The 9 Dragons Ultra presented by HOKA ONE ONE is a challenging, multi-day trail and ultra-running event taking place on the 1st to the 3rd of February 2019, in Hong Kong.
The first race, starting at midnight on Saturday, consists of an 89km (50 mile) trail run with a an elevation gain of 5,070m. Sunday features an entirely different 50km course with a further 3,550m of elevation gain.
250 places will be available to runners who hope to aim to complete both events over the weekend –– and a further 250 will compete in either the (82km) or .
Elite runners, Julien Chorier from France, Magdalena Boulet flying in from the USA and Frncesca Canepa from Italy will trade blows with local talent that includes, Ben Duffus, John Ellis, Kazufumi Ose, Chor Kin Law, Jeremy Ritcey, Hisashi Kitamura and Jacky Leung. For the women, Corinne Williams, JCY Ho and Ruth Theresia will provide the competition at the from of the race.
A transliteration of the Chinese 九龍, gau lung, or “Nine Dragons”, Kowloon is named for the eight mountains which rear up behind the plateau—and one final dragon besides.
Legend goes that Kowloon was named in the year 1278 by the boy Emperor Bing, of the Southern Song Dynasty. Noticing the eight hills of Kowloon (Kowloon Peak, Tung Shan, Tate’s Cairn, Temple Hill, Unicorn Ridge, Lion Rock, Beacon Hill, Crow’s Nest), the emperor was pleased to name them the “Eight Dragons”—but a quick-witted courtier pointed out that the emperor was a dragon himself, making it nine dragons.
What was Emperor Bing doing counting mountains at the southern tip of his empire? Well, he had nowhere else to go. For the whole of the 13th century the Mongols had swept down from the steppes, moving south through China and crushing the ruling Song Dynasty. First Genghis and then his grandson Kublai Khan stormed south, pushing the Song back, and back, and back.
By 1278, Emperor Bing’s older brother, 10-year-old Emperor Duanzong of Song, had been pushed out of Fujian province and fled south to Guangdong. After Duanzong died from an illness contracted while running from the Mongols, the throne passed to 7-year-old Emperor Bing. The child was crowned at Silvermine Bay, on Lantau Island.
But Bing’s reign was not to last. The Mongols pressed onwards and just one year after the emperor’s coronation, the Song Dynasty made its final stand against the invaders. At the naval Battle of Yamen on March 19, 1279, a Mongol navy of some 50 warships smashed the Song flotilla of more than 1,000 ships to pieces. There was nowhere left to run. Lu Xiufu, the emperor’s most loyal general and statesman, picked up the 8-year-old king and leaped into the sea, in search of an honorable death. Kublai Khan had unified China under his fist, and the sun dawned on the Yuan Dynasty.
You can visit the “Terrace of the Song Kings,” in the Sung Wong Toi Garden park in Kowloon City. It’s home to a rock carving which commemorates the two-year reign of the Song kings in Hong Kong.
But the legacy of the last emperor of the Song doesn’t lie in a rock, but in those eight dragons: The boy emperor who named a city.
The 50-mile event will begin at 11:59pm on Friday 1st of February 2019 at the Po Leung Kuk Jockey Club Holiday Camp near Yuen Long and finish at Tai Po Tau Playground. The cutoff is at 19:00pm on Saturday 2nd February.
The 50 Mile course starts at the near Yuen Long, and finishes at , an 8 minute walk to/from Tai Wo MTR (East Rail line). It crosses Kowloon and the New Territories in Hong Kong from West to East. The route uses a variety of trails including the MacLehose and Wilson trails, and has an accumulative vertical gain of 5,070m.
The 50km event will begin at 07:30am on Sunday 3rd February at Tai Po Tau Playground and finish at Shing Fung Studios. The cutoff will be at 20:00pm on the same day.
The 50km course starts at , an 8 minute walk from Tai Wo MTR (East Rail line) in the New Territories and finishes at in Kowloon, running from North to South. The route uses a variety of trail including the Wilson and MacLehose among others, and has an accumulative vertical of 3,550m.
250 places will be available to runners who hope to aim to complete both the 50 Miler and 50km events over the weekend – The 9 Dragons 50/50.
50/50 – Men
- Julien Chorier
- Ben Duffus
- John Ellis
- Kazufumi Ose
- Chor Kin Law
- Jeremy Ritcey
- Hisashi Kitamura
- Jacky Leung
50/50 – Women
- Magdalena Boulet
- Corinne Williams
- Francesca Canepa
- JCY Ho
- Ruth Theresia