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Some reaction to the cancelling of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon due to the Coronavirus

Public health is our top priority. To support the government’s epidemic prevention efforts, the organiser cancelled the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon originally scheduled for February 9.  Entry fees will be fully refunded with details to be announced shortly.

Local and international racers offer their thoughts as some 70,000 people deal with the fallout and lost training time

Here was some of the reactions: 

Gone Running’s Peter Hopper, who runs a local group which has been helping numerous runners prepare for the race, said this as the news reached those training for the marathon.  

“It's of course really sad that it has been necessary to cancel the Standard Chartered,” said Hopper, who has been holding weekly training sessions for the race. “I know how people feel after training diligently leading up to this and it is a big disappointment. However, at this stage, not knowing how serious the coronavirus can be, it is better to err on the side of caution. I am sure it was not an easy decision to make.”

Mainland Chinese runners have already faced a wave of cancellations with the upcoming Wuhan and Wuxi marathons axed and others scheduled as far ahead as June provisionally suspended. The overall reaction has been that of understanding, despite many runners having already booked hotels and plane tickets.

“I was ready to run for my third year and did not think that [the race] would be cancelled not because of HK separatists making trouble, but because of an epidemic. I have just cancelled my flights and hotel,” wrote one.

A Weibo running account had similar comments, including one which stated, “I would never have thought this race would be cancelled because of this reason.”

Bhoovarahan Desikan, 52, was planning on having the 2020 edition be his 100th marathon. His first marathon was in Hong Kong in 2005 and the 2020 race would have been his 15th. He ran marathons in Seoul, Moscow, Shenzhen and Taipei all last year. He said he “fully understands” the reason for cancellation and has no complaints, and will look to another race in the near future.

“We can’t control everything in life,” said Desikan, who was going to run with a number of friends from his running group, which is based out of Tung Chung. “As long as I am fit and alive to run, there will always be a marathon around.”

Hong Kong runner Christy Yiu Kit-ching, who was targeting a top five finish in hopes of qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo before she had to pull out due to an injury, said public health and safety are paramount to the race.

“Although I have an foot injury and decided not to participate few weeks before, as one of the Hong Kong runners, I still feel disappointed with the cancellation of (the marathon),” she said.

Yiu, 31, who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, said the race has been in question for multiple reasons since this summer.

“In fact, many of us has worried about the cancellation or the arrangement of (the marathon) since last year when the draw lots was launched. I’m sure everyone has noticed that lots of competitions have also already been cancelled due to the the social violence.”

Ireland’s Caitriona Jennings, who competed for her country in the marathon during the 2012 Olympics in London, and now lives in Hong Kong, was planning on running the race February. She echoed Yiu’s statement that this was the right decision by the government.

Amy Mumford, who is a mother of five and cancer survivor, said running and competing gives her a formidable sense of self and empowerment. She said she has been getting up at three or four in the morning out in Clearwater Bay as part of her training and regular running routine.

“The coronavirus is spreading rapidly and it seems unavoidable to have had to cancel the Standard Chartered Marathon,” said the 41-year old who recently won the China Coast Marathon. “There will be many people as devastated as I am. All the training, compromise, nutrition and emotion involved. I think the most important aspect is everyone’s safety and health ... running makes my heart sing and for all those other runners out there, see you next year.”

Hong Kong expat, Aaron Tennant who is originally from the UK and was hoping to break the four hour barrier in his race, said he is definitely dealing with mixed emotions given the amount of effort he had put into his preparation.

“It is frustrating to see the training go to a waste,” said the 30-year-old. “But I completely understand the decision to cancel the marathon. I will look for an alternative, and so will the 70,000 other runners.”

(02/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

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Hong Kong canceled its largest marathon because of the coronavirus threat to the city

The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, originally scheduled for Feb. 8 and 9, will be scrapped for the first time since the bank began sponsoring it in 1997. The event involves 70,000 people this year and the government “believes it has to be canceled,” Lam said on Saturday as she raised the response level to “emergency.”

Hong Kong will face challenges on “multiple fronts” in 2020, Lam said, citing protests that have rocked the city since June and the spread of the coronavirus from China to at least 11 other countries.

“More protests and violence may come,“ she said. “An economic recession may also be something we cannot avoid. The epidemic will make matters worse for many industries.”

