Sail, paddle, run, repeat

Four Peaks

There are few older, or more singular, trail races in Asia than the Beneteau Four Peaks Race. Held every January, this year was the 33rd.

The event sees boats sail about the territory, despatching pairs of runners to summit four of its most iconic mountains: Lantau Peak, Mt Stenhouse, Violet Hill and Ma On Shan.

The recces beforehand are crucial: finding optimal drop-offs for the boat that don’t leave the runners with any more of a mountain to climb. They’re also a chance to practice tricky transitions between sea and land – many a night-time paddle into a rocky shore, or rendezvous with a moving yacht, has seen runners dumped into a frigid January sea.

Photos: Wan Tse

Olya Korzh, a fitness trainer and keen runner, is an enthusiastic four-time participant. She ran both Violet Hill and Ma On Shan this year, competing on Blackjack. Summitting Ma On Shan at sunrise was a highlight she says, with a “majestic view over the harbour”.

“I would love to run all the hills if any team would let me,” she says laughing.

A total of 21 boats finished across all classifications, with the fastest home on corrected time in under 20hrs and the slowest finisher crossing in close to twice that.