Hong Kong’s Wyan Chow came from behind to win the 2015 Vibram Hong Kong 100k. In the following interview, Wyan talks about her athletic background, how her race played out, and her structured training.
For more on what happened at this year’s race, read our article on the 2015 Hong Kong 100k.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Wyan Chow, 2015 Vibram Hong Kong 100k Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Wyan Chow after her win at the 2015 Vibram Hong Kong 100k. Congratulations.
Wyan Chow: Thank you.
iRunFar: You’ve run this race a couple times. Last year you were second. This year you came back… were you really focused on trying to win this year?
Chow: I’ve just done it twice, last year and this year. What were you asking? Sorry.
iRunFar: After your second place last year, did you really focus your training to try to win this year?
Chow: No. Last year the organizer, Janet, asked me to join the race because this race was very popular and you need to stay in home behind the computer and then when the online registration is open, you need to hurry and register.
iRunFar: But she invited you.
Chow: Yes, because I have a podium and then she invite me this year again.
iRunFar: During the race, you were not in the lead early on. You were running with me.
Chow: Yes, maybe until Checkpoint 1 we were together.
iRunFar: Yes. You were relaxed. Some of the other women went very fast.
Chow: Yes, because the first part, maybe 45k, the race is quite flat and real running. It’s like running a marathon with very fast speed.
iRunFar: You were running with a heartrate monitor?
Chow: Yes, I follow my heartrate and run in my aerobic zone and just keep on my pace.
iRunFar: That worked very well for you because after half way, you caught…
Chow: Yes, because after the half way is more uphill and hilly part, so I wanted to save my energy. This is also my strategy.
iRunFar: You caught Dong Li late in the race. She had over a half-an-hour lead ahead of you at one point, yet? You caught her and she couldn’t stay with you.
Chow: Actually, when I meet her, I invite her maybe we can go together because you run with friends and are happy and you more enjoy the race and because maybe we can talk and share some experience. Maybe she used too much energy, so then she cannot follow.
iRunFar: Have you raced her before?
Chow: Maybe a few years ago. I think we went to China to do an adventure race. There was a team of four. A team must have one female on the team. I meet her before.
iRunFar: After you passed her yesterday, did you still feel strong?
Chow: Yes, because I saw her face quite tired and I could tell also. So I just kept my pace and also stayed strong. I tried to do my personal best in this race because the weather was good and my body felt really well.
iRunFar: You live in Hong Kong. You were born in Hong Kong. Is it special to win such an important race at home?
Chow: Yes, because this is an Ultra-Trail World Series [Tour] first race. I’m very excited because I can call this a world-class race. I can win in a world-class race. This makes it very meaningful for me.
iRunFar: Does it make you want to try races around the world and see how you can race there?
Chow: Yeah, maybe, maybe.
iRunFar: Yesterday, the conditions were quite good for you. Was it cool? How was the humidity?
Chow: Actually, I got sick a few days ago and also had a fever. I don’t think I can or maybe I cannot complete the race because 100k is quite long for normal people. I just wanted to enjoy the race and meet friends there. I don’t have any splits in the race or before. Still now it’s like a dream.
iRunFar: You said you did some adventure racing in the past. What is your background in athletics or sports?
Chow: First I did triathlon, then I changed to do adventure race and then did some mountain biking. Recently, I do weightlifting and also do some body building. Yeah, different kind of sports—I like to try something new. This year I want to do some climbing.
iRunFar: You have really mixed it up, but you enjoyed the trail running?
Chow: Yes, really, because I feel really happy. I very much enjoy it. I just like running and running—running and smiling.
iRunFar: The trail running community in Hong Kong is very strong. Do you end up training with a lot of people here?
Chow: No, because I was a police officer before and I needed to have a strict duty, so I cannot have time to do some training with my friends or my teammate, so I always train alone. I also have my training program for myself. It’s very hard to find a partner to do the same program because my program is scientific and systematic. I prepare a race, I need to do some training for maybe half year or six months’ program.
iRunFar: Wow, so you’re very focused and it’s a real system to get ready for these races.
Chow: Yes. Last year after March, I don’t try and run any race again. I just focused on The North Face 100 in Hong Kong, but I replaced a girl to do the Trailwalker 100k last year on a mixed team and broke the Hong Kong record.
iRunFar: You were the fastest woman ever at the Trailwalker.
Chow: Yes, so I have more than six months to prepare a race.
iRunFar: You did run The North Face 100 just five weeks before. At that North Face race, were you very focused on it or was it in preparation for this?
Chow: Yes, I just like a party and enjoyed the race. I also want to keep standing on podiums, so if I know maybe some girls are very close to me and I need to run faster.
iRunFar: People looking here might think that you’re really young. How old are you?
Chow: I’m 37. Because I’m small and always have a big smile.
iRunFar: You did a great job here this past weekend. Congratulations and best of luck.
Chow: Thank you. Thank you, Bryon.