Posts tagged 2016
Brunei's Beach Bunch Trail Challenge goes Ultra

Brunei's Beach Bunch Trail Challenge is one of those new events in 2016 that caught the eye of plenty a trail runner in Asia. Brunei as a new destination for runners, but the race itself as it had a 50% DNF quote despite "only" being of 42k marathon length. For once, the term "challenge" in the event's title was not just randomly added. The race was a test of running abiility, but arguably even more so of mental resilience and even tactical choice of running gear.  While the forest section in the first half of the course definitely was made for hardcore trail shoes, this type of footwear sank people's feet deep into the loose beach sand in the second half, draining their legs. Significantly, a pure road runner won the men's race: Sefli Ahar, a former winner of the Hong Kong Half Marathon, pushed Isaac Yuen Wan Ho into second place. 

In 2017 the Beach Bunch Trail Challenge goes ultra with the main races over 100 km and 50 km. There is also a 30 km distance for beginners. The tale of the trail reveals that elevation gain is limited to 1830 hm on the 100 km, and a mere 570 hm on the 50 km, so lovers of runnable courses should still mark this race red hot in their calendars. In terms of points for the Asia Trail Master championship, special conditions will apply to this event. On both the 100 and the 50 km races the winner will pocket 400 performance points. The difference will be, logically, in the finisher points, whereby 100k finishers score the usual 100 and the 50k finishers 50 points. As such, the winner of the 100k will have a 50-point-advantage over the winner of the 50k, but in the grand scheme of things (in 2017 each runner's best five results count for the final ranking at the end of the year) the difference might be neglible. 

Running along the beach is of course an important part of the race: mind your choice of shoe! 

Running along the beach is of course an important part of the race: mind your choice of shoe! 

Rizan Latif, organiser of the Beach Bunch Trail Challenge, is looking forward to seeing the protagonists of his 2016 race and of the Asia Trail Master championship come to Brunei on 25-26 February, for what will effectively be the first ever ultra trail distance in the country on Borneo island. 

Registration is open until 6 January 2017, but it is advised not to wait till last-minute as slots do fill up quickly. 

But it is not all beach neither: the forest section was determinant in 2016! 

But it is not all beach neither: the forest section was determinant in 2016! 

Bandar Seri Begawan also catches the eye from a tourism point of view

Bandar Seri Begawan also catches the eye from a tourism point of view

2017 Preview - 3rd Tengri Ultra Trail in Kazakhstan

The 3rd edition of the cult race Tengri Ultra Trail near Almaty in Kazakhstan is scheduled for 7 May 2017 and will again be a points race in the Asia Trail Master series. With 70km as main distance, the race is also on the agenda for runners who are on the Grandmaster Quest. Less ambitious runners can again aim for 35k or 15k as well. Tengri Ultra Trail is a true outdoor event, with compulsory camping alongside the Ili River given the remoteness of the area approximately 110km from Almaty, the economic centre of Kazakhstan and main international gateway. The venue, Tamgaly Tas, is actually on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its ancient cave paintings. 

Race director Timur Artyukin is happy with how the 2016 edition went and is keeping the race courses for next year more or less as they are. That means a good mix of flat parts with hills, grassland and canyons. Should it rain in the days before, you may also get your feet wet in a few narrow river crossings. Otherwise this is a trail race that can be negotiated by beginning runners as well. Still the only ultra distance trail in the country, TUT gets a lot of local media exposure and is welcoming international participation. The 2017 registrations will open already soon. 

Please see this year's cover page for more information. 

Preliminary 2017 Asia Trail Master calendar

* more races will be added in due course

14/01/17 - Thailand - The Dirt Track
22/01/17 - Indonesia - Tahura Trail
29/01/17 - Philippines - Rizal Mountain Run
17-18/02/17 - Thailand - UT Unseen Koh Chang - SUPERTRAIL
25-26/02/17 - Brunei - Beach Bunch Trail Challenge
04-05/03/17 - Philippines - Cordillera Mountain Ultra
23/04/17 - South Korea - Korea 50k
24/04/17 - Nepal - Ultra-Trail Nepal - Run for Recovery
07/05/17 - Kazakhstan - Tengri Ultra Trail

Close racing and many happy faces at CMU!

