The most extreme race of their life for MSIG AA Development Plan runners
Hong Kong representatives David Ng Wai-hei and Karen Cheung Man-yee finish strong at the World Skyrunning Championships ULTRA race on September 14, 2018
After months of intensive training through the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme, David Ng Wai-hei (6:26:56) and Karen Cheung Man-yee (6:39:31) finished strong at the World Skyrunning Championships ULTRA race in Kinlochleven Scotland on 14 September 2018.
The muddy trails, cold wind and the technical and slippery downhill sections made the race the most extreme one of Ng and Cheung’s life. There were extreme weather conditions in the last 3 days on the major peaks on the World Skyrunning Championships – ULTRA course, including UK’s highest peak Ben Nevis. The organizers decided to use the Plan B 'bad weather' course with lower elevation mountains and through the valleys.
Ng commented on the course, “The first half of the race was very muddy, slippery and windy on the mountains that I was not used to and I was doubting myself whether I could finish it. It was definitely the most difficult race that I have ever raced in. The downhill was very technical and it was very cold throughout the whole course.”
When asked about feelings, “I’m very happy and excited that I have finished the race and I’m extremely thankful to the kind and generous support of MSIG Action Asia Development Programme. This whole experience would not be possible without the Programme.” said Ng Wai Hei David after crossing the finish line in 6 hour 26 minutes and 56 seconds.
Cheung, after finishing the race shared: “I fell so many times at the muddy downhill section and it was the most difficult part as the mud was really thick. Many times it felt like half of my body was in the mud so very hard for me to run in. The trail was more runnable later so I caught up and passed a lot of runners towards the end of the race. I’m very excited that I finished the race and really appreciated all the help that I received from the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme. I look forward to the future and will aim to qualify for the next MSIG Action Asia Development Programme too.” Karen Cheung Man Yee, finished the race 6 hours 26 minutes and 56 seconds.
Their MSIG Action Asia Development Programme coach Michael Maddess was with the Hong Kong team at different checkpoints of the race to support and encourage them. “Plenty of mud, technical section, very cold at the first couple of hours of the race which really made both David Ng and Karen Cheung suffer as they both said that it is the most difficult, technical and extreme race of their life. It wasn’t until after the muddy section before the checkpoint where they got into their rhythm and started running to warm up and finally finished strong so very proud of them,” said Maddess, also the course designer and race director of Action Asia Events.
Ng, an 18-year-old tertiary student, and Cheung, a 28-year-old orthopaedic doctor, had trained intensively for the race since April this year through the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme: a first-of-its-kind initiative by MSIG Insurance (Hong Kong) Limited and Action Asia Events. The innovative programme prepares promising local Hong Kong trail runners for the world stage.
The comprehensive and gruelling five-month training plan of the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme was designed specifically for the challenges that Ng and Cheung would face at the World Skyrunning Championships.
To prepare for the race, in addition to runs totalling up to 60km a week, the pair also attended strength and conditioning sessions with supporting partner Joint Dynamics, and underwent sports science testing to track their development progress. Michael Maddess, race director of the MSIG HK50 Series and top trail runner, took Ng and Cheung through leg-burning stair workouts, as well as sharing his extensive racing experience and advice. The duo were also given opportunities to sharpen their racing experience and tactics through paid-for trips to overseas races before the World Skyrunning Championships on 14 September 2018.
The World Skyrunning Championships, held in Kinlochleven, Scotland from September 13 to 16, consists of four races of varying distances and difficulties. On Friday, September 14, Hong Kong representatives Ng and Cheung finished the ULTRA event. More details can be found at www.skylinescotland.com.
Mr. Kenneth J Reid, the CEO of MSIG Insurance (Hong Kong) Limited offered words of encouragement and support to Cheung and Ng: “The goal of the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme is to first train and nurture top local Hong Kong trail runners, then inspire them to challenge their limits at top-level competitions. As expressed in MSIG’s core company value, ‘Going above and beyond’, we always aim to achieve top-level success by preparing ourselves for all challenges.”
The MSIG Action Asia Development Programme is possible due to the generous support of presenting sponsor MSIG Insurance (Hong Kong) Limited and supporting partners Joint Dynamics, Action X Store, Hoka One One, Camelbak, China Skyrunning Association and Champion System.
About the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme
Sponsored by global general insurer MSIG Insurance (Hong Kong) Limited, the MSIG Action Asia Development Programme is the first of its kind for local Hong Kong trail runners. To qualify for the programme, runners need to be Hong Kong-born and must participate in at least two 50-kilometre races in the 2017/18 MSIG HK50 Series.
Since the first extreme races in 1992, the first World Championship in 1998 and the introduction of the Skyrunner World Series in 2003, Skyrunning has grown to become a globally renowned sport, governed by the International Skyrunning Federation. In 2015, the Continental Championships, which include Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Oceania, were introduced. The sport is practised in more than 40 nations and has followers from 126 countries. For more details on the World Skyrunning Championships 2018 in Scotland, visit www.skyrunning.com.
With a network of operations dating as far back as 1855, MSIG Insurance (Hong Kong) Limited (“MSIG”) has been providing general insurance solutions and products to customers in Hong Kong for more than 150 years. MSIG is backed by the solid foundation and rich heritage of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited, an established insurer that has received strong financial ratings from leading rating agencies, including Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. Today, MSIG is one of the few foreign-based general insurers to have representation in every ASEAN country, a testament to its strength and reach. MSIG also benefits from being a member of the MS&AD Insurance Group – one of the largest general insurance groups in the world. Leveraging their multi-channel distribution, their strong partnerships with intermediaries and an extensive geographical network, MSIG offers a wide range of insurance solutions across personal and commercial lines. MSIG builds and nurtures enduring relationships, forging close partnerships through good times and bad.