Stanley-to-Shataukok Revisited

The Support China Morning Post reports that local runner Steve Carr (not an AVOHK member for some inexplicable reason) set out in the last week of May to reprise the long-dead Stanley-to-Shataukok run. His effort was abortive in that he started in Tsimshatsui, not Stanley and got hung up in urban congestion to the point that he couldn’t even finish that shortened version. I never did Stanley-to-Shataukok, but Sheila and I helped out a few times. Here’s what I remember.

It was held annually on the Saturday night closest to the full moon in May. It started from Stanley police station and ended at the Shataukok border zone control post (about 55K). There was no set route; each took the route they felt would be fastest. With only about a half-dozen starters running individually, that would ease the police surveillance and permit problems that races have these days. The only fixed part of the route was the Cross-Harbour Tunnel—the only tunnel in those days.

The start was in the middle of the night to reach Shataukok in the cool of the morning. The Tony Gover race (now called Round-the-Island) used to go past Stanley, and most runners simply took the Repulse Bay Road up to the little park at the junction of Headland Road. (The Gover race started and finished there one year.) That would be suicide with today’s traffic and runners would presumably go through Chung Hom Kok instead.

At the park it was out with the flashlights for the run down what was called the snake path to South Bay Road. (Technology had moved beyond carbide, but batteries weren’t what they are today, so there were no headlamps.) In those days there was a trail from the top end of the Deep Water Bay golf course up to the tail end of the Aberdeen catchment. Following the catchment brought you out on Nam Fung Road just above the South Island School, from where it was an easy run on lighted footpaths across the Wong Nai Chung Gap, down Blue Pool Road and through Happy Valley to the tunnel. The ride through the tunnel involved some waiting for the drivers, as there were no mobile phones in those days.

On the Kowloon side it was every man (I think Charlotte Mitchell may have tried it one year; Kitty Chow? Maggie Brooke?) for himself. Up the Tai Po Road, around Shing Mun Reservoir and over Lead Mine Pass was a popular option. But one year Nick Brooke was detained there by some Gurkhas on night manoeuvers who thought he had been sent in to represent the enemy. (Nick is a patriot with a bauhinia to prove it, but he has never been in the PLA.)

Today runners would better opt for Shatin Pass. There are escalators up to Tsz Ching Estate, and the rest of the way up is a road, traffic-free except on the night of the Trailwalker. Then it will be time to pull out the flashlight again, as the trail down to Shatin is all 19th century stone stairs. It’s easy running, but you need to watch your step.

From Shatin today it’s down the river and around Tolo Harbour on the lighted footpath all the way to the Sha Lo Tung Valley. I don’t remember that too well, but there is a trail up from the valley to a low point in the Pat Sin Leng, from where there is a country park road out to the Shataukok access road. Bus service from the police post back to the Fanling MTR Station must be much better today than it was in the ’90s when the Stanley-to-Shataukok was last run.

The full moon will be May 23rd in 2024.

Bill Purves