The race is just an opportunity
Mountain running is a great joy
As mentioned above, Stone fights his battles in the area of ultra-trails, while maintaining his job as ambulance paramedics. He is not what one would call a full-time professional athlete. Regardless though, his results are No.1 among Asian trail runners in many of major international races.
"Of course, my training environment is not perfect. In addition to my day job, it is important to spend time with my wife and children. Even when I manage to find time late at night to run, for example, I know I am lacking more time for body conditioning and recovery."
That being said, Stone believes he is naturally predisposed to take on challenges, so to him, training for trail running is not something painful or difficult.
"It is very important in life, to find something to be passionate about, something to pour your heart and soul into, something that is truly meaningful to you. Otherwise, what is the point? Then again, it is a simple pleasure to run in the mountains; there is nothing like it. On the trail, you are separated from the hustle of the city; you can feel the wind and hear the quiet chatter of the trees. As you give yourself over to nature, run freely, you can think about all sorts of things: work, family, and yourself. Perhaps, it is because when coming face to face with nature in the mountains, your mind is released, and it is not so uncommon for some solutions or answers to life's challenges just pop out.
Therefore, even if I was exhausted both in mind and body from work, I find my legs walking towards the trail. Of course, my body can feel tired after running in the trails, but it is a rather comfortable feeling, and makes me feel emotionally refreshed."
Stone explains further, "Trail running is a lifestyle. Setting one's goal to a race and achieving results is not the most important thing of all. The objective is the very act of running in the mountains. This is something that I value the most."
Passing on the joy of nature to children
This interview was conducted in December 2016. In recent years, Stone has not just been participating in races, but he has been involved in a number of projects.
"The closeness of the city and mountains makes Hong Kong trails attractive, but I recently find that many unnecessary numbers of trails are being concreted. From the perspective of us humans, it may be easier to maintain but is it really a good thing for nature? In spring 2016, my friends and myself launched a concern group for trail conservation and have been sending our views and opinions to the government. This has quickly grown into a movement of thousands of supporters, and we are now consulting and working with the government on how to build proper nature trails without concreting everywhere. It's been so rewarding to see the progress and the government listening our concerns."
"My biggest objective for the 2017 season is HK4TUC (the Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge). There are four beautiful and historical trails in Hong Kong. I plan to run through all four trails at once carrying food supplies, clothing and other necessities all by myself. The total length is 298km. It is not an official race, rather, it is a timed epic challenge! I am aiming to complete it within 60 hours, which is necessary to be an "official finisher", however, this has yet to be achieved by anybody. The other exciting thing with this challenge is that I will fundraise for underprivileged youth in Hong Kong who have never had the chance to enjoy outdoor adventure sports or camping in nature. The goal is to raise enough money to sponsor 200 kids and hopefully inspire them beyond their limited experiences in the city's lower income housing estates and schools. I can relate as I was raised in a lower income family, and my life was dramatically changed when I encountered running and other adventures in the mountains. I want to share this amazing experience with as many children as I can."
The week after he spoke with us so energetically, Stone won first place in one of the big races in Hong Kong - The North Face 100 Hong Kong (100km). It was unseasonably hot and humid, and most runners suffered badly and many gave up. Stone also had cramps and other unexpected problems and lost several positions when he had to start walking just 40km into the race.....but he stayed positive and slowly worked his way back in contention, only to miraculously take the lead in the last 20km and never looked back.