The Ultra-Trail® World Tour returned over the weekend in Asia with the Ultra-Trail ® Ninghai taking place on Saturday 17th October. Despite a reduced number of participants due to the rules in place for the current health crisis, the racing was just as fast and competitive as ever. A total of 367 runners set off on the start line of the UTNH, the 108km and 5100 m+ race, with 288 of the competitors managing to finish before the 27-hour cut off point. In both the men’s and women’s race, the 2019 champions Longfei Yan and Fuzhao Xiang put on fierce performances which saw them defend their top spots and be crowned winners once again, whilst both managing to also break their existing course records.
In the early stages of the men’s race, the fight was on between a small group of elite runners including Longfei Yan, Min Qi, Canhua Luo and Peiquan You. But as the pack progressed along the course, it was the most experienced athlete Longfei who took the lead and consistently crossed through the check points in first place, finishing the race with an impressive record-breaking time of 10:05. This is the third year in a row that he has taken the win in the Ultra-Trail® Ninghai.
In second place was Guomin Deng, who took on a different and calmer approach in the race, hanging back during the first half and keeping the gap controlled, before picking up the pace in the second half whilst the others in the leading pack fell back. He managed to take second position with an equally impressive time of 10:16. It was a similar strategy followed by Jing Liang, who jumped to third position only in the last 30km. He finished with a time of 10:28, just several seconds ahead of his teammate Jiaju Zhao who finished in 10:29. Congratulations to these top 4 male athletes who all broke existing records for the course.
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In the women’s competition, the defending champion Fuzhao Xiang ran a seamless race and was not challenged once by any fellow runners. Her record-breaking time of 12:32 saw her retain the top spot. The second position taker Shangwei Qu was similarly un-challenged throughout the race, instead running amongst the male runners for the whole course and finishing with a time of 13:45. It was Yang Feifei who completed the podium, finishing in 3rd place with a time of 14:14. Cairong Zhang and Yafang Shan finished in 5th place and 6th place.
While it was a shame that the Ultra-Trail® Ninghai was not able to welcome international athletes this year, it was fantastic to see so many Chinese runners participate and witness such strong performances from the elite tier. With the world still battling on against the COVID-19 pandemic, to have this event successfully take place - albeit in an adapted format - is hugely positive for the global trail-running community. It is also a great testament to the organisers for having ensured all the necessary health and safety protocols were followed to enable the event to go ahead.
1. Longfei Yan - 10:05
2. Guomin Deng - 10:16
3. Jing Liang - 10:28
4. Jiaju Zhao - 10:29
5. Min Qi - 10:58
6. Zongyong Xia - 11:25
1. Fuzhao Xiang - 12:32
2. Shangwei Qu - 13:45
3. Feifei Yang - 14:14
4. Liwen Zhao - 15:11
Next stop: USA, Javelina Jundred, 29th October
We now look forward to the next and final event of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour calendar, the Javelina Jundred, which will take place on 29th October in the USA.
Javelina has a green light for the 2020 in-person event which will allow for a total of 540 runners over four days of racing following a strict COVID protocol.
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Note to editors :
Since its beginnings in 2014 the Ultra-Trail® World Tour has gradually expanded to include the most iconic and prestigious ultra-endurance trail running races around the world. From 10 events in 2014 the Ultra-Trail® World Tour now features 28 events from 20 countries and 6 continents. The original roster – which included races held in Hong-Kong, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Italy, USA, France and Switzerland – has now been joined by events in Croatia, Portugal, Austria, Canada, South Korea, China, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Argentina and Oman www.ultratrail-worldtour.com