It’s happened to most hikers. The heat, the long miles and the steep climbs get too much – so we jump into a cab.
But seven runners – and possibly more – had the same idea during the Salomon LT70, a gruelling cross-country race from Mui Wo to Tai O and back on October 28.
In a post on the Lantau Base Camp Facebook page, race director Martijn Doekes said that over the years “we’ve heard some rumours about people taking a taxi, bus or a shorter course” on LT70, which is quite vulnerable to short cuts.
With pain in my heart I have to accept that this year again there were such stories, and we found that it really happened. For some the lure of some easy ITRA points does it, for others it is being too lazy and tired to fix an honest mistake the right way, but whatever way, you only receive an official time if you finish the race along the official course.
He said organisers had checked data uploaded to Strava, a site where runners share their results, and after reviewing the times between checkpoints found seven runners with times they could not explain.
This only applies to those who use Strava, however. As one person posted on Facebook – what about those who don’t share their data on Strava?
One reason for the shortcuts may be that the race is a qualifying event for the prestigious Ultra-Trail du Mont Blank, or UTMB. But Doekes pointed out:
If you don’t complete the LT70 along the official course, you are cheating on yourself, and disrespecting the efforts of your fellow runners. If you are just in it for the points, save yourself some money because the ticket to UTMB will not be worth it. With such attitude you will not come far, and you are cheating an honest runner out of a chance of a lifetime to run that race.
Doekes told Lantau News that the disqualified runners won’t suffer any penalty in future races. He hoped that people don’t feel “inclined to personally prosecute people who are DQed. Our main aim is to get the message out that LT70 is not a race to not take seriously.”
He said in future races organisers would add more resources to verify runners’ times.