The Cordillera Mountain Ultra, follow-up to the Marathon organised in previous years, did not miss its debut in Dalupirip, Itogon yesterday. The first Filipino points race in the 2016 Asia Trail Master series saw a very close battle for victory in the men's 50k race, and drama in the women's. On the top step of the podium stood Marcelino Sano-Oy and Gretchen Felipe as the day's champions. Runners and spectators spoke of a truly well-organised event with a fantastic running course, which made the journey to the remote area very much worthwhile. "CMU was publicity for the sport of trail running," one happy finisher said afterwards. 

Marcelino Sano-Oy

Marcelino Sano-Oy

Gretchen Felipe

Gretchen Felipe

The race started at 4 a.m. just before dawn, and runners only had a few kilometers to warm-up as the ascent of Mount Ugo began quickly. Marcelino Sano-Oy, a 26-year-old local runner, had already taken the lead, but was closely followed by the experienced Alison Telias. Sano-Oy is a previous winner of the Cordillera Mountain Marathon and knew the terrain very well. Yet, Telias kept chasing him and was at times less than a minute behind. In the descent of Mt Ugo the pressure seemed to be getting to Sano-Oy, as he had to stop and stretch to stop the cramps he started to suffer from. Telias caught up and passed him, but eventually Sano-Oy fought back in the late stages of the race and reclaimed first spot! At the finish, Sano-Oy took the victory with a 3-minute gap over Al Telias in 6:06:36. In a join third place were teammates Aldean Philip Lim and Eric Gueb in 7:05:19. One of the pre-race favourites, Thumbie Remigio, injured himself during the vertical kilometre race on Saturday, and opted to run the 21km instead. The shorter race was won by Roland Wang. 

The women's 50k race had a rather unexpected outcome as big favourite Majo Liao sprained her ankle in the early part of the race. Liao could not react to her challengers as for most of the rest of the race she could only walk and not run. Showing a high degree of mental strength, Liao nevertheless continued and finished ... even on the podium! These could be important points for her in the ATMs ranking later this year.  The race was won by Gretchen Felipe in 7:25:58, which is a strong result as well for the experienced runner. Next to Felipe on the podium in second place was Penny Nepomuceno (7:53:59). 

As part of the podium prize package, both Marcelino Sano-Oy and Gretchen Felipe have received free race entries for the Magnificent Merapoh Trail in Malaysia. 

Koi Grey

Koi Grey

Race preview - Cordillera Mountain Ultra

This Sunday's Cordillera Mountain Ultra is the first race for Asia Trail Master championship points in the Philippines this year. The 50km main event takes place on and around Mount Ugo in the vicinity of regional centre Baguio, and is organised to the benefit of environmental NGO Cordillera Conservation Trust. While current points leader Manolito Divina is still allowing his body to recover from the Malaysia Eco 100, several other strong Filipino runners will be starting this weekend. Among those is Majo Liao in the women's, who is the double winner of CM 50 Ultra, the Philippines' SuperTrail race at the end of November. Liao is expected to be one of the protagonists for the women's championship as the season develops. Quite a few women in the start list for CMU, though, so one never knows if someone causes an upset on race day. 

In the men's we have an open race on paper. Local area experience may boost chances of Thumbie Remigio, who earlier this week spoke of the challenge of climbing Mt Ugo the way they do in CMU, and Alison Telias. Jonel Mendoza and MTB champion Arnold Lozano are others to watch out for, along with a contingent of foreign runners. 

CMU follows the Cordillera Mountain Marathon that was organised last year. While Mount Ugo dominates the race profile, fast climbers will need to ensure to keep something in reserve for the final 8 km to the finish in Dalupirit. The start of the race is scheduled for 4:30 a.m. and as usual we will be reporting live on social media, subject to available connectivity. 

All runners are also encouraged to support the work of the Cordillera Conservation Trust. Every small donation counts, and, in any case, the local coffee is excellent!

Mount Ugo in CMU this Sunday

Mount Ugo in CMU this Sunday

Runners will need to cross a few bridges this weekend

Runners will need to cross a few bridges this weekend

Majo Liao is a big race favourite in the women's 50k. 

Majo Liao is a big race favourite in the women's 50k. 

