Tackling Moontrekker? Top trail runner Scott Jurek shares his secrets.
Scott Jurek, one of the world’s greatest runners, has just landed in Hong Kong. He’s here to take part in this coming weekend’s Moontrekker event, a 43km overnight trail run from Mui Wo to Pui O beach. The aim of the game is to beat the sun.
A running dynamo, Jurek’s credits include the 153-mile Spartathlon, the Hardrock 100, the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon and – his signature race – the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run. He also recently completed the Appalachian Trail, running around 50 miles a day over 46 days – “I did have a bit of a rest after that,” he admits. Basically, he’s a running phenomenon.
First up, he loves Lantau. “I first came to Hong Kong fifteen years ago (to take part in Oxfam Trailwalker) and was amazed by the mountains here. It’s quite special.”
He claims he will be running Moontrekker “for fun”, not for speed. But somehow we feel he won’t have any problems beating that sun. Here are his top Moontrekker tips:
- Light your way
“You’ve still got time to sort your lighting out,” he advises. “I’m a big fan of getting the brightest headlamp possible. And I always use lithium batteries as they’re light – don’t forget to make sure you have brand new ones. I’ve been there with the fading beam, convinced that the batteries would be good for another hour or so.”
- Energy boost
In terms of energy, he reckons you don’t need to break out the caffeine until three or four hours into the race. “I know it will be dark, but the start is still within a time when most people would normally be awake. Save the caffeine gels for a few hours in. During the run, you need calories, so make sure you’re eating something – gels, energy drinks or whatever – every thirty minutes or so right through to the end.
- Rise to the challenge
“I try and set goals along the way, other than just completing the course. This keeps me motivated. There will be challenges – bad weather, injury, whatever – but I always think it’s at these points we grow the most. Embrace those tough times – and believe me, I’ve had a few. Trail running is all about being adaptable.”
Post-race, Jurek admits to enjoying a bit of “comfort” food. “I kind of feel I deserve it. A beer can be good, although maybe not at dawn. I do hear a breakfast will be laid on, though?” At the end of the day, he says, enjoy it. “To be out on the trails, enjoying the environment, with a bunch of like-minded people, that’s what I love about this sport.”
Moontrekker takes place on the evening of 14 October, barclaysmoontrekker.com.