Hong Kong resident Claire Price holds the Vibram Hong Kong 100k course record (race report) and she’s back to race the HK100 again this year. In the following interview, Claire talks about the trail running scene in Hong Kong, the race course, and how she’s feeling going into this year’s race.
For more on who’s racing this weekend, read our preview of the 2015 Hong Kong 100k.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Claire Price Pre-2015 Vibram Hong Kong 100k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Claire Price before the 2015 Vibram Hong Kong 100k. How are you, Claire?
Claire Price: I’m good, thanks.
iRunFar: We are here at the Deep Water Bay. It’s not the typical setting one thinks of Hong Kong from abroad. You live here and you have for 14 years now?
Price: Yes, 14 going on 15 years, yeah.
iRunFar: There’s a lot of open space and places to run in Hong Kong. Tell us about that.
Price: There is. People are always surprised, actually. People see Hong Kong as a crazy concrete jungle, but about 40% of Hong Kong is actually park, so it’s protected. You’ve got a mix of hills and beautiful trails and woods and green areas, and then you’ve got stuff like this—beautiful beaches. You’ll see a lot on the course of the Hong Kong 100k on Saturday. It actually takes you through beaches and woods and so many beautiful parts of Hong Kong that a lot of people don’t know about, actually. So, yeah, it’s wonderful living here. As I was saying earlier, that’s one of the things that’s kept me here—the beauty of the outdoors of Hong Kong.
iRunFar: You actually became a trail runner and an adventure racer while you were in Hong Kong.
Price: Exactly, yeah, which is kind of weird, isn’t it? That’s true.
iRunFar: How did you fall into that?
Price: I suppose I… I moved here from the south of France. There were a lot of cultural things going on in France which I was interested in. When I came to Hong Kong, I was busy working, but then outside of work I was trying to figure out what people do. I don’t speak Cantonese, so a lot of the culture here I have a harder time understanding. I just met a few people who were trail runners and they took me running. I realized, Oh my gosh, it’s beautiful outdoors here. Then I discovered a few races here. It was just one thing that led to another, but it was really just a case of, “What do people do in Hong Kong apart from work and partying?” Actually, there’s an incredible outdoors scene.
iRunFar: Awesome. You sort of had some friends bring you into it. What do people do in Hong Kong? Set course records on the Hong Kong 100k course?
Price: Well, after a few years. It’s a small goldfish bowl.
iRunFar: You do hold the course record here, and there have been some good female runners who have been here. Lizzy Hawker has been here and some great competition from here, and also the Ultra-Trail World Tour last year. Do you feel like you’re in the same sort of fitness you were in when you set that mark?
Price: Gosh, I don’t know. It was really funny when I set that record, I had no expectations actually. I think sometimes that’s the way, when you have no expectations sometimes you have the best run. I’m feeling okay. I’m not really sure how my legs are going to feel. I did a 100k race, quite a tough 100k, about five weeks ago. My legs might be a bit tired. I’m just going to go out and enjoy it and see how I feel. I think the weather is going to be good, and that will help. We’ll just see. I want to have a good time and have fun.
iRunFar: It’s quite lovely out today. I hope it continues all weekend.
Price: Yeah, I think it should be similar weather.
iRunFar: So, you’ve run this course a couple times. What can people expect on Saturday?
Price: The first half of the course is quite fast. It’s flatter in the first half and then the big hills are in the second half. I suppose people can expect to first of all see a lot of beautiful scenery. The first part is all along the beaches of Hong Kong which is just incredibly beautiful. It’s a beautiful part of Hong Kong. I think expect to see a lot of beautiful things, have fun, the supporters are incredible, and the aid stations are very well manned with a lot of volunteers who really get into it. Steve and Janet, who organize the race, really put a lot of effort into making sure the organization is just top notch. That will be fantastic as far as all the runners whether you’re at the front or the back of the pack, you’ll be well taken care of. You’ll have a lot of support and encouragement along the way. Then you’ll just get to see a lot of beautiful trails. If there’s one tip I have for anyone, it’s try and pace it. The first half you’ll be tempted to go too fast, and then you pay for it later.
iRunFar: There are a lot of steep hills later. It’s only 1,000 meters as high as it gets, but you’re up and down, up and down.
Price: There’s a lot of climbing in the second half, that’s true, and quite a lot of steps. As you were saying earlier, a lot of runners are not so used to the steps. The steps up and down are, I guess it’s just a different motion. If you’re not used to that you might find it a little bit odd.
iRunFar: Both the climbing and the descending.
Price: Yeah, descending on the steps… if you can run fast downhill on steps in Hong Kong, that definitely helps you.
iRunFar: I’ve got my work cut out for me this weekend.
Price: Run up a few skyscrapers tomorrow for fun.
iRunFar: Perfect. You’ve also run around the world in a lot of races. Is there anything unique about the fare at aid stations here in Hong Kong?
Price: Nothing too weird. There are no dried squid or fish bowls or anything like that which I’m sure a lot of my Hong Kong Chinese friends would love. No, Steve and Janet makes sure there’s a good array of normal food. I think you’ll be fine.
iRunFar: What has you excited about running it again this year? You have run it a couple of times. You run this all the time. Why do you run the Hong Kong 100k?
Price: Why do I come back? Gosh, it really is an iconic course with some of Hong Kong’s best running. It’s always fun to run. I love the whole course. I was going to say especially Sai Kung. Sai Kung is so beautiful. You’ll see. It’s just so surprising. It’s beautiful white-sand beaches. That rocky coastline we run along is so pretty. I always enjoy running there. Then, the back half of the course, I know that course MacLehose Trail which is the back half of the course which is the course for the Oxfam Hong Kong Trailwalker goes along, and it’s kind of like, for me, it’s my home turf. I love those trails as well. I love those hills. It’s always fun to do this race. The atmosphere is great. I’m here. Why not do it and enjoy it?
iRunFar: There is a really strong trail running culture here in Hong Kong, and the 100k kind of seems like ‘the distance’ here.
Price: That’s kind of the distance I got into when I got into running actually. Yes, they have a very strong culture of 100k running. The trail running culture here is just growing. It’s incredible. The races sell out really fast now it seems. We’ve got more and more races and each race seems to fill up. It’s quite surprising. It’s great that people are getting out into the culture and parks and out on the trails rather than staying in shopping malls.
iRunFar: Sounds like a good plan rather than shopping malls. Best of luck this weekend, and thank you very much, Claire.
Price: Thank you so much. Nice to talk to you. Have a good race, you, too.