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Report - Meirman and Nadymov win Tengri Uktra 70

The 2nd edition of the Tengri Ultra Trail in Tamgaly Tas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Almaty in Kazakhstan, was won by Egor Nadymov in the men's and Akmaral Meirman in the women's. Runners and organisers were very satisfied with the weekend in the remote grassland and canyon area, although runners said the long distance of 70km was much harder than last year's 55km. 

Akmaral Meirman also won this race last year. Nadymov, and runner's up Bahtiyar Kasenov and Anatoliy Korepanov moved up the ranking after two strong Russian runners from Krasnoyarsk, Sergey Donets and Yuri Shtankov were disqualified for missing a mandatory checkpoint.

 

More details and photos of the event are coming soon. 

Xu Xiutao & Yukari Fukuda impressive winners in Korea 50k
finish xu.jpg

He was the pre-race favourite, and he delivered in style. Xu Xiutao is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Asia' s trail running scene, as the runner from Beijing scored an impressive victory in yesterdays Korea 50k event. It was the fifth race in this year's Asia Trail Master series and already the second one for Xu Xiutao,  after he came home second in UTHK 100 last February. His Korean points haul - 500 - lifts him to second place in the current ATMs championship ranking behind Hong Kong's Isaac Yuen Wan Ho. 

It was the second edition of Korea 50k, an event marked by a boom in registrations with plenty of international athletes making the trip to the outkirts of Seoul. It was a warm day under a bright blue sky, but the runners had a tough one as the 59km race covered well over 3000 metres of elevation gain, an increase that not everybody felt was necessary, which is similar to comments received in last week's 50 miles race in Linhai, China. Perhaps something for race organisers to reflect upon. Yesterday there were plenty of DNFs as a result. Luckily, the technical organisation by the local RunXRun team was excellent, and runners could enjoy a beer and a tasty local snack after the finish in the sports stadium of Dongducheon. 

Simjae Duk was a bit disappointed with 2nd place this year. 

Simjae Duk was a bit disappointed with 2nd place this year. 

It was chilly at 4:30 a.m. for the start of the race, but the runners were soon warmed up as outside the stadium was already the first steep climb up. The strongest group of runners immediately opened up a gap. Local stars Simjae Duk, last year's winner, and Nohui Seong had to accept the company of China's Xu Xiutao, who kept the pressure on them. Close behind was Hong Kong-based Frenchman Clement Dumont, whose consistent pace would earn him a third spot on the podium as Seong faded in the last ten kilometers. The victory was contested between Simjae Duk and Xu Xiutao, and eventually the youngest had the edge and even pulled away still by 8 minutes in the final section. Xu Xiutao crossed the finish line in 7:11:02 with the Chinese flag around him. Another Hong Kong-based European, Paul Ridley from Great Britain, completed the top five and of all the top guys looked like he could still do another lap. 

Podium of the men's 59km race

Podium of the men's 59km race

In the women's race, Japan's Yukari Fukuda repeated  her victory from last year in 8:19:50. She was over an hour ahead of second and third place runners Janet Ng (Hong Kong) and Sung Hee Lee (Korea), who swapped places in the final climb of the race. 

The next race in the Asia Trail Master series takes place on 8 May in Tamgaly Tas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Kazakhstan. 

Podium of the women's 59 km race. 

Podium of the women's 59 km race. 

Preview: Korea 50k underscores growing scene in Korea

The next points-scoring race in the 2016 Asia Trail Master series takes place in a new destination, namely South Korea. Not far from capital city, Seoul, Sunday's Korea 50k event in Dongducheon (DDC) proves the growth of trail running in yet another country with hundreds of runners registered for the race. The event will be a significant spectacle with plenty of media and international charity partner Operation Smile present as well. There is a high number of international runners, so it will certainly be an interesting race. 

Race organiser Jesse Yoo has been in trail running before most people even knew it existed. The first edition of Korea 50k last year was a success, and it encouraged him and his team to take things to the next level and increase international engagement. Other than a race for the national championship, Korea 50k is also the first ever Korean race in the Asia Trail Master series. It won't be the only one, with UT Mount Jiri and a third race in the pipeline for later in autumn this year.

