Before Hong Kong finally wraps up its trail running season with the Translantau 100km and 50km race this weekend, the MSIG50 three race series finished off two weeks ago with a bang. In a first for a race of its distance, the 50km race attracted a bevy of international runners: Aussie’s own Brendan Davies, UK’s Stu Air, USA’s Cassie Scallon and Rudy Gilman and Italy’s Alessandra Carlini, just to name a few. While Hong Kong has been host to a an increasing number of international runners, to see so many in a race over simply a 50km distance is a sign, we think, of what’s to come for the Asia-Pac region.
American Gilman (who splits his time between hilly Yunnan in China and the USA) led the men’s field from early on, finishing in a new course record of 4 hours 51 minutes and 52 seconds. Although Davies was in the mix, his technical skills were no match for local mountain goat Stone Tsang Siu-keung, who finished second in 5 hours 5 minutes, leaving Davies for third in 5 hours 15 minutes.
In the women it was a close fight between Scallon and Italy’s Alessandra Carlini, with Scallon finishing in 6 hours 59 seconds and Carlini 5 minutes behind. Elite Hong Kong marathoner, Jo Jo Fan Siu-ping was the first local female in 6 hours 11, after overtaking current series champion Olya Korzh on the flatter terrain in the final kilometres.
All eyes are now on the Translantau100 which kicks off tonight.
Aussie’s Vlad Ixel, who has recorded impressive results in this part of the trail world, is looking for a hat trick for a podium finish after a 3rd place finish in the HK100 in January and the Philippines The North Face 100 in February. He faces a challenge from Japan’s Timo Meyer, who finished 6th in Tarrawerra last year, 6th at Leadville 100 and recently 2nd at the 2014H.U.R.T. 100 Miler.
The internationals also face stiff competition from the Nepalese as well as other Hong Kong elite locals, who have the added benefit of on trail knowledge.