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  trailrunning > trailrunning blog > 13.01.2014

13.01.2014 – Interview with Hong Kong trailrunner Aubrey Close

Trail Fetish magazine brings you the latest in our string of interviews with inspiring lovers of trailrunning. In this month’s edition we chat to Aubrey Close. Asking him to discuss his love of the trails and nature.

Aubrey. What was it that first inspired you to start trailrunning?
Good question. Well done. It happened like this. One day I was walking through Soho in the mid-levels sipping an iced mochaccino with extra cream and I looked up to my left. I clearly remember it was my left. And I saw green hills… Now I’ve always been an original, creative thinker so I thought to myself – why don’t people run in the hills? Why does no-one run in those hills? So that was it. That was when and how I started the trailrunning craze in Hong Kong.

Great! And how long have you been participating in the sport?
Well, I’ve been officially trailrunning for six months. But if I’m honest, I’m such a natural that most people think I’ve been running for years. Or my whole life. Or my whole lives if you happen to believe in reincarnation.

So can you tell us what it is you love about running in the hills? About trailrunning?
Yes, I can. I love nature. I mean, I know a lot of trailrunners say they love nature. But most of them are just lying, or repeating something they have read in an interview to make themselves more interesting. Me, I really do love nature. Sometimes, when I see a beautiful sunset, I get an erection. Honestly, don’t laugh. I do. When I run, I AM nature. When I see a tree, I become a tree. When I see a rock, I become a rock. When I see a blade of grass, I become a blade of grass. When I see a rainstorm, I become wet. And when I see a hot trailrunning girl and smile at her, she becomes wet. That’s what I love about trailrunning.

Ahem, thanks for that Aubrey. I wonder, how would you describe your running style?
Actually, I don’t run. I float. So I would describe myself as a floater. Some people run with their bodies. Some people run with their mind. But some of us, run with our spirit. That’s why I never get tired, because my spirit never tires.

Do you need to train hard in order to run like this? Can you give us an idea of your training regime?
Well, I’m so talented that I don’t really need to train as much as other people. Sometimes I’ll wake up and run a couple of km – just like that. Without even planning anything. And sometimes I’ll just spontaneously make up a training opportunity. For example, the other day I was walking around the Peak when I saw a family of husband, wife and three small children in front of me. They were walking towards an ancient Banyan tree. I think they were about 5m away from the tree and I was about 10m behind them. So I bet myself that I could reach the Banyan tree before they did. I sprinted, or floated, as fast as I could and just made it to the Banyan before they did. It wasn’t easy. I even had to push one of the kids out of the way as he was blocking my route. But I made it because I was fully focused and in training mode. Sometimes when I’m training and I pass someone I shout out “You can’t get Close to Aubrey!” Haha, a little play on words there with my name. Of course, when I race I am normally even more focused and competitive than this.

Yes, racing. You recently managed a top 300 finish in the 15km Hong Kong Trailking Kowloon Peak race and came just inside the top 250 of the 10km HKhiking North West New Territories race. How do you see your race CV progressing from here?
I’m glad you brought this up. Yes. Normally, when I race, I’m very hung over. I mean, it’s a little bit anti-social expecting us to get up at 6a.m. on a weekend. Hey race organisers, some of us have social lives you know! But if I took racing more seriously I’m pretty sure I’d win most of them. Especially the longer ones. For example – if you divide my recent 15km Hong Kong Trailking race up into three 5km segments then I actually ran the last segment faster than the first segment. So imagine, for example, if I ran the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. That’s 166km. And because I keep running faster and faster as a race progresses I would have enough distance to catch everyone up. I discussed this theory with my friend and we both agreed that if I ran the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc I would probably win it.

Well Aubrey, that is an interesting hypothesis. I hope you decide to test this theory one day. Now a large positive of trailrunning is the opportunity you get to meet and chat to fellow runners. But on the other hand, in order to be able to run long, tough races a special kind of determination, solitude and selfishness of mind are required. How do you reconcile these two ideas. How do you regard the trailrunning community?
Ahhh, I love ‘em. All of ‘em. I envision us all like a nest of ants scurrying around conscientiously to build a big, beautiful trailrunning nest. I love telling people my stories. I tell them about my training runs. I tell them about my races. I tell them about the equipment I use. I tell them about my injuries, ohhhhhh yes I tell them about my injuries good and proper. Non stop. Sometimes I even let them tell me about their running experiences. But not too much, because quite frankly I’m more interesting than they are. And I think the reason most people in Hong Kong go trailrunning is so that they can listen to and share my trailrunning stories.

Hmmmmm. Yes, you must be very interesting in that case. I wonder. How about nutrition. Any tips?
Well. I’ve trained myself to be able to run without food or water. Even on my longer 5km training runs I never take anything with me. Sometimes I don’t even have a beer before running. I’ve never tried this, but I’m pretty sure I could run for about 10 hours with no water. Easy. And as for food, maybe after a day I’d need a sandwich or something. But that’s pretty much it.

Wow. You must be a machine. So how about equipment then. Any tips on this?
Ahhhhh yes. Equipment is vital. Definitely the most important aspect of trailrunning. For example, take shoes. On race days I normally take four pairs of shoes with me. One pair to wear on my way to the race. Then, the actual shoes I will run in. After this I change into my post-race relaxation shoes and then my post-race socialising shoes. But believe me, I’m quite restrained when it comes to this. I know people who bring up to eight pairs of shoes with them. And that’s just shoes. You don’t even want to know how many pairs of shorts I own. In fact, I only have two rules when it comes to tailrunning equipment.
1. Buy as much as possible.
2. Never wear lycra running shorts on a cold day. I mean seriously – that’s just upsetting and traumatic for everyone.

Aubrey. Thank you so much for all your fascinating insights into trailrunning in Hong Kong. Do you have any final thoughts before we say adieu?
What is life without creativity? What is trailrunning without madness? What is life without madness? Fucking boring. Fucking predictable. Fucking boringly predictable. What is the point of spending your whole life pandering to the wants, whims and peculiarities of others without expressing yourself? Be brave enough to be yourself. Expression is a vital force. Be weird. Be mad. Be loud. Let’s trailrun …