The winner of the Vibram Hong Kong 100k today (January 27) has been disqualified following allegations of littering and receiving support outside of allowed areas.

Jing Liang, who beat Min Qi and US runner Alex Nichols, has officially been disqualified, with China’s Qi now the race winner. The 9:28:36 winning time is also a course record, previously held by Francois d’Haene.

iRunFar is covering the first race of the year in the Ultra-Trail World Tour from Hong Kong and announced news of the disqualification.

The organisers then officially said the disqualification was because Liang “accepted outside assistance”. It seems the runner grabbed a bottle of water from a hiker and then threw the bottle to the ground afterwards.

Within trail ultra racing there is a very strict set of rules with regards to littering as runners will often pass through miles and miles of beautiful nature and there isn’t someone clearing up afterwards. It is the runner’s responsibility to respect the environment.

Outside assistance is also limited to checkpoints and is banned in certain races. In the humid conditions of the Hong Kong 100k, additional water en route would certainly be beneficial and Liang only won by mere seconds.

The women’s race was won in spectacular style by North Face athlete Miao Yao of China in a course record 10:40 – almost 40 minutes off the previous best.

Last year, Yao averaged 14.95kph for a trail 60km race in China, finishing ahead two Kenyan athletes, and is certainly one to watch in 2018 on the world stage.

British runner Harry Jones was fifth in the men’s race and in the women’s event Sarah Morwood finished sixth.