Women's race winner Nia Cooper

The MSIG Sai Kung 50, the last race of the 2017-2018 MSIG HK50 Series, witnessed over 1,000 local and international trail runners setting off from Pak Tam Chung Picnic Garden, Sai Kung at 6.30 am this morning. In a fiercely contested and exciting race, Hong Kong-based Australian John Ellis was first across the line in a blistering time of 6 hours 2 minutes and 8 seconds, more than 14 minutes clear of his nearest rival. The win, along with his outstanding performances in the previous legs of the series on Lantau Island and Hong Kong Island, helped him seal the 2017-2018 MSIG HK50 Series champion title in stunning fashion.

Nia Cooper from Britain fought hard and won the women’s title in 7:29:46, closely followed by Hong Kong  runner Yin-Hung Tsang (7:35:12). Angelika Hahn from Germany was third (7:43:22). It was an impressive showing from Cooper, a teacher in Hong Kong who became a first-time mother only a few months ago.

Ellis, an investment manager by profession, said he really enjoyed the whole race. “I really loved that we started in the dark, so that when we got up the hills, we saw the sun coming out and over the ocean. The view was wonderful, and I still remember that stunning moment,” said Ellis.

Irish runner Brain Mcflynn (6:16:18), of the Gone Running/Joint Dynamics team, came overall second in the MSIG Sai Kung 50 race. He said he enjoyed the course: “I’m extremely exhausted, but I loved the race! It’s such a novelty to run across the beaches as it is very rare in the whole world that you can run on a beach in a trail running race. It was however also very challenging as the sand was very soft today. It was nice to see the impressive scenery in Sai Kung again.”

A further six minutes later, French runner Baptiste Puyou crossed the finish line. Puyou, who started trail running four years ago, was also third at the 2016 MSIG Sai Kung 50. He said: “I was not expecting a very good performance today and I’m very satisfied with my result. The weather was also very suitable for trail running. I enjoyed it very much, especially the beach section.”

Cooper, the MSIG Sai Kung 50 women's champion, said: “I’m a teacher, so the race today was a chance for me to release my stresses from everyday life and it was so much fun! It is my first time joining the MSIG Sai Kung 50 and it was such a good day out. The course and the views were fantastic. I feel much better this year and also, I have a good coach so I have a good training routine. I would love to come back next year.”

Second-placed Tsang offered kudos to Action Asia Events for the course design. She said: “I joined an ultratrail not long ago, so my body is not the best today. I really appreciate Action Asia Events for designing the challenging course and the marking of the course was extremely clear for all runners."

Hahn, the third woman, said it was the longest distance and the most beautiful course she has ever done. “The scenery of Sai Kung was awesome and fresh to me. When I ran across the beach I even wanted to jump into the sea as it was so beautiful. Apart from that, I have to say that Action Asia Events is a great race organiser and they had everything well prepared. For instance the arrangement of the shuttle buses, food, checkpoints and the race pack. I really like to run with Action Asia Events and sincerely recommend it to all trail runners.”

The MSIG Sai Kung 50 also included 22km and 12km races. Vlad Ixel grabbed the 22km overall champion title in 1:58:29. He said: “The shorter races are quicker and more fun, and I had a lead, so I could be relaxed in the later part of the race. I think the weather this year is perfect, so I could enjoy the scenery a lot. Plus, this is my favourite course, so I’ve been coming back every year.”

Hiu-Tung Mak won the 22km women’s title in 2:38:20. She said: “I started trail running around six years ago and this is my first Action Asia Events race. I was surprised that the course included two beaches. I felt really relaxed and got mentally recovered on the two beaches, and I enjoyed the view near High Island Reservoir too.”

Seventeen-year-old Canadian Charlie Stewart was the overall champion in the 12km race in a blistering 00:59:58. He said: “It’s my third time joining a trail running race and I am very satisfied with my result. It’s very cool and enjoyable to run downhills and climb the uphills in the race.”

Another Canadian, Mia Bennet, won the women's 12km race in 1:13:25. She said she was surprised by her result, adding: “I used to do road running in the U.S. and I started to try trail running in HK since January.  The scenery was so beautiful today and I really enjoyed the race.”

The event was possible due to the generous support of presenting sponsor MSIG Insurance (Hong Kong) Limited and supporting partners: Action X Store, Skyrunner National Series, Hoka One One, C3fit, Bonaqua, Coca Cola, Camelbak, Budweiser Budvar, Royale International, Plantronics, UTMB Qualifier, International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and Action Asia Foundation.

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