Oxfam Trailwalker (TW) is an annual charity event that had celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006. The donations received in this annual fundraising and other activities are used to support various charity projects in multi-continents. The Hackers family competes in TW and embraces teams of people from within and without the HKMA.
It started in the year 2000 when KL Wong (KL) initiated the attempt to crack the 18 hr barrier of completing the 100 k MacLehose Trail. It was wrongly presumed at that time that a person could be a Super Trailwalker if his/her team finished in less than 18 hour. It was later verified that a person could only be a Super Trailwalker if he/she finishes with a time of under 18 hours while competing as an 'S' team. To be eligible as a 'S' team, three of the four members must have a finishing time of less than 20 hours within the past three years.
Having no track record on trail walking and distance running, he turned to Dr Au Yiu Kai, a reputed marathoner and HKMA Trailwalker of < 24 hours, to form a team. This was subsequently established in July 2001 with Drs Kevin Ho and Ngai Wai Kee. Team training was started on a raining day with Red Rain warning. We quitted at Lead Mine Pass in TW2001 because one of our team members had severe hypoglycemia. We all had a sleepless night and made a commitment next morning that we would be back in 2002 for a second attempt. The training resumed in January 2002. We did not have a name for our team by then. After a bit of alphabet doctoring, the name of 'KAHN' came up: K, being a common initial for all; A for Au; H for Ho; N for Ngai. Literally, Kahn is '汗', a Mongolian King and stands also for 'sweat'. Metaphorically, we paid with sweat to become the King of the Trail!!! Dr Kwok Tin Fook, the then Sports Captain, remarked that we are a team of 'wicked' '奸' which has a sound quite akin to 'Kahn'. We competed under this name and finished TW2002 in 19 hr 26 min. The whole process of training was focused on discipline and continual marginal improvement using our limited time and (physical) abilities. A time model for training and competition was developed and made available to all HKMA members. The importance of a well organised support team was the crux of success and all merits went to Dr Stella Chim, Sammy (later, Ngai's wife), Venus, Benjamin & Jane (Kevin's wife, son & daughter), Ray (Kevin's driver), Anita Au (Au's wife), Rebecca & John (Au's sister & brother-in-law). The support was just part of us.
The year of 2003 was the year of fruition. Dr Chow Yuen Hon joined our team in TW2002 as a running support. It was our first taste of what 'zero load' meant to be. Ngai found his life-time commitment in 2003. Chow joined the team of Au, Ho and KL for TW2003. The next issue was 'we needed a new team name'. The old time game of scrabbles lent the aspiration. We coined our name as The Hackers: H, Ho; A, Au; C, Chow; K, KL. We completed TW2003 as the HKMA Hackers (Team S22), finished as a team in 17 hr 32 min and successfully obtained the 'Super Trailwalker' certificate. We thought this target should hold for some time but …….
The Hackers Family
Ho and Chow joined Drs Michael Tung and Philip Cheong in TW2004. The leader, Tung, warmly welcome the name of The Hackers and became the torchbearer. Pam (Tung's wife), Selina & Tina (Philip's mum & sister), Tai, Raymond, Stella and KL were the supporting team members. During one of the stormy HKMA training sessions, we met our lovely lady team from QEH (QEH Flower Four, Priscilla, Aries, Sim Sim & Carol) and developed very good walking relationship. The Hackers finished TW2004 in 16 hr 55 min. After finishing supporting The Hackers, KL returned to Shing Mun Reservoir, joined the QEH Flower Four & their supports (Chan Sir & Kei) and accompanied them till they finished joyfully in 33 hr 28 min.
Au rang the next morning after TW2004 that he wanted to compete in TW2005. Two teams were formed: The Hackers 1 (Au, Ho, KL & Chow) and The Hackers 2 (Tung, Philip, Jenny & King). We trained together at times and shared our resources. Our supports flowed in: Iris & her enthusiastic four, QEH Flower Four with Chan Sir & Kei, Ngai, Tai, Raymond, Rebecca & John, Siu Lan, Janice Tsang, Tam Tat Wah, Pfizer. Stella & Pam remained at the control helm. Since all fast runners had minimal or zero loads, Michael & KL devised one of the most sophisticated support protocols with 29 support locations. Our support team members even had their own uniform and identification at night. Stella & KL produced a Trailwalker walking guide and support locations Powerpoint presentation that could provide all TW participants with background information for training and support. The Hackers 1 finished TW2005 in 16 hr and The Hackers 2, 16 hr 29 min. The Hackers 1 won the Open Oxfam Trailwalker and Health care Champions and The Hackers 2, the Super Trailwalker certificate. The Hackers regrouped in 2006 with Tung, Philip, Ho and Chow and finished TW2006 in 17 hr. A new team of young blood, The Hackers Junior, was formed with Sergio Koo, Janice Tsang, Dacita Suen and Bonnie Lo. Their diligence paid off well and they finished in 27 hr 38 min.
Dr Edison Lee was instrumental in TW2007. He asserted that the Hackers could form a senior team to break the Ancient Mariners' monopoly of the Veteran Trailwalkers (all team members being over 50 years). After a few test runs with two fantastic veteran runners (Drs Billy Oh & Tam) and two excellent young runners (Drs Law Kam Leung and Lo Chung Hong), we formed three teams of Hackers: The Hackers 1 (Tung, Philip, Chow & King), The Hackers 2 (Au, Edison, Law & Hong) and The Hackers Senior (KL, Ho, Billy & Tam). Edison was replaced by Jenny in July 2007 because of personal reason. The size of the support team 2007 was phenomenal with 34 persons supporting twelve walkers covering 38 support locations. Their fluorescent orange and green tees gave the hills the timely glows. We enjoyed the TW2007 run with almost no loads!! The Hackers 1 finished in 16 hr 28 min, The Hackers 2, 15 hr 47 min and The Hackers Senior, 15 hr 44 min with lots of told and untold stories. However, The Hackers Senior was unable to break the record of the Ancient Mariners which finished in a record 15 hr 24 min.
There are already talks on how we are going to team up in 2008. I am sure the two new members, Law & Hong and the amazing Billy could do better in the future years. The legend of The Hackers will go on.