Race report: Tsaigu Tangsi Plus

The 2015 (Inaugural) Tsaigu Tangsi Plus 57km Trail Race was held on 11th, Apr, 2015 at Mountain Kuocang Shan in Linhai, Zhejiang Province, China. It is the first in the four “Asia Trail Master” races in Mainland China and one of the 22 ATM races in the whole Asia along with UTHK (Hongkong), TMBT 100km(Malaysia), Vietnam Mountain Marathon(Vietnam) and so on.

By Xiaozhao Zhao

Click for Chinese language report

 Mountain Kuocang Shan is famous for its beautiful natural scenery and steepness, its highest peak-the Mishailang is also the highest point of southeast of Zhejiang and regarded as the first place in China under the sunlight in 21st century.

 Mountain Kuocang Shan is well-known for its tea plants and rich in wild bamboos. The rugged stones and clear creeks are also common in this area, plus almost 100% of blue sky which is rare in other area of the Eastern China under industrialization and urbanization.

Approximately 274 runners from all-over China, Belgium, Greece and Brazil took part in the race. 163 among them (144 males and 19 females) were in the 57km category and the rest (67 males and 44 females) in the 28km category. The total elevation gains are 3850m and 1850m respectively.

The race started at 6 AM at the foot of the stronghold built in Qing Dynasty in downtown but the route quickly switches into trails leading to the Mountain Kuocang Shan covered by dense bamboos, trees and bushes. All the runners were happy to indulge themselves into the amazing wild with a little adventure and exploration on their own feet.

The 2015 Vibram HK100 winner and current course-record holder Longfei YAN led the race all the way to the finish, in CP2, he created a gap with the second place for about 20 minutes, while at the finish, 90 minutes faster than the runner-up, Zhangrong XIE from Winzhou. Zipeng FENG was the 3rd male.

Top 3 males:

1 Lonfei YAN-6hrs 43mins

2 Zhangrong XIE-8hrs 27min

3 Zipeng FENG-8hrs 52min

Longfei was a professional marathoner from Heibei province with personal best marathon time of 2 hrs 15mins. In 2014, he switched from road marathon to trail ultras and won the Dalian Ultra 100km in his debut and has begun his career as one of the best ultra-trail runner in Mainland China. ”I am happy today, beautiful natural view, good organizing and hospitable locals make a race and my effort worth it well. So I finish as fast as I could and use the Tsaigu Tangsi as training to a 100km race in Australia in summer. I may come to run again next year. Compared with road marathon, I love trail running more.”

Belgian Nooureddine Sahibi is a manager in a electronic company based in Shanghai. He is also addict to ultra-trail running and finished UTMB and UTMF in 2014. He also ran several ultra-trail race in China, including Vibram HK100 (13hrs 13mins, 2013), HZ100 (19hrs 24mins in 2014) and Lantau 100 (17hrs in 2013). He finished as the 5th male and 5th overall and played and chattered with the locals, volunteers and children at the finish. “I like running in China, you see, lots of friendly people out there, runners, volunteers, locals, I like hanging out with them before and after races. This time, I enjoyed a tough but lovely race again! For a totally new race, I cannot image so excellent organization.”

 In women’s field, although the most ferocious Chinese runners like Junyan LIU, Qian ZHANG and Li DONG were absent, the race is still full of uncertainty. Junfang TAO was followed by Ai CHENG until halfway, then CHENG successfully made up the gap and caught up with TAO gradually. Finally, CHENG reached the finish 30mins earlier than TAO and won the race. TAO got the second place. Danyang LI finished the 3rd. CHENG completed 2015 Vibram HK100 with in 16hr and she is considered as one of the competitive female ultra-runner in Mainland China.

Top 3 females

1 Ai CHENG-10hrs 28mins (14th overall)

2 Junfang TAO-11hrs 12mins

3 Danyang LI-11hrs 45min

 Finally, 114 runners (105 males and 9 females) finished 57km in its 15 hours limitation, while 92 runners (57 males and 35 females) finished 28km during its maximum time of 7 hours.

 The Race director, Yu CAI thought that the race is a success, “We have so many kind and warm-hearted volunteers from Linhai Mountaineering Association, a grass-root organization consisting of local hikers and runners. They are familiar with the runners’ need during the race. I also appreciate the sponsors who support our race. I think that joining ATM series is an effective way to promote our race in Asia area and even the international trail running community. The improvement might be asking the locals to keep eyes on their dogs in order to keep the runners safe. At the very beginning, I almost designed a 78km loop course, but cancelled the last 20 km because it is all boring road running and might be in the traffic.” CAI is an experienced trail runner with UTMB and UTMF finishing in recent years.

 Volunteers seriously devoted themselves to their work and also were happy in helping runners. In CP2, a father and his child worked as volunteers to distribute the food and timing. The father said, this is a good chance to let his boy know the meaning of helping and giving, as well as respecting the nature. Many volunteers used their own cars or SUVs to serving the race. 2 of the 6 checkpoints offered hot meal with local flavor. Not far from the finish, several volunteers use the kitchen of a household to cook delicious porridge and fried bamboo shoots for runners reaching the finish.

Where does the name Tsaigu Tangsi Plus come from?

*Origin of the name “Tsaigu Tangsi” -- it is from a local slang in Linhai, it means “beat somebody black and blue with a wood stick”. CAI and his fellow volunteers use it to describe the challenge and difficulty of the race as a humorous joke.

Picture material of Tsaigu Tangsi Plus is available on our instagram account, and later this week a selection of high quality photos will be added to our pinterest page.