30-05-2019 - News
Last year Gaoligong by UTMB® became the world’s first “by UTMB®” event. Unsure of what to expect, the foreign participants and delegates discovered an event that is a testament to Chinese ingenuity and hard work – a world-class trail race deep in the remote mountains of South West China, on the border with Myanmar, where centuries-old routes of the Southern Silk Road, also known as the Tea and Horse Trail, are still in use.
Englishman Richard Bull, attending on behalf of Trail Running Nepal, said: “China is the opposite of what you hear in the news, people in the West do not know anything about it. Culture and food here are awesome, people are very friendly. The quality of organization is amazing, surprising. This is a fully international standard race in a remote part of China. It is, a destination race.”
Alfie Pearce-Higgins, a UK running journalist and fifth-place finisher at 2018 Gaoligong by UTMB® said after the race: “China has arrived! When thousands turn up at a running event, you know that the sport is not a niche sport anymore.”
What to expect in 2020?
The 2018 race courses have been substantially improved to take in better trails and routes and a shorter distance – the 35 km TCZ (this is the post code for Tengchong International Airport), added to the existing 100 Miles MGU (Mt Gaoligong Ultra), 120km RCE (Road of Chinese Expeditionary Force) and the 55km THT (Tea and Horse Trail).
Last year elite Chinese runners dominated the event. Next year the Chinese elite is expected to be even stronger – several are locals are will have fierce local support.
Catherine Poletti, UTMB® Mont Blanc Director explains: “Each finisher of one race of Gaoligong by UTMB® get the number of ITRA points of the race and 3 running stones per ITRA points got. For example, Completing the 100 miles main distance - MGU (Mt Gaoligong Ultra) earns every finisher 6 qualifying points so also 18 Running Stones, and, therefore, an automatic qualification for 2021 UTMB® Mont Blanc.”
Run into a Discovery
Li Pasha (Pavel Toropov), the co-race director of 2018 Gaoligong by UTMB®: “Our English motto is “Run into a Discovery” – this is exactly what Gaoligong by UTMB® is. Coming to this part of China is to have an experience that is unique, raw and authentic. Here you have no choice but to be immersed into a culture that is very different yet is extremely welcoming - locals, race staff or not, treat every foreign runner like an honoured guest. Gaoligong by UTMB® is both a real travel adventure and a world-class trail race. We regularly post detailed travel information about Tengchong and Yunnan on our Facebook.” Registration is now open at www.mtgaoligong.com.