Star-studded elite field set to race “technical”, “tough” and “unique” 2018 Lantau 50 – Asian Skyrunning Championships
International field for the 54km trail race includes region’s best athletes seeking Asian honours
“Technical”, “tough” and “unique” — these were just some of the words used by elite trail runners to describe the Lantau 50 - Asian Skyrunning Championships at the pre-race press conference today. Indeed, the 54-kilometre trail race, with a total of 3,500m elevation gain, stands out for its unusual mix of terrain: from wooden-planked boardwalk to pristine single track through forests, ridge lines with sea views to never-ending stone steps.
The Lantau 50 is one of a handful of races in the world that is an International Skyrunning Federation qualified race under the Ultra category. Doubling as the Asian Skyrunning Championships, the prestigious race has attracted a deep international field.
In a speech at today’s press conference, Mr. Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation, spoke highly of the Lantau 50 - Asian Skyrunning Championships.
Said Giacometti: “I’m happy to be here at the end of the season this year. It’s a pleasure to see so many athletes coming to Hong Kong for the race. Year after year, the Lantau 50 - Asian Skyrunning Championships has attracted a very good variety of runners at the international level. I hope that the race will always get better and better. Good luck to all participants — it’s probably the last race of your long season — and have fun!”
Francesco Cucco of Italy, who was 5th at the prestigious Grand Raid Reunion - La Diagonale des Fous in October, is racing in Hong Kong for the first time. He said: “Nearly 10 years ago I came to Hong Kong to visit the town. Today I’m happy to discover the nature trails!”
American Kelly Young, 5th at the 2018 Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run, also shared her excitement: “Running up and down technical trails in Hong Kong seems almost like a dream for me and so it is extremely exciting to know that I get to be a part of the Lantau 50. I can't wait to experience this race and have some fun out there!”
The 54km course will flag off from Man Tung Road Park in Tung Chung and head up to Ngong Ping, go along the Keung Shan ridge down to the Shek Pik area, back over Lantau and Sunset Peaks, then contouring around and down to Pak Mong before heading back to Tung Chung.
Taiwanese ace Chou Ching shared his strategy for the race. “I will be more conservative on the first half of the race as I know the hard climbs are in the last 20km. I hope to finish the race in six and half hours,” said Chou.
Flying the flag for Hong Kong will be Ng Wai-hei and Cheung Man-yee, the first two athletes who were part of the inaugural MSIG Action Asia Development Programme 2018, which seeks to groom local trail runners for the world stage.
Cheung said: “The Lantau 50 - Asian Skyrunning Championships is challenging. It was a tough race for me last year. Thanks to the training programme by Action Asia, I think I have improved significantly this year. I hope I can do better this time and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lantau together with other participants.”
When asked about his race nutrition, 19-year-old Ng said: “I’m looking forward to the Lantau 50 race and I usually load up on rice and only eat food that can be easily digested both before and during the race.”
The Lantau 50 will also offer two shorter distances: a 16km course contouring the ridge from Sunset Peak to Pak Mong, and a 27km course going over Lantau and Sunset Peaks down to Pak Mong and following the 54km route to the finish.
Max King, from the United States, shared his thoughts on the 27km course: “The Lantau 27km is going to be a race that is challenging from the start and continue to be tough all the way through. I’m looking forward to taking on this unique challenge with so many different elements from stairs and boardwalks to big climbs and technical footing. It may be the most unique race I have ever run.”
Here are some of the elites in the Lantau 50’s international field:
- Francesco CUCCO, Italy – 1st Salomon Gore-Tex Maxi-Race 2018, 5th Le Grand Raid De La Réunion 2018 - La Diagonale Des Fous, 10th The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2018
- Yuichi MIURA, Japan – 1st Hasetsune 2018, 10th Salomon Skyline Scotland 2018 - Ben Nevis Ultra, 1st Kitatanzawa 12Th Adventure Race 2018 - 44Km, 2nd Lantau 50 2017 - 50K
- Tomohiro MACHIDA, Japan – 1st Sky View Trail Yamada Noboru 2018 – 70, 1st Osj Amani Jungle Trail 2018 - 50 Km, 1st Spa Trail 2018 - Ktk 38K, 2nd Osj Okukuji Trail 2018 - 30 Km, 3rd Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji 2018 – STY, 9th Lantau 50
- Attila TOTH, Germany – 1st Sachsen Trail Ultrarun 2018, 5th Innsbruck Alpine Trail Run Festival 2018, 9th Grossglockner Ultra-Trail 2018
- CHOU Ching, Taiwan – 1st 2018 Taiwan Action Asia 50, 1st Run Through The Jungle Iii 2018, 2nd HK50 2017, 2nd Taiwania 100K Ultra Trail 2018
- Josep MORALES, Spain – 6th Ultra Pirineu 2018 - Mitja Marathon
- FENG Wei, Singapore – National champion Singapore Action Asia 50, 16th Ultra-Trail Ninghai 2018, 5th Greenrace Forest Ultra 2017
- Kelly YOUNG, USA – 5th Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run 2018
- SUNG Li-chun, Taiwan – 3rd 2018 Taiwan Action Asia 50
- Maja DORFSCHMID, Switzerland – 1st Salmon Alpen X 100 2016, 8th Ultra Tour Monte Rosa 2017 - 4 Stage Race 170 Km, 14th Eiger Ultra-Trail 2017
- LIM Jun Zhen, Singapore – National champion Singapore Action Asia 50, 8th Cameron Ultra-Trail 2017
- Shelly SCHENK, Switzerland – 2nd Salomon Gore-Tex short race 2018
The event is organized by Action Asia Events and is possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors: Action X Store, International Skyrunning Federation, China Skyrunning Association, Hoka One One, C3fit, Camelbak, Coca Cola, AroundDB, Cathay Pacific, ALKA12, around DB, Herbalgy, Salonsip, Santa Fe,Royale International, Coordinate4u, International Trail-Running Association, UTMB Qualifier and Action Asia Foundation.
HK50 Series - Lantau 50 - Asian Skyrunning Championship
Sunday, Dec 2, 2018
6.30am: 54km (sunrise at 6:45 so first 15min in dark)
Man Tung Road Park next to Novotel Citygate, Tung Chung
16km, 27km, 54km
For more race details, please check out the links below:
Since the first extreme races in 1992, the first World Championship in 1998 and the introduction of the Skyrunner World Series in 2003, Skyrunning has grown to become a globally renowned sport governed by the International Skyrunning Federation. In 2015, the Continental Championships were introduced and includes Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Oceania. The sport is practiced in more than 40 nations and counts followers from 126 countries.