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Trailwalker record tumbled

Police Tactical Unit Headquarters officers came home a gusty fifth in the gruelling Trailwalker endurance run on November 10, smashing the old civil service record in just their first outing. Zulu One team leader Acting Chief Inspector Andy Naylor reports

It was unseasonably hot, tough and we were not properly prepared. But Zulu One managed to finish the 100-kilometre Trailwalker in 15.30 hours, just outside our target time, but among the top placings filled by the 'Super' teams.

After crossing the line we were told it was a new civil service record for the event, beating the old time of 15.52 set in 1998 by, I believe, several Fire Services officers.

The day was quite hot, a lot warmer than people anticipated, in the upper-20's and it had a real zapping effect on our energy. Our team was not as prepared as we wanted to be, some lacking sleep due to work commitments. However, we were upbeat and entered knowing it was our first year. We looked at it as a learning experience to allow us a serious crack at the race in 2001.

This year for the first time they had a category called Super Trailwalker made up of teams who had finished previous races in less than 18 hours. First-timers, we obviously were not in this category, however, we were still fifth overall and blew away several of these so-called 'Super' teams, so I think we did very well.

The winners were, once again, the mighty Cosmo Boys who came home in 14 hours - a very professional outfit who have won several times now. Our aim was 15 hours and we came in just 30 minutes behind our target and second place getters the Henderson Rangers who are Singaporean commandos, and the Jardine Securicor Gurkha Services who came in third - all 'Super' teams.

We entered the men's open competition, and were also included in the civil service category as one of the Force's official teams. Running alongside me were PTU HQ Acting Sergeants Lee Chap-ping, Cheung Cheuk-wah and Yeung Chi-fai, and the support team we had also did a fantastic, dedicated job, training with us since April. I'm not much of a congee fan, but their 'jook' and the mashed potato with gravy that we had at each checkpoint really proved a winning formula.

We started at 10 am Friday and finished in the wee hours of Saturday morning. In the last section we had a fine, light drizzle that really helped to cool things down a bit. Each of the 10 sections is so different, the scenery, trail surface and other conditions, you tend to focus on each individual segment once you get into endurance mode, concentrating on making the next checkpoint.

For me, the biggest psychological boost came at the halfway mark as it was all downhill from there with a flat final section.

We finally crossed the line in 15.30 hours and the awesome news was announced in Cantonese that we had set a new civil service record. Now, on to next year's Trailwalker!

-The superfit Zulu One boys also made up the core of the team that took out the annual Matilda Hospital sedan chair race on The Peak, last month. It marked the seventh year running that Force officers won the charity event.

Andy Naylor and the boys high above Sai Kung Country Park (Pic: HK-iMail)

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