Last weekend I was running successful my second 100K race. After the Vibram-HK100 in January in Hong Kong, I went this time to Dalian, a beautiful small city in North-east China. Located directly on the yellow sea, the city is famous in China for its seafood, shipyards and the 100k Ultra-trail at the City Mountains.
There are many mountains in Dalian. Not high mountains, but many mountains. With a total ascent of 5700m (18700Ft) and a cut-off time of 26 hours, that race is not a just-for-fun race. Compare with the HK100, the Dalian100 is still quite unknown in the western part of the world but might be change, as it became now also a part of the more international Asia-Trail-Masters series.
350 runners started Saturday morning 6AM together with 250 50K competitors. In addition, a 25K run was organized. It was very chilly at the beautiful beach while we were waiting for the start. As the sun came up we were released.
Even it was windy and chilly we were lucky with the weather. A day later it was raining and stormy but on the race day the weather was fine. The hills are not very high. Around 200 meter per hill sounds not so much, but a total ascent of 5700 meters is like running up and down a 200-meter hill 28 times.
Time passed very fast, at CP5 I got my drop-bag, changed some clothes, had a teaspoon of pure salt, some refreshments and went back on track to welcome the night. At CP7 on km72, I still thought I can finish the race within 20 hours to get a silver trophy but until then I had not heard about the „section of death“. Other Chinese runners told me about this painful section and my stupid illusion about a 20-hour race. I left the last CP at midnight. Midnight means 18 hours on the run, so 2 hours left for the last 8km to reach my 20 hours goal.
Should be not a problem, or? I was an ignorant fool 😯 but I learned my lesson. There is a cruel section of ~7km at the end of the race. Extremely steep up and down trails on lose rocks, sand and old leafs. From sea level up to 200m, down to sea level again and up to 224m and so on and on. Overall, it was 1000m of ascent just during this 7km. Not nice at all at the end of a 100k Ultra. Five Chinese runners adopted me on this stage and together we crawled through the night and pushed each other forward. We needed exactly 4 hours for this last 8km from CP9 to the final line.
Tired but very happy I went through the finish line at 04:38AM on Sunday morning.
I finished on Rank 121 from 228 finishers and 315 starters in the men’s list. I’m very happy with the result. My time is the same as in Hong Kong 3 month ago, but the race in Dalian is 7km longer and has 1500m more elevation gain, so I count it as a big improvement. 🙂
Also on my counter are now another 3 qualification points for the UTMB. Just another 2 points and I will be qualified to apply for the UTMB run in 2016. In 4 weeks I will run the Tianmu7, a 50k trail-run near Hangzhou were I could earn these 2 missing points. But that is another story, which will follow in a few weeks. ❗
First, I will be back in Dalian on May 09th to run the city marathon. Looking forward to be back on asphalt. Haven’t been running a city race since beginning of January.
Enjoyed your write-up, Alex. I really like Dalian 100 – great organizers and volunteers and a unique route. Good luck with your running adventures!