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Hong Kong 100 Race Tips

Posted by Bill Huang on

If you were one of the lucky ones to get a successful draw result into the two-time Gone Running Hong Kong Trail Running Awards’ Best Race - Vibram Hong Kong 100, then you know the race is just around the corner. 

With the finish line 100km away, many things can go wrong along the way. We have compiled a few vital tips for you in order to accomplish your goal of crossing that finish line and securing that most sought after HK100 finishers jacket.

1. Pacing, Pacing, Pacing

Like many ultra events, pacing is of the utmost importance. The HK100 is no different. Believe us when we say that you should take the following advice from Hong Kong elite ultra runner and the master of pacing, John Ellis, himself, "Pacing, pacing, pacing. The first 52km to CP5 Kei Ling Ha only has 1,600m D+ and is very runnable. Avoid the temptation to run too fast early and save some legs for the 2,900m D+ in the second half. In terms of +400m hills, there are none in the first half and seven in the back."

 2. Refuelling at CPs

The race is super well organised with well supplied CPs including water, Overstims sports drink, bread, fruit, crackers and even a few guest appearances like rice balls - which means you can carry less nutrition from the start. Use a sandwich bag to run-and-go at the CPs then eat on the climbs later on. Furthermore, you can save a bit of weight and carry less liquid if you just drink a bit more at each of the CPs.

3. Use the Halfway Drop Bag

Participants can leave one drop bag at checkpoint 5 (Kei Ling Ha - 52km). This is a great place to stow your Gipron poles as well as a lightweight windproof or rainproof jacket and/or beanie and gloves. The weather should be somewhere around 12-20 degrees celsius but it could feel like 5 degrees with 20kph winds on top of Tai Mo Shan at night. 

If you really want to save weight, you may consider starting with an ultralight/minimalist torch (mandatory gear) and switch it out with your regular headlamp at CP5 for when you need some proper lumens at night. Of course, this only applies if you get to CP5 before sundown. 

 4. Hong Kong Weather

Hong Kong weather is always tricky and Saturday will be no different. It'll feel cool but with 65-90% humidity, keep an eye on your perspiration. Too much sweat will mean dehydration and cramping later, so keep drinking and stay up on your electrolytes. 

If you are prone to cramping during races, CrampFix may be the answer to your troubles as it has helped countless others.

5. Wear Appropriate Footwear

Footwear is key. There is a lot of pavement and stairs at HK100 so you'll want some shoes with good cushioning but that can handle a few slipperier sections around Ham Tin, Kai Kung Shan and Ma On Shan. We hear the title sponsor for HK100, Vibram, makes pretty good grippy soles;)

For a complete list of useful gear and nutrition we recommend for the race, click here.

Good luck to all participants!

Team Gone Running

PS. We also have some BONUS TIPS from #WAAELITE Justin Andrews who finished in 10:54 in 2017, so kinda knows what he's doing!

  1. As a 'runners' race, participants will do well to get perhaps 1/3 of their training divided between uphill tarmac repeats and fast descending work and road/track intervals to get their legs accustomed to both the pounding the racecourse inflicts and the speed necessary to take advantage of the fast sections.
  2. During the race, make sure to fuel a bit more than normal early on and fuel often as the faster pace compared to most 100k's will burn more carbs than you may be used to.
  3. With that said, the faster and flatter first half of the race requires runners to not get out too fast and requires patience and a level head to not get caught up in a pace too ambitious for the 100k distance and the rigorous climbs and descents in the back half where a lot of time can be lost or gained! 
  4. If at all possible, this is the race where having friend(s) crew for you pays big dividends--devise a nutrition and fueling plan and have them prepare bottles and food beforehand in as many checkpoints as possible; one can save 5-15 minutes in a 100k of this nature with a good crew. 
  5. Poles can be picked up at will from a friend at a CP and returned to them later on; what I've found works well for me is using them from CP4-6 and then from CP8-end.

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