Dec 2023 - Join Derek Kwik, the pioneer adventurer from Hong Kong, as he takes you on a captivating journey through Cambodia—two distinct adventures, a decade apart.
Derek is a seasoned ultra-endurance competitor with 20 ultramarathons under his belt. He is a GlobalLimits Heritage Runner and has completed Cambodia 2012, Sri Lanka 2015, Bhutan 2016, Albania 2019 and Cambodia 2023.
Ten years apart, two GlobalLimits Cambodian journeys unfolded for me for 2012 and 2023. While mostly the same course, both races were two totally different beasts thanks to Mother Nature….In 2012, we were slogging through a monsoon-drenched jungle, rivers of mud sucking at our soles like angry leeches…Every step was a gamble not to slip and fall, but at least the cool downpours kept the heat at bay. This year, the Sun gods blasted down and turned open fields into dry saunas. The jungle trails used to be packed dirt paths but now they were tractor-trashed nightmares of soft, clingy muck that would steal your shoes if you stopped for a selfie.
The real finish line of this race is not the finish line banner at the end, but the smiles beaming from the Cambodian villagers lining the dusty trail. Their wide-eyed curiosity from 2012 had blossomed into joyous cheers of "Hello!" and familiar high fives as we ran by. These were not just polite greetings, but bursts of genuine warm smiles that radiated across the cultural divide. GlobalLimits is a humbling reminder that this race isn't just about pushing physical limits, but about building bridges of connection with the local community. In those smiles, I saw reflected the true legacy of the GlobalLimits event – forging a shared human experience that transcends borders and languages. It was a powerful lesson that sometimes, the most rewarding victories are measured not in podium finishes, but in the hearts we touch along the way.
My own rhythm had shifted too. Age and experience had reshuffled my priorities. That youthful ambition of running faster than others was replaced by the savoring of the journey. The pandemic threw a wrench in everyone's training groove. Travel restrictions, long quarantines, and endless loops around the park, was enough to turn any athlete into a couch potato. I had to make a choice - evolve into a fat old man or stay a fit old man. I chose the latter, doing 500 push-ups 3X's a week, running with a mask and taking out my pandemic frustrations by choking my fellow teammates in jiujitsu class.
By 2035, I envision a GlobalLimits adventure, but this time with a new pack – my three kids. They may not yet appreciate the joys of slogging thru mud, but the Global Limits spirit is something I intend to pass down, one sunbaked trail at a time. We will conquer that 220km, 6-day ace together, building memories as precious as any finish line banner.