On the Saturday of 9th October 2010 I found myself in the beautiful city of Hong Kong this was a hot and humid day in this busy metropolis. This race was important to me as it was invited by the SINO group to participate in the climb of the Central Plaza building for the Hong Chi Climbathon. This event was in support of intellectual disability association, known as Hong Chi Association.
Like the other races before I’ll be the first amputee to climb this tower. I was driven there by the sponsors, and then I saw Central Plaza building towering over me and that similar feeling as New York, and Sydney came over me, “you are a madman, Dwayne why do you keep doing this to yourself”.
This building had a similar feel to the Empire State building and had a very grand lobby entrance. I was ushered to the 50 something floor, as this was the meeting point for all the runners and the media. This place had such a vibrant atmosphere there were booths of T-shirts as well as food giant, stands corporate entities displaying their pride as they boasted the teams of runners. There was a stage that truly showed the spirit of Hong Kong through music, dance and speeches from dignitaries.
It was a beautiful sight of cultural traditions and not to mention that I was on this 50 something floor. I generally do not like to see the view until I have earned it but the view from this building is beautiful on one side the harbor of Hong Kong, which you could see across the other mainland on the other side of the building, but corporate buildings in a place on the mountain this side and the top of Hong Kong you see a cable car making its way to the top of the hill. All these beautiful sights and all I want to do is concentrate on this run, which I felt was going to be a tough one.
I was handed the sponsors T-shirt by a very good organizer, Karen Hon. This lovely lady in the reason that I was over here and also assisted me get the sponsorship by the SINO group. I quickly changed and enjoyed some of the hospitality of the good Hong Kong people.
After a few more photographs and speeches, they announce the race was about to start for individual men. We lined up and took the elevator back down. The heat hit me again, we strolled down outside the building where the fire exits were placed. That’s when I realize that this was unlike every other tower climb I have done. This would be in the heat of Hong Kong. The building did not appear to be cooled centrally. The doors were wide open, and the hot air went from the bottom and made its way to the top. The same way that I would be climbing.
I was placed fairly far in the back of the staggered pack, but then again, I never cared and I was never racing anyone else in these races it is always me and the tower. I was set or so I thought, music pluged-in, my light converse shoes are on, my high school shorts are on, my legs feel fine, and feeling fairly limber, SINO T-shirt worn and comfortable, and a slight sweat on my brow.
Running in 3, 2, 1 Go!
I start my music and off I went and I begin my climb not having seen the inside of this tower. I realize that the stair cases are quite wide. Unlike Sydney, which you reached out and touch both sides which you could use to climb, this stairwell is about four people wide. It first starts to turn left and then changes its pattern and sneaks right for a bit. Until what appears to be the 10th floor it then reaches its normal pattern; one handrail, a flight of 20 stairs and then right turns. What’s also new about this tower run is that I was not alone in the stair well. They were literally dozens of people scattered throughout the staircase, including the media. You’d see them on every 10 or 15 floors and they would record your images and send it to the 50 th floor that people would be celebrating and checking your progress.
This race got hotter and harder as I kept climbing, I could feel my energy sapping way. I did not train well for the heat. I wasn’t planning for that, every time someone offered me water I would take it. Because of the heat my rhythm was off. I also realized after the race I had change my climbing technique during the race. I had started grabbing onto the handrails pulling myself up, two steps in and grabbing again repeating. This was getting me to the top of the tower, however, I was using the energy of my hands to pull my legs to follow, but it wasn’t a good rhythm. It was a hook and pull motion, which is fine if you’re carrying a heavy load up a short distance. But if you’re doing the race, It’s going to drain you.
I did not felt right and by the 60 something floor, my music ran out. The music is the way I time myself up the tower, I had reached the end of my playlist, and it started again. I had it set for the Sydney Tower run, which was a few months ago. This cause me to panic a little bit, but I kept hooking and pulling myself up. The tower changed again, it had become very similar feel to the Empire State building, now. I could feel the end near and the air cooling. So I pushed on, and cameramen swarmed over me taking pictures from every angle and a few more steps will be the observation deck of the central plaza building in Hong Kong and around the tight corner, a final blast of wind hits me. I am at the top. I stagger myself to the finishing mat the sensor in my shoe register’s my time, 28 minutes and 5 seconds. I am happy it is over, I am not happy with the time just the fact that I survived the hardest climb, I have ever done.
I fell down on the mat and then decide to lay there for a while and enjoy the fact that I have Hong Kong under my belt. It feels nice and cool over here I stared at the beautiful structure above me, the elegant design on the building and its beautiful glass housing.
When I got the chance, I looked down at the point where was I standing before I entered this building can enjoy my new achievement.
There are lessons to learn from Hong Kong. They the following:
Dwayne “Funky” Fernandes