A Hong Kong man named Hyun Chang Chung recently completed a run on Sri Lanka’s 300K Pekoe Trail. Divided into 22 stages, the Pekoe Trail is meant to be completed in as many days, but Chung ran it about 10 times faster, finishing the route in just 58 hours. He decided to take on the 300K challenge to promote the trail, which was only opened recently, as reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in Hong Kong.
I experienced today the #PekoeTraila 300km hiking trail supported by @EU_in_Sri_Lanka 🇪🇺 & which aims to provide new sources of income to the local communities in the #centralprovince & promote #sustainabletourism. A breathtaking & uniquely 🇱🇰 experience. #DiscoverSriLanka pic.twitter.com/hwU3N7Ljlv
— Jean-Francois Pactet (@JFPactet) March 17, 2023
The Pekoe Trail
The 22 individual sections of the Pekoe Trail are not new, but the process of connecting them and turning them into one massive trek has only been underway for 10 years. Miguel Cunata Spanish friend of Chung’s who lives in Sri Lanka, spent the last decade designing the route and implementing the changes needed to create the Pekoe Trail.
According to the SCMP, Cunat’s inspiration for the trail was the Camino de Santiago, an 800K trail through Spain that takes most hikers more than a month to complete. The Pekoe Trail connects tea plantations across Sri Lanka, and like the Camino, it was designed so hikers can stop in different villages after each stage.
Discover trails worth traveling for, including the 22-route, 185-mile Pekoe Trail, a network of hiking paths through our island nation’s tea country.
Read more here – https://t.co/AQCuvuVzDk
— Resplendent Ceylon (@Resplendentcy) October 24, 2022
Cunat didn’t expect anyone to run the Pekoe Trail in one shot, but when he told Chung about the project, that’s the first thing that came to mind. Chung is a seasoned ultrarunner (he has run the Hardrock 100, the TransLantau by UTMB in Hong Kong and many other ultras), and he thought a non-stop run along the Pekoe Trail would be the perfect way to christen and promote it.
“Miguel initially thought I was joking,” Chung told the SCMP. “It’s mind-blowing for someone who has nothing to do with the trail community. If somebody comes and you hear them saying they’ll do 300K, you will think they are crazy. If you are a trail runner, you’ll still think it’s crazy, but also it’s nothing new.”
Chung said the opening 100K were easy enough, and at that point, he figured he could complete the trail in under 48 hours. Of course, any ultrarunner knows it’s difficult to forecast the final stages of a race, and Chung slowly faded, eventually finishing in 58 hours. After the run, he raved about the trail to the SCMPnoting that its views and landscape were “even more amazing than [he] expected.”