With the rise of Vertical Kilometer races in Europe and America, Asia is playing catch up and with it, the first Vertical Kilometer race in Asia was staged at the heart of trail running in Asia on Lantau Island, Hong Kong.
The Vertical Kilometer, as defined by the International Skyrunning Federation:
Races with 1,000m vertical climb over variable terrain with a substantial incline, not exceeding five kilometres in length. The Vertical Kilometer® is defined at three altitude levels (+/- 200m variable) example: from 0 – 1,000m, 1,000 – 2,000, 2,000-3,000m, with 5% tolerance.
This event was never originally on my race calendar. However, due to my withdrawal from the TMBT months earlier, I was looking for a overseas race to cap off my trail-running season. Lantau Vertical 2014, was a chance encounter one day while browsing on Facebook. As a participant of the Translantau earlier this year, the organizers had posted on their Facebook page, details of this race, touted to be the first Vertical Kilometer race in Hong Kong.
After giving it some thought, I signed up for the race. It was an easy one to make, given that it was a short race (as compared to a regular ultra) and the registration fee was fairly reasonable. To top it off, I was happy that Andy as well as my team mates from Nuke Optics would be joining me in Hong Kong.
I had a bit more time to explore Hong Kong this time around, as our flight arrived in Hong Kong at about 7 am in the morning. After having breakfast, we took a short nap before heading out to town via the Airport Express. We explored the City area for awhile before taking the ferry to our hotel at Mui Wo.
We checked into Silvermine Beach Hotel, took a short rest, before heading back out to the city area to meet up with Ian and Wei Chong.
If you have read my previous posts, I managed to meet Samantha Fanshawe, the 4 Deserts President of Events, while she was in Singapore some time ago. As Racing The Planet was based in Hong Kong, she was more than happy to meet our team during our visit to their retail store at Sheung Wan. I finally had a chance to visit the physical store, having previously made many purchases via their online store. It was really, the equivalent of a toy shop for trail runners.
After getting what we needed, the 5 of us had a great chat about the trail and ultra running over dinner. It was a refreshing bit of conversation to say the least. After we bid Samantha goodbye, we heading back to Silvermine to rest before getting ready for the race the next morning.
As I had expected, the race was fast and hard. It felt like a sprint as compared to the long haul of a regular ultra-marathon. Check out the video above for all the action, as well as the course profile and Strava log below.
The cut off time to the summit was 3 hours, thereafter, runners were given a maximum of 1.5 hours to reach to the end of the course, which was not counted as the race time. Many of us took the time to savor the scenery and take some pictures.
Overall, it was a great event and a well organized one. I foresee VK races popping up in other parts of Asia soon, as it presents a different type of challenge to existing ultra runners or those interesting in trail running.