The event is easily accessible from Seoul by subway, and there's plenty of hotel choices available in DDC as well. The race course is tough with 3100m of elevation gain to be conquered, but the length is reasonable with 59 km in total. A compact challenge in other words. 

All finishers on the 59km race will score 100 finisher points for the Asia Trail Master championship, and added to that are of course each runner's performance points on the basis of his ranking in the result list. 

Important in this event is the support any runner can  give to the cause of charity partner Operation Smile. The US-headquartered cause is omnipresent in Asia as well, and treats less privileged children to life-changing surgeries for cleft lip and palate conditions. Each participant in Korea 50k can help to make a big difference in life quality for these young children, and we as promoters of the event and managers of the Asia Trail Master series encourage everyone to take this into consideration when collecting your race number bib on Saturday.  Please see more information about how you can assist below and by going to the OS Korean website

 This weekend we will be reporting live from the scene, starting on Saturday afternoon with the press conference, and then of course before, during and after the race via our social media channels. 

Xu Xiatou starts as one the race favourites in Korea after his strong showing in UTHK 100. 

Xu Xiatou starts as one the race favourites in Korea after his strong showing in UTHK 100. 

TT plus: Ma Yanxing wins again as Hua Zhaohong steals hearts

The TTP (Tsaigu Tangsi Plus) is the 4th race in the calendar of the 2016 Asia Trail Master series, and the event was also chosen as China's SuperTrail race. All 82 km (50 miles) and 60 km finishers score points for the ATM championship ranking.

By Xiaozhao Zhao in Linhai

Held at Mount Kuocang of Linhai County in Zhejiang Province, starting at 0600 am, the 2016 TTP is an upgraded version of the 2015 event. The biggest change is the introduction of a 82km category with a total ascent of close to 6000hm,  traversing technical natural terrain along the ridges and in the forests, making it the toughest 50 Miler in China, and perhaps the most beautiful one with significant historic background as well.

Linhai is famous for its geographic and natural views filled with historic stories. It sits in the hilly Southeastern coastline with seasoned winds from Pacific from spring to autumn, which make its weather and climate great for outdoor activities, as in addition there is almost zero heavy industry around. No wonder Linhai is also a tourist resort.

The Rice & Wave Peak (1300 m from the sea level), the highest point of Eastern Zhejiang Province, as well as the first place to receive sunlight in the 21st century is included in the running course of TTP.  The race starts and finishes at sea level, though.

There are very thick plants in this area, such as bamboos and other sub-tropic species. The effect of seasoned winds brings sufficient precipitation. So there are crystal creeks running in the mountain through rocks with various shapes. In the mornings with sunshine followed a humid day, the peaks and ridge lines emerge from the clouds and through the fog, like rocks in the ebb tide in the sea.

In Chinese history, Linhai is one of the main arenas of early marine culture and of more powerful central authority (power of emperor) based on an agricultural society, which originated many hundreds of years ago during Ming and Qing dynasties. The overseas trade with Japan, Southeast Asia and even Arab countries made the merchants very rich and some of them owned a private armed force. The race starts from a stronghold built in the Ming dynasty and boasted as one of the most integrated ancient coastal fortresses in China. 

The route of 62km category is based on the 57km’s which was the longest in 2015. At the last 7km, runners haves to run through a very zig-zag steep and technical downslope with sands and blade-like rocks from the top of Rice & Wave to the sea level in the distance of 7 km after passing a power facility full of windmills. In a sunny day like the 2015 race day, many pictures of running by the windmills were widely spread in social media.

There is a less- competitive 30km entry-level group as well.

Race director is Yu Tsai (Kein), a local runner who finished UTMB and UTMF. His target is to make the race challenging with as many natural elements as possible along the route. The most difficult thing in preparation is to to do plenty of recce and set a one-direction route with more than 90% natural trail. He also insists all runners understand and take the rules on mandatory gears seriously in case of sudden change of weather at in the mountain.

