Tom Evans of the U.K. will kick off his 2019 season this weekend at the Vibram Hong Kong 100k. In the following interview, Tom talks about his win at last year’s CCC, how his training has gone since then, and why he’s excited to race in Hong Kong.
Tom Evans Pre-2019 Vibram Hong Kong 100k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Tom Evans before the 2019 Vibram Hong Kong 100k. How are you, Tom?
Tom Evans, Really good, thanks. Yeah, really good. I’m really looking forward to starting the race now.
iRunFar: You’ve had a busy day.
Evans: Yeah, it’s been pretty hectic. It’s so nice being able to come to Hong Kong. It’s a long way away and I’m only here for a week, so there’s a lot of busy things to do, but it’s been beautiful. It’s been so nice to meet some of the locals and get to see some of the culture before racing on Saturday.
iRunFar: Do you have a little bit more of a low-key day tomorrow?
Evans: Yeah, tomorrow is going to be nice and chilled. I’ve been told it’s nice and chilled, so we shall see tomorrow.
iRunFar: Good. You only got in last night, Wednesday night.
Evans: Yeah, it’s been busy, but I know that’s the way to do it. I’ll chill out tomorrow, and then yea, that will be it.
iRunFar: You chatted withMeghan [Hicks] from iRunFar after your great race at the World Championships last year, third place, but since then you won CCC. Tell me a little about that.
Evans: Yeah, it was pretty crazy. I ran CCC the year before and finished fourth which I was really happy with, but I still had unfinished business. I thought, Actually, let’s go back and really try and give everything that I’ve got now that I know the course and am better prepared. I’d doubled the amount of 100ks I’d done since the last one, which was one before, so yeah, I went in with a little bit more experience. I had a sensible race and didn’t go out too hard. I sort of sat 20 minutes behind the leader at one point and managed to finish strong. I took a lot of confidence in that from my training and in my general approach to trail running and the sport in general. So I’m super happy and learned so much. I still made loads of mistakes as you do in every good race. No race goes perfectly.
iRunFar: And you’ve only a couple long ultras under your belt, so you’re going to learn along the way, right?
Evans: Yeah, CCC was my third 100k, so I’m still learning.
iRunFar: Did you take a great after that and have an off-season?
Evans: Yeah, I took time off after the CCC and then went onto the roads and did some cross country in the UK from 10k up to the half marathon. It was really nice to inject some speed in the legs and have a little different stress on the body. It went well. Then I took a little bit of a break before Christmas. Then, I had training in Gran Canaria just before Christmas for a bit of heat. When I got back into training, it’s feeling good to train with a really good group back in the UK—the AB training group—which is superb to be pushed in hard workouts. Yeah, it’s all good.
iRunFar: So you’ve had some nice variations. You’ve had some fast work with the road running and cross country and Grancanaria is obviously quite mountainous. Your racing background in the trail ultra world is quite similar. You’ve done really well at Marathon des Sables which is a fast, fast event.
Evans: Yeah, it’s not a long event. It’s fast. Yeah, you’ve got to be a marathon man.
iRunFar: Then CCC is a mountain event. So coming to Hong Kong is like that—it’s a mix of terrain.
Evans: Which is kind of the idea of doing it. Profile-wise, it’s similar to the World Championships—flattish first half and then a hilly second half which is great. I like to do my research on the course and have flown on Google images all over it. I feel like I know the course, but I haven’t actually seen it. I would have liked to have seen a bit of it, but I think it’s… I love testing myself and doing things I haven’t done before. This is one of them. I’ve never raced in Asia, and there’s a first time for everything. I’m here for the experience.
iRunFar: What does bring you to Hong Kong?
Evans: I think the race itself looks beautiful. I think trail running and running in Asia is becoming so popular. The depth and quality in… take the marathon, for example, the Japanese and Chinese in the marathon, I dread to think of how many guys are running sub-2:12. I find it incredibly inspiring, and they’re really showing signs of break-through in the trail world. At UTMB this year, it was unheard of to have Chinese athletes race so well. It was amazing to be able to race against superb Chinese athletes in the CCC. I just wanted to come here and see what it’s all about.
iRunFar: You’re going to see a heck of a lot of them on Saturday.
Evans: Yeah, and they’re going to be flying. They do slightly have a point to prove where this is very much their home trails, and they’re going to want to show us Westerners how it’s done. I can’t wait for the challenge, and I can’t wait to see them fly off at the beginning. Whether I see them again, great, and if I don’t, great again.
iRunFar: So you’ll plan to run a very steady race even with that fast terrain early?
Evans: Yeah, very much. I read a really interesting article the other day that said a lot of races are won and lost in the first three minutes. They’re just going to fly at the beginning. They’ll be doing sub-3:00 kilometer and sub-5:00 miles. Physically, I’m capable of doing it, but at CCC it worked starting off a little bit slower, and it’s very much going to be me doing my own thing still not putting any pressure on myself. If you see the lead runner with 10k to go and overtake them, then amazing, and if you don’t, all you can give is your best. Yeah, to me, on Saturday, it’s a test of character for me. I want to see how far I’ve come since CCC and run my own race and see what I’ve learned. I’ll make my own mistakes rather than get someone else to make the mistakes for me.
iRunFar: Best of luck out there, Tom.
Evans: Thanks. See you out there.