Posts tagged tsaigu
Tsaigu: Vadovicova also wins in rain and mud
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The 5th edition of Ultimate Tsaigu was once again made significantly harder by wet weather conditions. As if cursed, the skies opened on race day just like last year, albeit not to the extent that the event organisers got compelled to shorten and stop the race. Yet, a DNF rate of over 60% says enough, and among those were reputed ultrarunners in Asia. Many China stars flocked to Linhai in Zhejiang province for one of the country’s biggest trail events, but as previously mentioned they were spread out over three race distance categories. While the 110K was the so-called A-race, perhaps more attention went to the 80K and US star Hayden Hawks who was scheduled to compete against both Qi Min and Deng Guomin. In the women’s, we were all curious if Veronika Vadovicova could also make the technical Tsaigu look easy, in what is still the early days of her trail career.

First, on the 110K, China’s Luo Canhua, who was first on top of Mount Kuocang in extreme conditions (see videoon our facebook page), was caught by You Peiquan before CP7, but the pair then decided to stay together until the finish at the old town in Linhai. Perhaps unfortunately, there was no dual as they crossed the line in front of a big crowd in the old town together in a time of approx 14:39. Another Chinese, Zhao Jiajiu came in third with well-known Li Kuo as fourth. Liang Jing was a surprising DNF. In the morning it was very wet, foggy and cold during the 110K and 80K races. Afterwards, the persistent rain luckily stopped around noon to be replaced by consistent drizzle.

Xu Meiling was the first woman early on, but she would not make it to the finish. Experienced Zheng Liping took over and won relatively comfortably in 22:26, half an hour ahead of Qu Shangwei. Xie Wenfei completed the podium. Hong Kong's Chingling Lo was running third halfway through, but also failed to finish. French, but also based in Hong Kong and a race winner there, Habiba Benahmed was apparently really enjoying herself and finished 10th in what was essentially her come back ultra trail after an extended period of rest due to injury.

On the 80 km, American star Hayden Hawks won in splendid fashion after China’s Qi Min DNFd following a fall after CP2. That was a shocker as Qi Min was really taking the fight to Hawks. Shenzhen’s busy bee Deng Guomin inherited second but ran an excellent and smart race only some 20 minutes down on Hawks at the finish. Zhang Jiao finished third ahead of Li Kuo.

Shanghai-based Veronika Vadovicova continues to dominate the women’s races in ATM this year. She won basically unthreatened by anyone today in 12:45, proving that even extreme conditions do not necessarily slow her down. Vadovicova is the trail discovery of these early months of 2019. Thailand’s Cartoon Pratumsuwa ran a strategically smart race in a tough battle for the remaining podium places against locals Tan Rongqing, the returning Paulina Svoboda and Chen Erfen. For Chiang Mai-based “Cartoon” Wipawee, it is her first podium in an ATM race and there’s more bound to follow!

US trail star Hayden Hawks truly lived up to his international elite status and won the 80K

US trail star Hayden Hawks truly lived up to his international elite status and won the 80K

Shenzhen’s Deng Guoming in the end finished only 20 minutes behind Hawks!

Shenzhen’s Deng Guoming in the end finished only 20 minutes behind Hawks!

The Tsaigu finish line in front of the old city wall is truly impressive

The Tsaigu finish line in front of the old city wall is truly impressive

She is beginning to dominate: Veronika shows she can also win in the wet and the mud

She is beginning to dominate: Veronika shows she can also win in the wet and the mud

Fantastic second place on the 80K for Thailand’s Cartoon Wipawee

Fantastic second place on the 80K for Thailand’s Cartoon Wipawee

Paulina Svoboda aka Freedom was sick leading up to race weekend but still scored fourth place on the 80k

Paulina Svoboda aka Freedom was sick leading up to race weekend but still scored fourth place on the 80k

Habiba Benahmed really enjoyed it despite the very tough weather conditions

Habiba Benahmed really enjoyed it despite the very tough weather conditions

Tsaigu is sold out with 2000 runners at the starting line: it’s at the top of China’s trail scene

Tsaigu is sold out with 2000 runners at the starting line: it’s at the top of China’s trail scene

