“We pushed so hard" – ultra marathon finishes in surprise twist

Man accepting water bottle from volunteer at London Marathon
For the majority of the men's race, Canadian runner Jeff Campbell held onto his one-minute advantage (Image credit: Getty)

Finishing times in running races like marathons usually come down to a matter of mere minutes – and sometimes even seconds – but this weekend saw a highly unusual three-way tie for first place in the world of ultra running.

Around 600 runners took part in Saturday's trail race in Hong Kong, the first of four races that make up the HK 50 series. For the majority of the men's race, Canadian runner Jeff Campbell held onto his one-minute advantage. 

The course is described by organizers as a great introductory course; the first 24km entails low elevation and rolling terrain. The second half, however, involves three climbs up Mt Butler, Jardines Lookout and Violet Hill which proved to have a levelling effect on the front runners. 

According to reporting in the South China Morning Post, local runners Chan Ka-keung and Wong Wai-hung teamed up with Rex Lo to close the gap. Lo dropped back as the trio neared the finish line, while Chan and Wong surged ahead and caught Campbell a few hundred yards from the finishing line, where the three men agreed on an unlikely truce.

“The guys caught me, so I started sprinting, but they said, ‘joint finish’,” says Campbell, who moved from Canada to Hong Kong in 2014.

“I said, ‘that is a great idea, let’s run home together’.”

Campbell, Chan and Wong crossed the finish line together in five hours, one minute and 32 seconds.

“We pushed so hard, but it helped the three of us earlier in the race that we were supporting each other,” Chan tells the SCMP.

Let's hope there was an extra large podium to support all those winners.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.