After an incredibly successful 2017, Andrea Huser is leaping right into the new year with the 2018 Vibram Hong Kong 100k. In the following interview, Andrea talks about how she is able to recover from her frequent racing, what races she plans to run this year, and how she’ll strategically approach the runnable and technical sections of this weekend’s race.
Andrea Huser Pre-2018 Vibram Hong Kong 100k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. We’re here in Hong Kong and it’s a couple days before the 2018 Vibram Hong Kong 100k. I’m with Switzerland’s Andrea Huser. Good morning.
Andrea Huser: Good morning, Meghan. Nice to meet you.
iRunFar: Nice to see you, too. We’re here in the super-bustling metropolis of Hong Kong. It’s a little bit strange to think of trail racing in such a big city.
Huser: Yeah, it is, but I am here for the third time and now I know the beautiful trails a bit from Hong Kong. It’s very pretty and they have very beautiful trails here.
iRunFar: It’s very interesting. It’s a big city with gigantic buildings and then you climb on top of these hills and there’s trails up there.
Huser: Yeah. Mostly you have big steps at the beginning and when you are up with great views of the city. For me, from Switzerland, I like it.
iRunFar: It’s very different from Switzerland. So this is your third time coming to the city of Hong Kong. You’ve twice raced the…what’s the name of the race you’ve done twice?
Huser: [Ultra-Trail] Tai Mo Shan.
iRunFar: Tai Mo Shan, named after the high point of Hong Kong. But this is your first time doing the Vibram Hong Kong 100k.
Huser: Yes, I do it [for] the first time.
iRunFar: What has brought you back to Hong Kong for the third time for a race? You must like it here.
Huser: I didn’t plan to come again in January because Tai Mo Shan Ultra was in December. And I come here for the Ultra-Trail World Tour award, and I thought, I can’t go back without running the Hong Kong 100 when I’m here.
iRunFar: Well, that follows up very nicely to my next question. Tonight is the Ultra-Trail World Tour awards ceremony, where you’ll be awarded the women’s champion for winning the tour this year. You raced a lot and you raced so successfully in 2017. And you’re back to race again in 2018?
Huser: Yeah, I like to race [laughs]. I like to travel. I like to race. Ultra-Trail [World Tour] is all over the world. If I can, if I have the possibilities, I think, “why not?”
iRunFar: I have a couple questions about your racing. One: you race a lot.
Huser: Yes, because I started ultra-trail running about three years, four years ago. Then I saw how many ultra-trail [races] you can do all over the world. And I saw the Ultra-Trail World Tour for the first time. Maybe that was the reason to start so many, to do so many races. And I saw I can do it, I have the body to do it, and I like it very much.
iRunFar: You run a big, long ultra-trail race about once a month, maybe a little more often than once a month. Is that right?
Huser: Yeah, in the summertime. Last summer I think it was about once in a month. It depends which distance is an ultra. I did some shorter 50ks. Ultra-Trail Pirineu’s a bit shorter. I like to discover new trails also, so sometimes I do shorter trails.
iRunFar: But you also race long races, 100 miles. I think you did at least six of them last year?
Huser: Yeah, it was about six.
iRunFar: For me, running 100 miles wrecks me. How do you not become wrecked? How are you able to do so many of these ultra-trail [races], including so many long ones?
Huser: I have to say I have my main races, and I have my races I just want to do because I’d like to go there and to see the landscape. Yeah, I recover quite fast, maybe that’s my nature. It’s also how many I do. The more I do, the faster I recover. In July and August I can do what I want. The last two years, I recovered very well.
iRunFar: For the last couple years when I have been watching you race ultra-trail [races], I’ve encountered you all over the world, many different continents I’ve seen you on now. What do you do for a job that allows you to be away from home and traveling so much?
Huser: I am a nurse and last year I didn’t work during the summertime. I finished at an old workplace and started a new one in November. I’m 44 now and I thought, I want to enjoy a year where I’m traveling and racing. I don’t know how long I can do it, so I did it last year. And this year, I’ll have a look.
iRunFar: What type of nursing do you do?
Huser: I work at a rehabilitation center. They have injuries with knees, hips, backs, and orthopedic injuries and they come for therapy to our clinic.
iRunFar: So here we are in Hong Kong. It’s the beginning of 2018. You being at an Ultra-Trail World Tour race, does this mean that you have plans to race some more of the tour again this year?
Huser: Yes, I want to. I would like to do the Marathon des Sables. It would be a special adventure. But I’m not sure yet. And then UTMB and Transgrancanaria. Yeah, those are the races I’m sure about. Other races–I will do some more–but I’ll have a look at how my time is.
iRunFar: There are ultra-trail [races] around the world these days. Dozens of countries you can go and race in. Are there other places that you’re dreaming of getting to explore to, or races that you still want to do?
Huser: Yeah, so many races. I want to go to South America, or to Australia also. I’ve never raced in Australia. I’ve been once there, but it’s about 20 years ago. Yeah, there are many countries I would like to see.
iRunFar: Your bucket list is long. Your to-do list of races is long.
Huser: It is [laughs]. There are too many races all over the world.
iRunFar: Let’s talk for a minute about this weekend’s race. You’ve raced in Hong Kong before, so you know sort of the nature of the trails, the steep ups and downs and then the rolling along the ridgeline. What part of Hong Kong’s terrain do you like and what will be hard for you this weekend?
Huser: I think this weekend it’s the first part of the race. It will quite flat, so I’m not a good flat runner, I’m not a ‘roller.’ So it will be challenging for me. I’m sure I’m looking forward to the last part, coming up to Tai Mo Shan. If I’m strong enough, that probably can… it will be my part there.
iRunFar: And that will also be familiar, because you raced that in part before, right?
Huser: Yes. I know Tai Mo Shan, that last part, yes.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you this weekend. And also congratulations on your Ultra-Trail World Tour 2017 champion award. We’ll see you at the awards tonight.
Huser: Thank you very much.