Tsaigu: Stellar field including Vadovicova
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This Saturday we already have the 5th edition of Ultimate Tsaigu, today one of China’s premier trail events in the mountainous forests around Linhai in the eastern province of Zheijiang. It’s a very technical and scenic natural trail that tests the reslience of participants each year again - not in the least as rain or moist can never be excluded. Almost all Chinese top trail runners and an international elite runner from the USA named Hayden Hawks are on the event start list, which reached maximum capacity of 2000 very quickly again. However, the big names are spread out over three race distance categories and won’t all be facing off against each other - something that is becoming an unfortunate trend in elite trail running, a bit similar to professional boxing. So we have Liang Jing (winner in 2018) and Luo Canhua on the 110K, Hayden Hawks, Qi Min and Deng Guomin on the 80K (arguably the most exciting race) and Yan Longfei, Jia Erenjia and Shen Jiasheng on the 50k. In the women’s, China’s new star Yao Miao is also on the 50k, along with Dong Minfei, Paulina Svoboda and Xiang Fuzhao. But Veronika Vadovicova is on the 80k, and Zheng Liping, Nicole Leung and Ching Ling Lo on the 100k - just to name a few. Let’s be honest, imagine what a race it would be if they are all in the same race distance category!

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In the context of the ATM Championship, the 110K was assigned long ago as the A-points race with 500 for the winner and the 80K as the B-race with 380 points for the winner. The 50k does not offer any points. China’s top performers are all sponsored professionals not known to travel a lot beyond their country’s borders to the rest of Asia, and traditonally do no feature much in our championship. On the other hand, more and more Asian runners are finding their way to China as Tsaigu continues to receive rave reviews. Race director Cai Yu has also always opened the doors wide open for regional athletes and the new partnership with Ultra Trail Chiang Rai - the Thailand SuperTrail in October - could foster even more exchange. There’s quite a large group of Thai runnes competing in Tsaigu this weekend, including Montha Suntornwit, winner of Ultimate Chiang Rai 230 last autumn, and Sukrit Kaewyoun, who has been doing well in our championship so far with 6th in Dalat and 2nd in Luang Prabang. A good result on the 110k can propel Sukrit into the fab five of the men’s championship standings before the break. Due to the holy month in several countries there are no points races until Vietnam Jungle Marathon on 25 May. Another one to look out for in the context of the ATM championship is Finland’s Henri Lehkonen. Coming off a great 5th place in Dalat, he is also on the 110K start list for his second points race of the season. 

Veronika Vadovicova has been the surprise of the women’s season so far. Maybe not because she has been winning - she already won the 90K of HK168 last December - but because of her sheer speed on the trails. Making the switch from triathlon, Vadovicova dominated Cordillera Mountain Ultra and Sungai Menyala Forest Trail and starts as race favourite for the 80K on Saturday as well. Tsaigu will again be new territory for her: this race is arguably the most technical of her trail career. In that context, Thailand’s Wipawee “Cartoon” Pratumsuwa could see an opportunity to upset the Shanghai-based Slovakian. Also Hong Kong’s Wai Yin Chiu could be in the mix for the podium. Xu Meiling from China will be up against three strong women from Hong Kong on the 110K longest distance. Ching Ling Lo, Nicole Leung and also former HK168 winner Habiba Benahmed. 

Stay tuned for updates of the event all day on Saturday via our social media channels!

The Thailand group for Tsaigu featuring Sukrit Kaewyoun and Montha Suntornwit

The Thailand group for Tsaigu featuring Sukrit Kaewyoun and Montha Suntornwit

Dong Minfei, winner of Penang Eco 100k in 2017, is one of many local top runners at Tsaigu this weekend

Dong Minfei, winner of Penang Eco 100k in 2017, is one of many local top runners at Tsaigu this weekend

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Ultimate Tsaigu & VJM this weekend!
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After a one week break, the busy spring campaign in the 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship continues this Saturday on two different locations. In China, we have the return to ATM of Ultimate Tsaigu in China, aka Tsaigu Tangsi Plus. In Po Luong, we have the second Vietnamese points race of the season: the Vietnam Jungle Marathon.

From a championship point of view, eyes will be set on Filippino runner Majo Liao, who is competing in the tough 100K in Linhai, China. Never afraid of a mountain challenge, Majo Liao is one of several Filippinos who will tackle the rough Kuocang mountain range. For Majo, it will be the 3rd ATM points race of the year, and a top 4 result would put her back in the lead in the points standings. Liao is 398 points behind Indonesia’s Ruth Theresia at the moment. Ultimate Tsaigu is one of China’s leading international trail races and has never ceased to grow since its conception in 2014. As part of the ATM calendar since 2015, some of the country’s top runners such as Yan Longfei and Ma Yanxing have won the  A-race, which began as a 58km but since a few years measures 100K. This weekend, there’s also  a 65K B-race that will provide points for the championship. Malaysia’s Azuan Asmuni is expected to be a challenger for the local runners on that distance. 

