Race Media


Apr 14 / 2017

Nine-year-old Sofie does it to keep fit - C3fit Bonaqua Action Sprint SPRINT RB

Nine-year-old Sofie does it to keep fit as Ixel bags his 50th career title 
at the C3fit Bonaqua Action SPRINT Trail Series – Repulse Bay

Repulse Bay, HONG KONG, Friday April 14, 2017 – Australian Vlad Ixel claimed his first C3fit Bonaqua Action Sprint title today at the first leg of the series at Repulse Bay, bringing his career win tally to 50 since he started competing in trail running three years ago. It was one of his narrowest victories yet: just 35 seconds separated him and second-placed Brian Mcflynn on the challenging mixed terrain course around Tai Tam Country Park. Hong Kong-based Ixel, of The North Face team, clocked 1 hour 13 minutes and 27 seconds.

But Sofie Salgado, who finished more than an hour behind Ixel, stole some of the limelight – at nine years of age, she was the race’s youngest participant. Originally from Brazil, she began trail running with the encouragement of her parents, both of whom are passionate about the sport. Salgado, who finished the 14km race in 2:29:06, said: “Trail running keeps me fit and healthy and I also love enjoying nature. What I’ve learned from trail running is that you have to have a strong mind and you should never give up, or else you would not achieve a lot and you probably cannot finish the race. The longest distance I have run is 20km and my goal is to finish a 100km race in future like my daddy.”

The youngster’s participation in the C3fit Bonaqua Action SPRINT Trail Series embodies what the event has set out to do since it began 14 years ago: offer an opportunity for runners of all abilities and ages to set foot on trails that are rarely trodden upon and explore Hong Kong’s suburbs outside the concrete city. Race organiser Action Asia Events is dedicated to creating diversified and challenge routes encompassing hilly terrain, waterways and concrete paths as well, that challenge both mind and body.

It was Ixel’s first time competing in the race and he spoke highly of the event. “I have never run part of the course before; it’s really nice. Beautiful course, great finish line, perfect start line and good weather, I really enjoyed it!” he said.

Second-placed Irishman Mcflynn (1:14:02) had experienced the course before having joined the race last year. He said: “I usually don’t run much on the Hong Kong Island side and it’s nice to get out in Repulse Bay and take in the view. I also enjoy this fast course very much.”

Hong Kong’s Gump Wong, who has done the race multiple times, was third overall in 1:24:07. He said: “I love trail running because it is a nice way to be in nature and get some nice fresh air and especially great for people like me who work in the city. Hong Kong trails are incredibly beautiful with a vast variety, and you don’t need to hike or run for too long to see different sceneries. I think this Repulse Bay start line view on the beach was gorgeous and the course is fast to run on with some uphills and downhills.”

Among the women, Hong Kong resident Magdalena Cvetkovic of Switzerland came out tops in 1:45:29. She has been trail running for seven years, but it was her first time joining the C3fit Bonaqua Action SPRINT Series and so the win came as a surprise. “For me trail running means happiness and freedom. It also means being with nature, loving nature and getting an endorphin kick,” she said.

Briton Jessica Williams, who only recently picked up trail running, was second woman (1:47:56). She said: “I find trail running fun because it’s nice to be in nature and see different parts of Hong Kong. I also believe that trail running is very good for your mind.”

To encourage greater participation, a 9km course was added to the event this year. Hong Kong’s Pak To Lai won the 9km men’s race in 55 minutes flat, while German yoga instructor Silke Bender won the women’s title in 1:17:03.

Bender, who has been based in Hong Kong for four years, said: “For me trail running is a way to reconnect with nature and that’s what I love about it. Trail running takes you to places where a lot of people are not able to see. I found road racing to be very mentally challenging as you see almost the same thing, but I really enjoy trail races in Hong Kong and other countries where you have different courses and elevations.”

It wasn’t only the winners who spoke highly of the race. Finishers who conquered their own personal challenges also shared their excitement and happiness.

First-time trail runner Yanny Choi, age 25, from Hong Kong said: “I have done some road running before, but trail running for me is the way to feel the freedom of flying through the forests and hills. It is more relaxing as it’s closer to nature. Even though 14km is not a very far distance, I still felt extremely exhausted a few times during the race and wanted to stop to have a rest. But I knew the finish line was not far away so I kept going and finished it. This spirit and persistency I’ve experienced in trail running race is quite inspiring and useful for my work, and to my life in general. I would recommend people of all ages to join the sport.”

Local runner Cheong Sheridan, who ran with her husband, also had a positive experience: “We just finished the Hysan Healthy Hike and Run race last month and we were really pleased with it, so this Repulse Bay race was our second trail running race. Trail running gives us a chance to enjoy the sunshine and the clean air while doing exercise, rather than only focus on the miles and the time on the watch. I’m also very content with the lovely scenery today, especially on the uphill sections, where I took a moment to enjoy.”

The event is possible due to the generous support of presenting sponsor C3fit and Bonaqua and supporting partners: LIFEPROOF, Action X Store, Aquarius, HOKA ONE, HKRI, OL&N, and the Action Asia Foundation.


Race Results

14 km - Top 5 Men
Name - Nationality - Team/Sponsor - Time

1. Vlad Ixel – Australia – The North Face – 01:13:27

2. Brian Mcflynn– Ireland – 01:14:02

3. Gump Wong – Hong Kong – 01:24:07

4. Igor Gal – Croatia – 01:25:32

5. Martinus Doekes– Netherlands – 01:27:46


14km - Top 5 Women

1. Magdalena Cvetkovic – Switzerland – 01:45:29

2. Jessica Williams – Britain – 01:47:56

3. Katy Spooner – Britain – 01:49:32

4. Manon Peters – Netherland – 01:51:33

5. Siu Kin Iris Mak – Hong Kong – 01:55:11


9 km - Top 5 Men

1. Pak To Lai  – Australia – 00:55:00

2. Tsz Chun Au Yeung – Hong Kong – 00:58:49

3. Corentin Joyeux  – France – 00:59:42

4. Yiu Bong Tam   – Hong Kong – 01:00:21

5. Max Salvén – Finland – 01:09:01


9km - Top 5 Women

1. Silke Bender – Germany – 01:17:03

2. Sammie Kwong – Britain – 01:20:46

3. Kwan Yau Yip – Hong Kong – 01:27:55

4. Jane Poon – Hong Kong – 01:28:03

5. Carmen Lai– Hong Kong – 01:30:23

Full results link:


or Racematix at:



Race Info

Event Name

C3fit Bonaqua Action SPRINT Trail Series - Repulse Bay


April 14, 2017 (Friday)

Start Time


Start Location

Repulse Bay, Hong Kong


9km and 14km


Hiking and Trail Running





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