Weekend Recap Vibram Hong Kong 100k and HURT100

Saturday, January 18th at 8am (local time) saw an unbelievable field of runners compete in the Vibram Hong Kong 100k to kick off the 2019 Ultra-Trail World Tour. Contestants tackled a 5300m of elevation on a 103.6km course spanning dirt and paved trails, stairs, beaches, forests, and mountains.

Photo Credit: Vibram Hong Kong

Vibram Hong Kong 100k Men’s Race

Conditions were excellent on the morning of the race, with light cloud cover and a pleasant breeze. Though Jing Liang set out to an early lead, with Tom Evans and Long-Fei Yan close behind, it was Jiasheng Shen who crossed the finish first at 10:22:45. Liang Jing took second at 10:35:50, and Zhenlong Zhang followed in third.

Photo Credit: Vibram Hong Kong

The uncomplicated results from the men’s field come as a welcome relief to racing fans, after last year’s finish was marred by a disqualification on Jing Liang’s record setting first place time of 9:28. The win fell to the second runner to finish, Min Qi, only seconds behind at the 9:28 mark himself.

Photo Credit: Vibram Hong Kong

Vibram Hong Kong 100k Women’s Race

From the women’s field, Yangchun Lu finished first, in 11:43:20. Fuzhao Xiang followed at 12:17:32, and Guangmei Yang took third in 12:43. The course record of 10:40, set by last year’s women’s winner, Yao Miao, was not seriously threatened.

It’s no surprise that times rose across the board after changes were made this year to increase the difficulty and distance of the course.

Vibram Hong Kong

Photo Credit: Vibram Hong Kong

With UTWT 2019 officially up and running, there’s a whole lot of great racing coming up. Check the schedule below to see what’s on the horizon, and check back often for constant coverage of the biggest wins, best times, and most shocking DNFs.

132 Endure the HURT100

On Saturday, January 19th, 132 runners took on 100 miles of punishing forest trail in one of January’s most anticipated racing events: The Hawaiian Ultra Running Team’s Trail 100-Mile Endurance Run, or the HURT100.

Photo Credit: HURT100

The course, maintained by the State of Hawai’s  Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife’s Na Ala Hele program, runs 5-laps and 100 miles of semi-tropical rain forest, primarily on narrow single-track packed dirt paths in the mountains above Honolulu, and features 24,500 feet of cumulative elevation gain.

This year Nate Jaqua finished in first with a time of 22:37:54. Trevor Fuchs finished in second at 23:24:32, and top returning competitor Masazumi Fujioka took third in 23:38:57, improving on the 24:03:34 which landed him 3rd in 2018. No runner seriously challenged Gary Robbins’s 2013 course record of 19:35:00.

First in the women’s field was top returning competitor Sabrina Stanley. She improved on her 2018 3rd place time of 29:45:04, finishing at 28:28:06. Solange Saxby’s 29:07:16 followed, and Anna Albrecht’s 29:54:55 was good for 3rd. No runner faired as well as 2018 women’s leader Darcy Piceu, whose 25:48:27 was the third best women’s time in course history.

If you want to learn more about the Hurt100, check out “Rooted: The Story of Hurt” for a fun view on the history of the Hawaiian Ultra Running Team and the evolution of the HURT100.

SCHEDULE – MAYBE USE THE OFFICIAL IMAGE INSTEAD? https://www.ultratrail-worldtour.com/races-all/races/

January, 19th, 2019 – Vibram® Hong Kong 100 – 100 km – Hong Kong, China
February, 6th-10th 2019 – Tarawera Ultramarathon – 102 km – Rotorua, New Zealand
February, 20th-24th 2019 – Transgrancanaria HG – 125 km – Gran Canaria, Spain
April, 5th-15th 2019 – Marathon des Sables – +/- 250 km – Sahara, Morocco
April, 12th-14th 2019 – 100 Miles of Istria – 100 miles – Umag, Croatia
April, 12th-13th 2019 – Patagonia Run – 160 km – San Martin de Los Andes, Argentina
April, 27th 2019 – Madeira Island Ultra-Trail® – 115 km – Funchal, Portugal
April, 26th-28th 2019 Ultra-Trail® Mount Fuji – 170 km – Fujisan, Japan
April 13th, 2019 – Penyagolosa Trails HG – 109 km – Castellon, Spain
May, 16th-19th 2019 – Ultra-Trail Australia – 100 km – Katoomba, Australia
June, 15th – mozart100® – 105 km – Salzburg, Austria
June 28th-30th 2019 – La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail – 119 km – Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italia
June, 29th-30th 2019 – The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run – 100 miles – California, United States
July, 19th-21st 2019 – Eiger Ultra-Trail® – 101 km – Grindelwald, Switzerland
August, 28th 2019 – TDS® – 119 km – Courmayeur-Chamonix, Italy – France
Aug, 30th 2019 – CCC® – 101 km -Courmayeur-Chamonix, Italy – Switzerland – France
Aug, 30th 2019 – UTMB® – 170 km – Chamonix, France – Italy – Switzerland
September, 6th- 7th-8th 2019 – Harricana Ultra-Trail® – 125 km – La Malbaie, Canada
October, 20th 2018 – Salomon® Cappadocia Ultra-Trail® – 119 km – Urgup, Turkey
November, 2nd-3rd 2019 – Javelina Jundred 100 miles – Arizona, United States
November, 30th 2019 Ultra-Trail Cape Town® – 100 km – Cape Town, South Africa