Last weekend's race was held with moderate rainfall at times. It made the race even more challenging with natural mystique. Despite of the increased risks of stepping upon slippery rocks, runners were generally happy to experience the amazing view of Fog & Rain, which is described as a symbol of romanticism in many poems and novels in ancient China.  The course was well-marked so people did not have to worry about getting lost. You could see farmers working in the tea garden in traditional ways, rain drops falling down from pink flowers, the youngest untouched bamboo shooting out of the soil, the moss covering the rocks and even some thunder roaring on the horizon. Deep in the forest, you can even listen to the minimalistic sound of the bushes whipping slightly on your skin when you pass by close to them.

Friendship and community atmosphere is also a feature of the TTP besides its unique natural environment and good organization. This year, the number of international runners increased a lot. There were Swedish girls working in Hebei province and Shanghai, British tough nuts from Hong Kong, mid-aged Greek and German gentlemen from Jiangsu province along with a handsome Singaporean, plus a muscular Belgium manager working in Shanghai who can speak proficient Chinese. For the Chinese runners with jobs related to foreign languages,  there was no better chance to practice speaking skills! What’s more, in some dangerous situations like passing the running creeks among steep and slippery rocks, running pals in need will become life-time friends indeed.

Although Yan Longfei did not participate due to injury, another Chinese running star and the female champion of the 2015 Asia Trail Master series, Ma Yanxing, triumphed again on the 82km category. Ma Yanxing was in a big hurry after she finished: like most participants, the 50 miles race was tougher than expected and took a lot more time to complete, too. The only Chinese female finisher of TdG, UTMB and UTMF, Dalian's Qu Lijie and Chen Xue finished second and third in the longest women's race. As mentioned in our preview, the very tough terrain suited Qu Lijie very well as she managed to stay very close to Ma Yanxing! “In all the races I tried, the TTP has the most various kind of terrain, I like its challenge combined with the great scenery. It is a perfect combination of racing and tourism.” said Qu Lijie after the race.

According to the winner of the men's 50 miles, Hua Zhaohong, TTP is the most difficult race he has ever completed. The surprise of winning and the support from his family and friends at the finish line made it a life-long happy memory for him. Especially as he proposed to his girlfriend moments after crossing the line! Hua Zhaohong changed his gear covered by mud and dirt for a neat white shirt with the applause from everyone present on the spot. All attendants at the finish shared this sensational moment. Hua Zhaohong had a  22-minute lead over Shen Jianfeng and Dan Yongquan. The finishing time of over 14 hours proves the dificulty of the event. Noureddine Sahibi, a seasoned ultra runner and 10th in last year's Asia Trail Master series,  was among the many people who suffered their way to the finish. "Personally I prefer the 60km race distance, which I did last year. This 50 miles course was just a little too much in my opinion," he argued.  

Sahibi's view was shared by many, and the race statistics seem to prove them right as the DNF quota on the 50 miles was clearly above 50%. Within the cut off time of 21 hours, 76 (6 women) out of nearly 192 (32 women) runners managed to complete the distance. 

Top 3 male 50 miles (hh:mm):

1 Zhaohong HUA 13:44
2 Jianfeng SHEN 14:06
3 Yongquan DAN 14:14

Top 3 female 50 miles:

1 Yanxing MA 17:22
2 Lijie QU 17:28
3 Xue CHEN 18:42

Before the cut-off time at 2200, 16th, Apr, 99 (15F) out of 200 (45F) runners conquered 62km hilly course happily.

Top 3 male 62k:

1 Xiangyang LI 09:21
2 Fengrui XIANG 09:29
3 Bin XIE 09:30

Top 3 female 62k:

1 Xianglian ZHONG 12:06
2 Ying CHEN 12:35
3 Ying LIU 13:38

The men's podium of the 2016 Tsaigu Tangsi Plus 50 miles race

The men's podium of the 2016 Tsaigu Tangsi Plus 50 miles race

TT Plus preview: Yan Longfei & Ma Yanxing ones to beat

The first of many races this spring in the Asia Trail Master series is China's SuperTrail: Tsaigu Tangsi Plus in and around the mountains of Linhai in East China's Zhejiang Province was a runner's favourite last year, and all signs indicate this weekend will be no different. On the start list we find not only several hundreds of runners, but also the women's 2015 Asia Trail Master champion Ma Yanxing, and China's trail running super star of the moment, Yan Longfei. The main event is the 50 miles (82km) race, which is 25 km longer than last year. This new distance implies that all finishers also score 1 point for their Grandmaster Quest. With approx 5300 metres of elevation gain to be conquered, this race is definitely not a walk in the park and the cut off time of 24 hours could be challenging for several runners. 

