Brighton is located on the south coast of England, adjacent to the English Channel, and is about 130 kilometers from London. A train journey takes about one and a half hours. It's one of the UK's coastal holiday destinations. In April of this year, Harry Loasby challenged himself by running from Brighton along the old railway, Down's Link, through Guildford to London's Waterloo Bridge in the city center. The entire distance is 130 kilometers, marking Harry's longest run ever. This wasn't just a personal challenge; it was also a mission to raise funds for two organizations in Hong Kong and the UK.
A Story of Harry Loasby, A Hong Konger with British-Japanese Heritage
In the Hong Kong athletics community, the name Hideo Harry Loasby might ring a bell. A foreigner who only speaks English, he is also known as "Hero Harry" in Japanese. Harry's father is British, and his mother is of Japanese descent. Although Harry doesn't speak Cantonese, he was born and raised in Hong Kong, and the memories of him rushing to school with a boat bag are still vivid. Harry has competed with many of Hong Kong's top long-distance runners over the years and currently holds two Hong Kong records: a 3000-meter time of 8:40.38 set in the USA in 2018, and a U20 1500-meter record of 3:57.86 set in 2015. Harry now lives in Mui Wo on Lantau Island and has fallen in love with Hong Kong's trails. Besides the track, he has also been active on the trails, setting the "Fastest Known Time (FKT)" for the Lantau Trail in 2021 with a time of 7 hours and 53 minutes for 67 kilometers, climbing over 4000 meters.
Down’s Link: A Green Walkway Transformed from a Railway Line
The challenge began in Brighton, with the first half following Down's Link to Guildford, then heading north to Waterloo Bridge in London's city center. Down's Link is a green walkway about 37 miles (approximately 59 kilometers) long, connecting the South Downs with the North Downs in southern England. The trail was originally a railway line but was transformed into a walking and cycling path after its closure in 1966. Starting from Brighton, the route follows the original railway tracks, offering views of the English countryside, including lakes, forests, and historic villages. A highlight is the ancient castle ruins at Bramber. Major towns and cities along Down's Link include Shoreham-by-Sea, Southwater, Rudgwick, and Guildford. After Guildford, the latter part follows the Thames River to London Waterloo, passing through Walton, Teddington, Putney, and by the London Eye, ending at Waterloo Bridge.
A 130-km Journey with Pizza and Cough Syrup as Supplies
On the eve of the challenge, Harry unfortunately caught a cold, and his incessant coughing led to a lack of sleep. Nevertheless, he started his challenge at six in the morning at Brighton Pier, as planned. Accompanied by his crew and pacer, Harry endured several unexpected twists and turns, including losing his Airtag for guiding his support team, and worsening cough. Cough syrup became an essential supply, though it didn't improve his condition. His support team’s creativity with a specially made "Hawaiian Pizza" with pineapple revitalized him, despite local restaurants’ refusal to put pineapple on the pizza. The final 15 kilometers from Putney to London tested Harry's will the most, with each kilometer feeling longer than the last. Fortunately, friends and his girlfriend Erin were there to support him, and the final arrival at Waterloo Bridge was the most memorable:
"The promenade was crowded but the end was in sight, literally, as I could see Waterloo Bridge. I heard Big Ben ring as the clocks hit 9pm, we ran under the London Eye dodging tourists, and it was quite the feeling. I had just gone from Brighton to London on my own two feet, from sunrise to sunset, through mud, country roads, and beautiful parks and promenades. What an unbelievable adventure. England really is a beautiful country. And having Erin by my side for the last 80 (EIGHTY!) km was very special."
Harry finished the 130-km journey from Brighton to London Waterloo in 14 hours and 45 minutes, running from sunrise to sunset through mud, country roads, parks, riverbanks, and bustling city streets, completing an incredible journey.
Harry: “So, how hard can it be? Very. But it is SO worth it. Get out there and chase your limits with the people you love. There's nothing quite like it.”
About Harbour Sports Club
Harbour Sports Club was founded by a group of Hong Kong immigrants to the UK in 2022. It regularly hosts various sports activities with the aim of connecting new immigrants and integrating them into the community through sports, improving their physical and mental health.
Harbour Athletic Club is a branch of Harbour Sports Club and is the first running club established by Hong Kong immigrants in the UK and affiliated with England Athletics.
