China’s Dong Li is the 2015 The North Face 100k-Australia champion. In the following interview, Dong talks about her cautious approach to this race, what parts of the TNF 100k-Australia course she liked the most, and her thoughts on the growth of trail and ultrarunning in China.
Check out our results article to see how this year’s race played out.
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Dong Li, 2015 The North Face 100k-Australia Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Hi, I’m Kerry Suter for iRunFar. I’m here with Dong Li from China and Janet Ng, race director for Vibram Hong Kong 100k. [Editor’s Note: Janet was incorrectly noted as the race director for another 100k in Hong Kong in the interview. Sorry for the mix-up!] Janet’s going to be interpreting for this interview. First of all, Dong Li, congratulations on an outstanding win yesterday, an amazing run for you. Tell me a little bit about your race.
Dong Li: I find that my event was acceptable yesterday. I had the urge to run fast from the beginning, fast always. Yesterday because I felt that my condition was just okay, so I held back a bit and especially given that I’ve been doing quite a lot of races recently. I did a 50k in Dalian and then a couple more 50k’s recently, so I wanted to keep a bit in the tank initially. So I only started to push harder after 50k.
iRunFar: Thoughts on the course or how the course was for you? There were some technical sections, a lot of stairs, a lot of steep descents broken with long, flat fire trails that are entirely runnable. Does that sort of course suit your running?
Li: I think for me it’s okay. My strength is smashing down the hill. This is fine and going up and down is what I like—running in the hills and mountains. For the flatter bits, I found it acceptable, but I prefer more up and down. That would work more to my advantage.
iRunFar: We’re seeing a real big growth of ultrarunning in Asia and Australasia as well. Certainly Chinese runners and Japanese runners are coming through and with such an incredible strength and growth in the last few years and incredible success and dominance. Off the back of that, do you think there’s a great future in it?
Li: I think that in China, the trail running really kicked off in 2014. I started in 2013. Since 2014 and especially brands like Salomon, they made a push. Then in China in 2014 there started to be a lot of talks about technical shoes and how to run trails and it kind of blossomed from that. I think that, yes, there’s got to be a good future for this sport in China.
iRunFar: On the future, off the back of this great result, what’s on the calendar for 2015? More racing ahead? Where will we see you next?
Li: My plan for this year is UTMF in September.
iRunFar: Congratulations again. Well done. All the best for the rest of your time in Australia. Well done.
Li: Thank you. Thank you.