The Four Toughest Races in the world

 The Toughest Races in the world

When it comes to the sport of Ultra Marathon, there are today more options than ever before. In other words, there is something for everyone with various degrees of difficulty. But when we speak of some Toughest Races AND unique races, we have to mention Montane Spine Race, Tor des Géants, Yukon Arctic Ultra and of course UTMB.  Lets take a look at each one in detail.

The Toughest Race: Montane Spine Race

Hailed as “Britain’s Most Brutal Race”, this 7 day stage race has competitors run 268 miles and see an ascent of 36,729ft (11,195m) One of the Toughest Races.  Now lets explore what makes this toughest race so brutal. The course is lovingly, and sometimes not so lovingly, called “The Spine”. It  follows UK’s most iconic trails, The Pennine Way.  The terrain is absolutely gorgeous but also brutally tough, covering the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviots; finishing at the Scottish Borders.

To top it all, this race takes place in the winter…and don’t get it wrong, we are talking about some extreme conditions where the runner have to deal with deep snow, ice, mud, bogs, ground water, storm force winds and torrential rain.  British humor may be dry, but their weather certainly isn’t. The runners are usually wet, cold, dealing with fatigue, sleep deprivation, tiredness and mental exhaustion.  This race is truly as hard as they come, as the athletes need to mostly be self-sufficient and ONLY the most prepared and skilled runners can break the spine!

Tor des Géants 

Tor des Géants or TDG is considered to be one of the greatest non-stop trail races in the world. Participants must complete 205 miles within a 150-hour cut off, while gaining an elevation of approx. 78800ft  (24,000m)…that is THREE TIMES the height of Mt Everest.  This well organized race, with around 2000 volunteers, takes place in Aosta Valley Italy; starting and ending in Courmayeur. 

The conditions during the race are tough enough to test giants… hence the name. The elevation change (minimum altitude 300m  and highest 3,300) means unpredictable weather where the runners can encounter sun, rain, wind, and snow. During TDG, the runners cross 34 municipalities, 25 mountain pass over 2000 metres, 30 alpine lakes and 2 natural parks.  This race has an incredibly high DNF percentage, with 2018 seeing over 60% of its participants not completing the race. 

 Yukon Arctic Ultra Series

Yukon Arctic ultra is the world’s coldest and toughest ultra for a good reason.  This multi day race happens at the beginning of February each year with three races to choose from 100m, 300m and 420m. This race follows the Yukon Quest trail, the trail where one of the worlds toughest dog sled race used to take place. Thankfully no dogs get hurt, abused or killed during the YAU, however the humans participating in the foot race do put themselves at serious risk, racing through dangerous conditions.  The runners climb over 6,000m through conditions that leave them susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite and exhaustion with temperatures sometimes as low as -40°C.

The race begins in Whitehorse, Yukon, finishing 13 nights later on the in Dawson, Yukon.  But not many are able to finish this race. In 2018 only one person finished the 300m section of the race while many were treated for frostbite and hypothermia.


Toughest Races

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, known as UTMB festival has many races to offer. the  Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (“In the Footsteps of the Dukes of the Savoie”) known as TDS is a 121 km long race sees an elevation gain of 7,300 m is hands down one of the toughest footraces out there. While it is one of the lesser known and one of the shorter races of the UTMB offering, the runners participating know that it is Toughest Races or brutal! Runners get to run through and enjoy the gorgeous sight of the Alps during their run. However unlike the other UTMB races, TDS runners get to run many miles of it up high in the rugged mountains in relative peace. The few inhabitants who do make it to the high points are known to be friendly and kind.

However running in the mountains doesn’t mean it is cold the whole way, for parts of the race runners can face heat well into the 90s. Runners need to complete the course in 33hours or under, resulting in a very high DNF rate. TDS was first introduced in 2009 and the course goes along the Grande Randonée paths through the Aosta valley in Italy, followed by the Beaufort, Tarentaise and finally Mont-Blanc valley in France.

The toughest part of the race is by far the steep and relentless climb out of Bourg Saint-Maurice and up to the Cormet de Roselend. This is and almost 2000m of vertical with limited water and a big shock after the relatively easy running of the first 50km. The weather too is unpredictable. All in all, these factors make this race qualify for our list.

So there you have it, four of the most Toughest Races Mountain Ultra marathons out there. Do you think you could do one?