從 Brighton 跑到 London：130 公里的挑戰
Brighton 位於英格蘭南部，毗鄰英鄰海峽，離倫敦約130 公里，搭火車需時一個半小時左右，是英國其中一個沿海的渡假勝地。Harry Loasby 於今年四月，便挑戰自己，一次過由 Brighton，沿著舊時的鐵路 Down’s Link，經過 Guildford，一口氣跑到 London 市中心的 Waterloo Bridge，全長 130 公里，是 Harry 有史以來最長的距離。這次並非單純為了挑戰自己，還肩負了重要的使命：分別為在香港及英國的兩個機構籌款。
Harry Loasby 一個英日血統的香港人故事
在香港田徑界或許會聽過 Hideo Harry Loasby 這個名字，一個只會說英語的外國人，卻有一個日文名字「英雄ハリー」（ Hero Harry）。Harry 的爸爸是一名英國人，而媽媽則是日裔，作為英日混血兒，擁有一個日文名字便順理成章了。雖然 Harry 不諳廣東話，但他卻是土生土長的香港人，小時候背著船包趕車趕船上學的畫面仍然歷歷在目。Harry曾活躍於香港田徑界，與多名香港長跑名將交鋒多年，Harry 現時仍然保持了兩項香港紀錄，分別是在2018 年於美國所創下 8:40.38 的 3000米紀錄及2015 年所創下的 U20 1500米3:57.86 的青年紀錄。Harry 現居於大嶼山梅窩，並愛上香港的山徑，除了田徑場外，Harry 亦活躍於山徑之間，於 2021 年創下鳯凰徑的「已知最快時間 Fastest Known Time (FKT)」，以 7小時 53 分完成 67 公里，攀升超過 4000 米的鳯凰徑。
一個英國人生於香港，與移英港人居於英國，同樣活在不同的文化、語言、氛圍之中，有著自身的經歷Harry 明白箇中的困難，便加入 Harbour Sports Club (HSC)，擔任旗下跑會 Harbour Athletic Club 主席，而這次 130 公里的挑戰便是 Harry 自發用自己雙腳去為 HSC 及 RUN HK 籌款。 130 公里的距離是 Harry 從來未踏足過的領域，在完成 Reading 半馬拉松後，便落力準備這場挑戰。
這次的挑戰由 Brighton 開始，首半沿著Down’s Link 到達 Guildford，然後一直向北直抵倫敦市中心 Waterloo Bridge。Down’s Link 是一條長約37英里（大約59公里），位於英國南部的綠色步道，連接南 Downs 和北 Downs。這條步道原本是一條鐵路線，但在1966年關閉後被改造成步行和自行車道。從Brighton開始，路線沿著原始的鐵路軌道穿越，沿途可以看到英國鄉村的風景，包括湖泊、森林和歷史悠久的村莊。其中一個亮點位於Bramber的古老城堡遺址。Down's Link途經的主要城市和鎮包括Shoreham-by-Sea、Southwater、Rudgwick 和 Guildford等。經過 Guildford 後，後半段便沿著泰晤士河前往倫敦 Waterloo，途經 Walton、Teddington、Putney最後經過倫敦地標 London Eye，抵達目的地 Waterloo Bridge。
Pizza 與咳藥水作補給品的 130 公里
挑戰前夕，Harry 不幸患上傷風，不停咳嗽使他睡眠不足，照原定計劃於早上六點在 Brighton 碼頭開始他的挑戰。Harry 安排了他的車隊和陪跑員，陪伴他跑過這 130公里。途中經歷了許多意料之外的變化，遺失了給予車隊位置指示的Airtag，而他的咳嗽亦逐漸嚴重起來，咳藥水便成為了 Harry 途中的重要補給品。但情況沒有好轉，到了 80 公里後狀態急跌，後來甚至失聲，咳喇時喉嚨彷如被刀割一樣疼痛。咳藥水沒有令 Harry 的狀態變好，但帶有菠蘿的「夏威夷 Pizza」則有神效。Harry 的支援隊伍得知他的喜好，即使附近的餐廳拒絕將菠蘿放在Pizza之上，仍然別出心裁地為他特意炮製一個「夏威夷 Pizza」令他的狀態起死回生。 最後由 Putney 到倫敦的 15 公里則最考驗 Harry 的意志，彷如永無休止的距離，每一公里都比上一公里更長，是 Harry 首次產生對跑步嫌倦的情緒，幸好他身邊有一班好友及女友 Erin 陪跑，最終抵達 Waterloo Bridge 的過程最為深刻：
「The promenade was crowded but the end was in sight, literally, as I could see Waterloo Bridge. I heard Big Ben ring as the clocks hit 9pm, we ran under the London Eye dodging tourists, and it was quite the feeling. I had just gone from Brighton to London on my own two feet, from sunrise to sunset, through mud, country roads, and beautiful parks and promenades. What an unbelievable adventure. England really is a beautiful country. And having Erin by my side for the last 80 (EIGHTY!) km was very special.」
最後 Harry 以14小時 45 分的時間完成由 Brighton 跑到 London Waterloo 的 130 公里路程，由日出跑到日落，途經泥濘、小路、公園、河伴到鬧市，完成了一個不可思議的旅程。
Harry：“So, how hard can it be? Very. But it is SO worth it. Get out there and chase your limits with the people you love. There's nothing quite like it.”
Harbour Sports Club 海港體育會簡介
Harbour Sports Club 由一班移英港人於 2022 年成立，定期舉辦不同類型的體育活動，目的在於以運動連繫新移民並融入社區，透過運動去改善新移民生理及心理健康。
Harbour Athletic Club 則是 Harbour Sports Club 旗下的一個分支，第一個由移英港人成立並成為英格蘭田徑總會屬會的跑會。HSC 於 2023 年一至四月為居住在 Reading 的港人準備了一個為期十一星期的半馬訓練課程，由 Harry Loasby 擔任主教練，並於 Reading Half Marathon 當天落場參與比賽。