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AWOO Team Nepal back in Hong Kong for HK100.

After the unlucky Oxfam Trailwalker the AWOO Team Nepal runners Arjun Kulung Rai and Kiran Kulung returned to Hong Kong to compete at the 6th Hong Kong 100 Ultra Trail Race.

Arjun and Kiran

Arjun and Kiran – Photo: Dominic Rigby

It was without any doubts the strongest field ever at HK100 (or any other trail race in Hong Kong) with elite international runners like Francois D’Haene, Pau Bartolo, Gediminas Grinius, Pau Capel Gill, Yeray Duran Lopez, Bed Sunuwar, Sange Sherpa, Yan Long Fei (to name a few) racing against the best of local Hong Kong trail running scene. The overseas contingent of ladies was very strong as well featuring among others Dong Li, Lisa Borzani, Silvia Ainhoa Trigueros, Corinne Williams, Elisabet Margeirsdottir.

With such a competitive field it was hard to set a specific race goal for Arjun and Kiran – especially as this was the first individual overseas 100km race for both of them. They however left nothing to chance. Both arrived in Hong Kong a week ahead of the race to have enough time to recce the first half of the route. They had no plans to train on the last 50km as both knew if from their previous OTW experience.

Arjun training on the steps

Arjun training on the steps

The weather was quite challenging though. It rained most of the time during the weak leading up to the race. That and the wind made those training runs quite cold and tricky. During one of the runs Arjun suffered a minor leg injury after slipping on the wet trail.

Kiran on training run - enjoying the beach view

Kiran on training run – enjoying the beach view

The night before the race the weather conditions changed dramatically. As promised by the HK Observatory the winds picked up and the polar vortex reached Hong Kong. By the morning it was proper winter time.

Our support team met with Arjun and Kiran at the start area. We made sure they don’t feel cold. Besides the clothes they carried with themselves we had some spare wind jackets ready for them just in case. Blankets and warm drinks also made it to the support kit. After warm up and some photo taking the boys were ready to race.

Arjun and Kiran ahead of the race

Arjun and Kiran ahead of the race

It was a great (not really planned) AWOO brand exposure right from the start. Kiran as is his habit took off quickly and the field followed him.

Kiran leading the race after the start.

Kiran leading the race after the start.

After a while the others caught up. But before long Arjun took over the lead. That Arjun’s early lead was probably a mix of confidence, excitement and inexperience but he surely enjoyed while it lasted. We believed that fighting for position at or near top 10 was a realistic target for Arjun. Unfortunately somewhere on the way to Wong Shek he had a fall and injured his knee. This injury compromised the remainder of his race. We are very proud that unlike many other runners he did not give up. Despite the injury and the extreme weather he fought on. At the end Arjun finished at respectable 25th place at 12:13:44.

Arjun during the race

Arjun during the race – Photo: Dominic Rigby

Kiran had a strong race. Prior to the race he did not expect to be able to keep up with Arjun. But following Arjun’s injury he took over the role of team leader. His 20th place at 11:52:52 is a great result in this tough race!

Kiran during the race

Kiran during the race – Photo: Dominic Rigby

HK 100 Highlights – UTWT// HK100 //
Here it is! UTWT Highlights of the 1st stage of the season: Hong Kong 100 Ultra Marathon
A great race, made difficult by extreme climate conditions. The runners shared beautiful moments!
Posted by Ultra-Trail World Tour on Friday, January 29, 2016

This was the race the people will remember for a very long time. Firstly thanks to Francois D’Haene’s incredible course record 09:32:26 (even with the altered and more difficult finish). But mostly thanks to the extreme weather conditions – freezing temperatures, strong winds (especially at the Saikung beaches and on the Ma On Shan ridge) and finally that frozen Tai Mo Shan Road that caused the early end to the race. Only 971 runners managed to complete the race…

Kiran at the finish

Kiran at the finish – Photo: Dominic Rigby

And finally we wish to thank Dominic Rigby and Pete Henricks for their help and support on the race day!