Yan Longfei was unbeatable last year. Who can keep up with him on Saturday?

Yan Longfei was unbeatable last year. Who can keep up with him on Saturday?

Among significant competition of other trail races within their own region in China, the event organisers have long term plans for Tsaigu Tangsi Plus, which is commonly called TT Plus as well. To stand out as a benchmark event in China is the objective, and last year's inaugural edition certainly backed up this ambition. TT Plus is part of the Asia Trail Master series for the second year, and it says something when Yan Longfei, who won the race last year, chooses to return to Linhai instead of doing another one elsewhere. Undoubtedly, the friendly champion, whose main focus of the year of course goes beyond Asia, starts as top favourite on Saturday to win and collect 550 points for the Asia Trail Master championship, led by Isaac Yuen Wan Ho with 900 points following his two top results in Hong Kong and Brunei earlier this season.

Interestingly, on the start list this Saturday is Matthew Kennedy, the number eight in the men's ranking at the moment with 400 points.  The British ultra runner  finished sixth in UTHK 156 last February and has a theoretical chance of overtaking Yuen Wan Ho .... if he beats Yan Longfei and wins the race on Saturday. 

Ma Yanxing opens her Asia Trail Master campaign at TT Plus this Saturday

Ma Yanxing opens her Asia Trail Master campaign at TT Plus this Saturday

The women's longest race will see the first appearance of the 2015 Asia Trail Master champion this year. Ma Yanxing, from Shanghai, is a pure ultra runner who seems to gain the edge over the opposition the longer a race lasts. Ma Yanxing may need to keep an eye out on another Chinese trail running star, Qu Lijie, whom we featured in our Talking Trail Running section earlier this week. Another very strong runner from Sweden, Lynn Nyman, is also taking part this weekend, but she chose for the 62km distance race and starts as a favourite in that one. 

As Tsaigu Tangsi Plus has been selected as China's SuperTrail this year, all finishers on the 50 miles and 62km races will earn 50 bonus points for the 2016 championship ranking. To find out more details about the race, please check our event cover page

On Saturday we will be reporting live from Linhai via our social media channel on facebook, instagram, twitter and weixin, as always subject to appropriate connectivity at the event venue.  The 50 miles race begins at 6 a.m. local Beijing time. 

The mountains around Linhai in Zhejiang Province, close to Ningbo

The mountains around Linhai in Zhejiang Province, close to Ningbo

Last year event participants all gave thumbs up for TT Plus

Last year event participants all gave thumbs up for TT Plus

TT Plus preview: Qu Lijie is Talking Trail Running

Next weekend the busy spring campaign in the 2016 Asia Trail Master series begins with China's SuperTrail: Tsaigu Tangsi Plus, aka TT Plus. Host of the event is Linhai, a beautiful yet little known mountain retreat in Zhejiang Province, not too far away from big cities Hangzhou and Ningbo. It is the second edition of TT Plus, and since the beginning last year one of the key ambassadors of the race is also one of China's leading ambassadors of trail running in general. Qu Lijie, also known as Shan Hu, belongs to the first wave of Chinese trail runners who took up the sport over five years ago. Hailing from the Northeastern port city of Dalian, Qu Lijie is a familiar face on the circuit, and what she perhaps lacks in pure running speed, she makes up for in stamina and perseverance. Qu Lijie was the first Chinese woman to complete the 330k long Tor des Geants in the Alps, and last year she won the tough Translantau 100 in Hong Kong. Of course, she also has UTMB under her belt already. With TT Plus on Saturday she initiates her Grandmaster Quest in the Asia Trail Master series. High time to have a good talk with Qu Lijie.

By Xiaozhao Zhao & Kris Van de Velde

Q: You are a passionate runner, but what do you actually do for a living?

QLJ: Hi, I am a columnist, running coach and alpine mountaineering guide from Liaoning province in the Northeast of China.

Q: Was running part of your upbringing as a child and teenager?

