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Aussie duo in brolly run to support HK pro-democracy protests

The New Paper | Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

A handout photo taken and released on October 29, 2014 shows John Ellis (R) and Andrew Dawson at the start of their ultramarathon.

Two Hong Kong expatriates yesterday completed a 102km ultramarathon run in the shape of a giant umbrella in support of the pro-democracy protests.

The pair ran for more than 15 hours on a path that took them from the city's mountainous country trails to finish at the main protest site opposite government headquarters.

Australians John Ellis and Andrew Dawson, both seasoned ultramarathon runners, said they wanted to express solidarity with those camped out on the streets demanding full democracy for the former British colony.

"We deliberately wanted to make it long because it's symbolic of what we think will probably be a fairly long struggle ahead," Mr Ellis, 36, who works in investment, told AFP hours before the pair began their run at 4am.

The protests have been dubbed the Umbrella Movement, following the creative ways demonstrators have used umbrellas to shelter from the heat, torrential rain, tear gas, pepper spray and police batons.

The duo wanted to find a route that would look like the protest movement's symbol if superimposed on a map of the city.

They said they would be helped by friends along the route, which will climb nearly 3,000m.

The run began in Hong Kong's New Territories, a hilly rural region close to the mainland and far from the concrete jungle that Hong Kong is better known for.

It then went on a loop of the outlying New Territories before turning south towards Kowloon district and then across the harbour to Hong Kong Island.

FACEBOOK

By 4pm yesterday, the duo had hoped to make it to the first protest camp in the Mongkok area before ending their run at the main protest site in Admiralty, opposite the government headquarters some three hours later.

Shortly after 3pm, Mr Ellis posted a picture on Facebook of his GPS watch showing that the pair had run 74.3km so far and were around two hours behind schedule.

"This is where it gets tough. The legs hurt, your feet scream and your brain starts trying to negotiate with yourself," he wrote.

At about 9.30pm, an update on the race's Facebook page announced that the race was finally completed.

On the Twitter page @UmbrellaUltra, one follower posted a picture of Mr Ellis and Mr Dawson, with the caption: "DONE! Woo-hoo!!! Bravo!"


This article was first published on October 30, 2014.
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