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Liu Fo-lok climbs some steps during the Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge. Liu won the 2024 race in a time of 52 hours, two minutes and 24 seconds. Photo:

Hong Kong Four Trails: Liu Fo-lok sets fourth fastest time in race history, hails ‘amazing experience I’ll never forget’

  • Liu reaches postbox in Mui Wo in 52 hours, two minutes and 24 seconds, nearly four hours ahead of nearest rival
  • Eric Leung was second in 56:01:20, with Japan’s Tetsuya Fukui third in 58:15:25

Hong Kong’s Liu Fo-lok won the brutal Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (HK4TUC) on his first attempt on Monday, with a time of 52 hours two minutes and 24 seconds.

The 35-year-old posted the fourth fastest time in event history, and finished almost four hours ahead of his nearest rival.

This year’s race, which covered the 298km of the city’s four main trails, the MacLehose, Wilson, Hong Kong Island and Lantau routes, started at 9.44am on Saturday, with Liu touching the green postbox in Mui Wo, which signifies the end of the challenge, at 1.46pm on Monday.

Eric Leung Wai-yip was the second finisher, coming in with a time of 56:01:20. Japan’s Tetsuya Fukui was third in 58:15:25.

“I feel so honoured and blessed for having the opportunity to join HK4TUC this year. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget,” Liu said. “Even though the process was so tough, I still feel happy for having joined and finished it.”

Liu Fo-lok kisses the green post box in Mui Wo, marking the end of his ordeal. Photo:
Liu, who quit his job as a chef and started breeding and selling bearded dragons to fund the race and have the time to train, said he had targeted a sub-50 hour finish.

“Of course, my body is complaining a lot, especially my right thigh, which started suffering from muscle strain at the first half of Wilson Trail, which was the start of my darkest moment,” Liu said.

“My right thigh hurts at every single step, I started to realise I might fail to finish the Wilson Trail by my target time. I had to keep adjusting my plan and my mindset so I could move on.”

Liu said that the injury to his right leg was the main reason for him not finishing as quickly as he would have liked.

Nineteen runners started the event on Saturday, six of whom were Hongkongers and two were from mainland China. The remaining runners hailed from countries across Asia, Europe and America.

Liu Fo-lok emerges from a platform at Central station during the Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge. Photo:

Of the group, eight had retired by 9pm on Monday, while the only other runner to have finished by that point was China’s Leon Jiang Liang Jun, who came home in a time of 58:58:51.

As well as covering nearly 300km across the city, runners also ascend 14,500m of accumulative elevation, including heading to the top of Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s highest peak.

Kissing the postbox in Mui Wo signifies the end of a competitors race. Those who complete it in less than 60 hours are considered ‘finishers’, in less than 72 hours and a runner is deemed a ‘survivor’.

Runners must also finish the first trail, the MacLehose, within 18 hours.

Athletes have to battle extreme fatigue, hallucinations brought along by sleep deprivation and injuries.

Liu said as he was ascending Sunset Peak, the last uphill climb, the weather was getting hotter and every step was heavier than the last.

“Yet I knew it was the last climb and the finish line was just several kilometres ahead, this thought gave me power to run toward Mui Wo,” he said.

In 2022, Hong Kong runner and former firefighter Wong Ho-chung battled rain, hail and freezing fog to obliterate the course record.

He finished the 298km race in 46 hours and 55 minutes, knocking nearly three hours off Jacky Leung’s time of 49:26:15 the year prior.

“After finishing this challenge, I have become more confident in facing severe challenges and difficulties,” Liu said. “I feel more certain about my love for running. And I am ready to embrace the future challenges.”