I started running in 2009. I was a very naughty girl, who loved being in the open nature, but I never considered running as a likable sport before on the basis of sports science and the competitive regime in school. I was clumsy at physical tests, and failed in the 800 metres running several times...

Q: When and why did you decide to take part in trail running competitions?

I started ultra trail running in 2011 when I went to study in Beijing. A friend named Tai Fungin from Hong Kong encouraged me to try the TNF 100 Beijing and run it together with her. So I thought it was a good opportunity to enjoy the local nature and challenge my physical boundaries. I did not prepare for the TNF 100 race, but there were 2 things that impressed me during and after that race.

First, the trail running gear. I had never heard of compression tights before. So, in the race I wore a transparent pantyhose instead! To my surprise, we ran through bushes along the trail and those scrubbed my pantyhose into rugged pieces full of holes! It was so funny...

Then, after the race, I suffered from pain and soreness in my legs.  Even going to the toilet at home became an ordeal for me, because I had to perform a squat above the closet! And standing back up was even more painful!

Q: Do you also run road marathons? If so, what is your best time on the marathon?

I ran some marathons years ago besides trail running, but now I almost focus entirely on trail races in order to save more time to family. My personal best time on the marathon is 3:27.

Q: Do you travel a lot to do trail races, and what is your favorite destination for running?

I often travel to different places for races, either to race myself or to do my job as coach for my clients. Chamonix in France is my favorite place for running, of course the place where the UTMB starts and finishes.

Q: How much do you train? Do you have a coach or do you use a running coaching app?

I never plan any monthly mileage, I just run according to my own convenience and mood. I run when I am eager to run. A Suunto GPS watch is enough for me to track the data during training and racing. I do not use any mobile apps, but I do have a good coach myself now.

Q: Do you have a specific objective in trail running, or you just wish to run for fun? Is it easy to combine with work and family?

I have only one aim:  training must be fun and running must be with happiness and seriousness. I always thrive to balance running, working and personal life. Because I wanted more time for training and racing, I had to give up other things, such as shopping in department stores.

Q: Which is arguably not a bad thing. Do you have any sports heroes? 

I do not have any idols. really.

Q: How do you feel about trail running in China. There are so many races now almost every weekend. How do you select your races?

More races mean more runners. It is good for the boom of trail running. My decision on entering a race is determined by 2 factors:  1) the style of its race director, and 2)the challenge of the course and the natural environment..

Q: Do you see a difference between trail running in China and other countries?

There are big differences in races everywhere, as well as in culture and social atmosphere. You cannot make a simple comparison between races because every race has its own pros and cons.

Q:  In TT Plus, you will be running against the 2015 Asia Trail Master champion Ma Yanxing. Do you think you can beat her in this hilly race?

Ms Ma Yanxing is very strong. I respect her. I think as a pure runner she is better than I am.

Q: After TT Plus, the next race in China to score points for the Asia Trail Master ranking is in Wenchuan, Sichuan, on 15 May. Will you take part in that race also?

I know that will be a very interesting race, but this year I cannot make it. 

Q: Thanks to our partner Erun 360, it is now easy for Chinese runners to take part in Asia Trail Master races outside of China. Would you consider racing in e.g. Indonesia, Philippines or even Kazakhstan?

I’d like to try! I am glad to know about so many amazing races now in such beautiful places with their own unique nature and cultural background.

Q: What was your best trail running experience so far?

Training an racing on trails bring the best out of me. Each run has its own meaning and is like nature's best gift to me.

Q: Do you feel trail running races must have big mountains, or would you also do trail races that are more flat and without mountains?

For me, trail running means an event or a challenge on mountain trails, yet the elevation gain is less important than the overall feeling of happiness I get.

Q: Are you a sponsored athlete, and if yes, which brand is endorsing you?

I love Salomon.

Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest issues facing the sport of trail running in the near future? What is it you would not like to happen?

Feeling free and happy on your own feet in nature is in my view the essence to the popularity of trail running, regardless of how many people are actually running races. But I am worried about the impact of the outdoor sports industry on the environment. For example, logging trees to build a race course, or littering. But I think things will be better in the future.

Q: A final word to our readers?

No matter what sport you like, keep smiling and enjoying what you do!

We will! Good luck and we hope you enjoy the 50 miles of TT Plus this Saturday!