Over 2000 runners toed a start line of the 10th edition of Vibram Hong Kong 100 this chilly Saturday morning. Here are a few runners to follow in this year’s diverse field:
According to forecasts based on the International Trail Running Association rankings, the favourite this year is the American runner Jared Hazen with an impressive ITRA performance index of 919 & second fastest finish at the famous Western States 100 (14:26).
In the women’s race, the undeniable favourite is Ragna Debats from Holland with her spectacular wins at CCC & TransVulcania in 2019 contributing to an ITRA ranking of 787.
The Spanish runner Pere Aurell Bove (ITRA PI 880), Debats’ husband, is a hopeful for the podium in men’s category, and someone to follow closely throughout this Saturday.
Returning once again after a controversial first place finish followed by a disqualification, Liang Jiang is another strong contender.
Other international runners of note are: Mustang 100 champion in 2019 – Suman Kulung from Nepal with ITRA PI of 728; The 9th place finisher at CCC in 2019 – Zhenlong Zhang from China with ITRA PI of 837; 2nd place finisher at Ultimate Tsaigu 2019 Deng Guo Min from China with an ITRA PI of 843.
The competitive challenge in women’s race is likely to come from China’s Xiang Fuzhao (ITRA PI 741). Fuzhao won several races last season, including the Golden 100 and Ultra-Trail® Ninghai, as well as Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji. She also came 2nd at Vibram HK 100 in 2019 so she is sure to deliver quite a race to Debats.
Other contenders for the women podium include Yang Guangme from China and Slovakia’s Veronika who became the fastest woman ever on the MacLehose Trail just this November at the unofficial Oxfam Hong Kong Trailwalker event.
Locally, Wong Ho Chung (11th last year), Leung Ying Suet (2-time Hong Kong representative in the Trail Running World Championships), and John Ellis (12th last year) are the strongest prospects for a local podium finisher.