Winning is one of the best feelings in the world, there’s no doubt about it. So Cade Wright must be walking on sunshine all the time. The St Stephen's Girls' College athlete has won a lot of races in the two years she has been training. But being the best takes effort: Cade earns her medals by training three times a week.
Luckily, while some might get that nauseous feeling before a big event, Cade simply loves to race. Her first time on the podium was three years ago, at what is now known as the Southern District Cross Country run.
“I was given a HK$300 cash prize and I thought, ‘This is pretty good!’,” she tells Young Post.
From then on, Cade has become one of the city’s most promising young sports stars in running races, aquathons, duathlons and triathlons.
In the past few weeks alone, Cade has claimed two age-group firsts, and one second place in the Athletic Veterans of Hong Kong (Avohk) 5K races. However, the 13-year-old’s rates her greatest achievement so far as winning last year’s Inter-School Cross Country Competition.
Triathlons – races where competitors swim, bike and run – are gruelling tests of endurance and motivation. Cade trains with 26 Coaching, like last week’s sports star Hugo Ward. “Andrew and Kate, our head coaches, are experienced competitors themselves, and I believe provide the best athletics training in Hong Kong,” she explains. “They are extremely supportive of everyone on the squad, plus the sessions are really fun.”
The squad runs on the athletics track at Aberdeen and swims at Chinese International School. But the threat of speeding taxi drivers and someone suddenly pushing a cart out into the street makes cycling on roads tricky. “It’s hard to practise cycling in Hong Kong, as the roads are too dangerous. I only do one session a week, at 6am on a quiet residential road, to avoid the traffic,” Cade says.
Cade’s idols are the British triathletes, Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee, who she was lucky enough to meet when they visited Hong Kong last year. “I was shocked by their tough training regime – about 40 hours of swimming, cycling, running and gym sessions a week! Like everyone, I was really moved when Alistair carried Jonathan over the finish line in Mexico after he had collapsed.”
Sometimes, competing in races throws up extra challenges. Take the Aquawiz Eco Charity Run in Tuen Mun: “It was supposed to be a 5k race around the steelworks, but the motorcycle marshal led us all the wrong way, so we ended up running an extra 2k under the blazing sun.” Last week, Hugo described what it was like running the Avohk Tai Tam Tuk 5K, which combined torrential rain with slippery paths and a big hill.
Most runners on the day woke up and went straight to the race, but Cade had already completed a one-hour cycling session before heading to the 5K. She knew the course, unlike many other competitors, so she wasn’t surprised when the one kilometre-long hill loomed ahead. She found the rain worked to her advantage, as it kept her cool, and ended up hurtling over the finish line with an age category win of 21:51 – just 26 seconds behind the first female overall finisher.
She added the victory to her other wins over the summer, which include first place in the Ladies, Lads and Lassies race and an age first at the HK Streetathon Youth ROC 5K
Training her body to be strong in at least three different sports takes a significant chunk out of Cade’s week, but she rounds out her schedule with travelling, reading about maths and science, skiing, and watching sport-themed films, like The Crash Reel, Fast Girls and Race.
Athletics will stay her focus, as long as her ultimate goal is to represent Hong Kong and compete in international events. “I’d love to compete in New Zealand,” says Cade. “The scenery is stunning, the people are friendly and it’s not too hot.”
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What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Let’s Get it Started by The Black Eyed Peas.
What’s your personal motto?
Just do your best.
What’s your favourite thing to eat or do before a big event?
A banana smoothie.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company are you a spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
I’d have to say Brooks because their shoes are fab and they already kindly sponsor me.