Having won the Vibram Hong Kong 100km in January, Fuzhao Xiang turns her sights on Transgrancanaria this weekend. In the following interview, Xiang talks about why she’s continually improved in recent years, why she races so much, why she’s running Transgrancanaria, and what her running goal is for the year.
[Thanks to JJ Zhang for translating!]
Fuzhao Xiang Pre-2020 Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Fuzhao Xiang before the 2020 Transgrancanaria. How are you?
Fuzhao Xiang: [With translation by JJ Zhang] I feel very great because after the Vibram Hong Kong 100km there was no more race anymore, so I’ve been preparing for this race.
iRunFar: Okay. The last time we spoke, you finished in second position at Vibram Hong Kong 100k [last year]. Before that you were fourth, third, second, and then this year you won. How does it feel to finally be the champion?
Xiang: I feel very awesome. I must get better, step by step. I still feel there’s a lot of room for me to get better.
iRunFar: To what do you attribute your improvement, having improved for so many years in a row?
Xiang: I got better by taking on a lot of races in China. I got a lot of experience, which allowed me to get better.
iRunFar: I did notice that you race a lot. How many times did you race last year?
Xiang: I’m not sure. But sometimes once per week there was a race.
iRunFar: That’s a lot of kilometers of racing last year, yes?
Xiang: Yes. Different races, different situations, different kilometers [distances] to get more experience and to get better.
iRunFar: And you’ve been getting more experience racing outside of China. You’ve now raced a few times in Europe. How do you enjoy racing in Europe?
Xiang: I will go to more races in Europe and I will participate in more UTWT [Ultra-Trail World Tour] series races. I come to race, and I think of this as a journey. I will see different cities and get a lot of different experiences.
iRunFar: So, you also enjoy the travel, and getting to see new places and cultures?
Xiang: I really enjoy it. I went to a race for a journey, and went on a journey for a race [Zhang laughs].
iRunFar: It’s the same for me when I race in China. So, why are you at Transgrancanaria specifically?
Xiang: Because the Transgrancanaria run is in the UTWT series. It’s kind of important because the race is worth 1,500 points. I want to rank higher than last year. Last year, I ranked 10th. Maybe this year I will get higher. It’s a very important race [toward that goal].
iRunFar: Do you have a specific goal in mind for improving your ranking?
Xiang: I don’t have a specific goal, but I’ve already registered for the Ultra-Trail Australia, Lavaredo Ultra Trail…
iRunFar: How about UTMB?
Xiang: Of course!
iRunFar: Of course. [laughs]
Xiang: I have registered for all of those races but maybe if I do well at this race, I will quit Ultra-Trail Australia, maybe, but UTMB is important. The most important race of them.
iRunFar: Now, for people outside of China, sometimes it’s hard to know how the races there rank in terms of competition. Do you think your win at the Vibram Hong Kong 100km is your best ultramarathon performance so far?
Xiang: Vibram Hong Kong is a little different from the races in Europe because of the uphills, the weather, and the food. So, yes.
iRunFar: Well, good luck at Transgrancanaria. And thank you, JJ.