The 100K will see China’s elite versus a number of international elite runners from Europe, such as Spain’s  Juanjo Larrotcha   . Very interesting will be the dual between the two protagonists Qi Min and of the UTWT race in Hong Kong last January:    . 

In Vietnam, local trail hero Quang Tran can score his second victory of the season on the 70km. Dominator in Dalat Ultra Trail in March, Quang Tran will be keen to win in Po Luong, as last year he still had to accept defeat against his compatriot Cao Ngoc Ha, who himself has  his focus on triathlon at the moment. If he wins, Quang Tran collects another 500 points and that would place him in the top 5 of the championship. He’s the kind of runner who can play a major role in the title battle later this year. On paper, Quang Tran is the fastest runner on the ultra distance of 70k. For the remaining podium spots it will be an open competition with Quang Nguyen a prime pick, having scored several podia before in trail races. 

Also the women’s race is quite open but with several runners who already have quite a pedigree on the tour. Nguyen Thi Duong and Phuong Vy Le, for example, or also Sara Valentina. The local race director also expects a good performance by Bangkok-based Kylie Jane Ayson. 

We will be reporting live from both events this Saturday, subject to connectivity. The latter - as most of you know - is not guaranteed in China due to restrictions on the use of social media such as facebook, twitter and instagram. 

Quang Tran set for his second ATM race victory of the season

Quang Tran set for his second ATM race victory of the season

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Ultimate Tsaigu opens the books!
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Next year on 14/15 April we have the return of a meanwhile classic Chinese trail race in Asia Trail Master: Ultimate Tsaigu, previously known as Tsaigu Tangsi Plus. The event features a tough 100K and 65K courses through tea plantations, bamboo forests and rugged mountains. While there are also shorter distances available, the two main races require adequate preparation. The event location is Linhai, a nice tourist place not too far and easily accessible from major cities Hangzhou, Ningbo and even Shanghai. 

There is plenty of English language assistance for this event, which is very international-minded and welcoming to non-Chinese participants. For more details you can go to the summary cover page below. Registration goes via Iranshao:

http://iranshao.com/register/reg_races/TsaiGuTrail2018?locale=en

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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!

2016 Preview: Tsaigu Tangsi Plus grows to be China's Super Trail

One of the most applauded events in this year's Asia Trail Master series was Tsaigu Tangsi Plus, a 58km mountainous run in Eastern China that saw one of the country's biggest running stars, Yan Longfei, take a splendid victory. Participants from first to last talked about the great organisation and wonderful race trail, so it is no surprise that Tsaigu Tangsi Plus has been selected to be China's Super Trail in our 2016 Asia Trail Master series. The international registration has just been opened via our website form

Tsaigu Tangsi Plus is scheduled for 16 April 2016 and features an updated and extended main race course. Race director Cai Yu, himself a fervent runner, announced the new 50 mile (82km) distance last week as the main race of the event. Less ambitious participants can go for the 60km or 30km options, bearing in mind that elevation gain is considerable for all. In fact, on the new 50 miles no fewer than 5300 altitude metres need to be conquered, and this within 24 hours. 

Linhai again hosts the spectacular event. A relatively small town in Taizhou, which belongs to Zhejiang Province. International runners can fly into Hangzhou or Ningbo, from where there are easy railway or bus connections to Linhai. It's a tourist town on the banks of the Lin River, which also features an ancient great wall from the Jin Dynasty 1600 years ago. The wall is still 5km long and provides opportunities for exquisite photos. Get an idea of what Linhai looks like via this link. As our event cover page mentions, there are a few hotels in Linhai that can be booked via international websites such as Ctrip and Booking.com. 

Yan Longfei running towards the finish to win the 2015 edition of TT Plus

Yan Longfei running towards the finish to win the 2015 edition of TT Plus

TT Plus, as the event is commonly called, is an Asia Trail Master Super Trail, so finishers will score 50 points more for the 2016 championship when they finish the race. Important for high level runners who wish to become next year's champion! Super Trail is a new addition to our points system in 2016. In total, there will be five Super Trails and each in a different country. All details of the 2016 points system and set-up will be announced next week upon completion of the Ancient Khmer Path in Cambodia, which is the final race of this year's Asia Trail Master series. 

As 50 miles exceeds 70 km, Tsaigu Tangsi Plus now also qualifies for 1 point in the Grandmaster Quest

Registrations are open and expected to sell out quickly. While international runners have a bit more time, do not wait too long to sign up for one of China's trail running highlights of the year!

Little known, but wonderful trail running terrain

Little known, but wonderful trail running terrain

Participants loved the 2015 edition of TT Plus

Participants loved the 2015 edition of TT Plus

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.