Meet two HK cross-country champs from Diocesan Boys' School and West Island School

Meet two HK cross-country champs from Diocesan Boys' School and West Island School

Cross-country running tests an athlete's stamina and determination in the face of unpredictable weather conditions and uneven terrain. Erin Rose Brown and Wong Tsz-to reveal what it takes to reach the top of their sport

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Wong Tsz-to runs, swims and cycles for several hours every week.
Photo: Fuse Choy

Diocesan Boys' School's Wong Tsz-to won gold after beating 110 other runners at the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Boys Cross Country Tournament on December 9. The participants covered a seven-kilometre course near the Main Dam of the Shing Mun Reservoir on the MacLehose Trail (stage seven).

Tsz-to said he trained hard for this event. He runs, swims and cycles for several hours every week. Before the race, he visited the MacLehose Trail once to familiarise himself with the running surface. "The transition to uneven terrain would be easier if I knew the trail very well," said the 17-year-old.

Tsz-to said his tactic was to increase his pace in the last 2.5 kilometres. "The last 2.5km trail was mainly uphill. I'm good at running uphill so I started pushing up my pace there, which put me in a better position and ultimately won me the race," he said.

Tsz-to said he is now preparing for the 10km Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on January 17 next year.

Bench notes:

Who is your favourite athlete?
Spain's Mario Mola. He became the first triathlete to complete a 10km run in less than 29 minutes (28 min, 59 seconds) at the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Chicago, in the US. I hope I can run as fast as he does and break this record one day.

If you were asked to compete with an animal, what would it be and why?
A grey wolf. No matter how strong their foes are, wolves aren't scared. They stare at their prey, stand erect and take them down. They are also good at running through forests which are full of obstacles. They inspire me to run faster and overcome challenges in cross-country competitions.

What music do you listen to when you train?
Songs by South Korea's boy band, EXO.

If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use your power?
I would choose the ability to fly around the world. I would love to learn how top athletes in other countries train.

Imagine you're a famous athlete. What company would you sign-on as spokesperson for and what product would you promote?
Nike. I would promote their top-quality running shoes and sports wear.


Erin Rose Brown said mental toughness was key to winning.
Photo: Fuse Choy

West Island School's Erin Rose Brown was crowned champion at the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Cross Country Tournament held on December 9. Erin and 63 other girls ran a 5km stretch of the MacLehose Trail (stage seven) near the Main Dam, Shing Mun Reservoir.

Erin said the weather was the biggest challenge she faced during the race. "The day was raining buckets and very cold. There was nowhere to shelter and it was so windy that the marshal's tent was blown away. It was really difficult to just go out and take my jacket and trousers off to start running," she said. She added the race required a high level of fitness and endurance.

Erin's mental strength was key to overcoming all the difficulties. "A lot of the time it comes down to who is the toughest, and who refuses to give in. This is the main quality that separates successful runners from others," said the 16-year-old.

With the tournament over, Erin is now training hard for the Division One Inter-School Athletics Competition, in which she will compete in the A-grade girls' 800m, 1,500m and 4x400m relay.

Bench notes:

If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use your power?
I would like to develop super speed and then go win the Olympics. But being able to fly would be pretty amazing, too, because I could see the world.

What food and drink would you never give up?
Easy, chocolate. It's also probably not a good idea to give up water.

Who is your favourite athlete?
I'm really a huge admirer of British distance runner Mo Farah. He's just an excellent athlete. He always runs his races perfectly, and not only is he fast, he's also a genius, tactically.

If you were asked to compete with one animal, what would it be?
Well, I've heard that humans are the animals which are best suited to endurance running. There are events where people race a horse over a very long distance, so I guess I could try my hand at something like that, or a cheetah.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Duo in tune with nature

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