The government also extended school holidays for non-tertiary students to Feb. 17, and will indefinitely halt flights and rail services to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, she said.

Lam’s comments came hours after she returned to Hong Kong from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She said she was in touch with advisers while traveling and denied criticism that her trip led to a delay in taking action against the virus.

“The government will continue monitoring the situation and be open to suggestions from various sectors,” Lam said. “The Chief Executive and Financial Secretary will roll out relief measures for industries when necessary.”

Lam also said Hong Kong will source masks and seek help from China’s State Council to increase the local supply, after pharmacies across the city sold out the stocks. In contrast, her government had enacted a rare emergency rule several months ago to impose a ban on face masks as part of a crackdown on protesters.

The virus, which started in December in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan, poses a threat to Hong Kong’s economy, which is particularly vulnerable after seven months of protest that tipped the economy into recession in the third quarter. Lam has withdrawn a proposal that would’ve allowed for extraditions to China and triggered millions to rally against it, but protests have continued against abusive police tactics and eroding democratic freedoms.

(01/25/2020) ⚡AMP
by Blake Schmidt, Natalie Lung, and Fion Li
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

more...
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The Hong Kong Marathon prize money competes with major world marathons

The men’s and women’s winners of next month’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon  will each receive a cash award of US$65,000 (HK$507,000) from the organizers, a figure which does not lag far behind other major races around the world.

Although the amount remains the same as last year, the annual Hong Kong showpiece, to be held on Sunday, February 9, is still attractive to many distance runners from marathon powerhouses such as Kenya and Ethiopia, with all top 10 finishers to be rewarded.

The runner-up will receive US$30,000 with US$15,000 going to the third-placed finisher, down to US$1,000 to the runner who finishes 10th.

There will be an additional bonus for runners who can break the 42.195-kilometer course record starting from Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui to the finish in Victoria Park on the Island side. But after Barnabus Kiptum, of Kenya, set an impressive time of two hours, nine minutes and 20 seconds for the men’s in 2019 and Volha Mazuronak of Belarus’s 2:26:13, which was also set last year, it would be a touch challenge to collect that extra US$12,000 (HK$93,600) cash bonus.

But if they can’t beat the course record, there is still be a consolation prize of US$10,000 if a runner can finish below 2:10 in the men’s and 2:28 in the women’s.

Local runners may struggle to beat the overseas legions to collect the cash awards, but the best Hong Kong runner is still rewarded with a cash prize of US$3,400 (HK$26,500), down to US$200 for the 15th place finisher. 

Hong Kong runners may also find it difficult to set personal bests because of the difficult course, which involves running up to the top of Stonecutters Bridge from the 10km mark before going through the Western Harbour Tunnel when they reach the Island side. But it serves as a good opportunity to secure some prize money.

In Asia, the 2020 Tokyo Marathon, which will be held a month after the Hong Kong event, offers US$98,000 to the men’s and women’s champions as one of the six marathon majors in the world. The Seoul International Marathon, also in March, rewards each winner US$80,000, provided they can finish below 2:10 for the men’s and 2:24 for the women’s. If not, the two winners receive US$40,000 each.

The Dubai Marathon in UAE once offered a stunning cash prize of US$200,000 for the winners, but the 2020 event only sees a top prize of US$100,000, which is the same amount offered by the two Majors in the United States – the Chicago and New York City Marathons. The Boston Marathon, which began in 1897 and usually takes place on the third Monday of April, hands out the biggest cheque of US$150,000 to the 2020 champions.

At least 4,000 marathon runners have entered the IAAF “Gold Label” event in Hong Kong, including home favorite Christy Yiu Kit-ching who aims to get into the top five in the women’s category to secure her berth for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

(01/23/2020) ⚡AMP
by Chan Kin-wa
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

more...
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Kenyan Barnabus Kiptum was so far ahead of his rivals that the runner-up thought he had won

Kenyan Barnabus Kiptum was so far ahead of the chasing pack in Sunday’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon that runner-up Dawit Wolde of Ethiopia thought he had won.

After finishing third in last year’s race, 32-year-old Kiptum was out of sight and out of mind as he blazed to a new course record. The Kenyan said it felt “amazing” to win such a prestigious race in an “iconic” city like Hong Kong.

“I’m so happy,” said Kiptum. “Hong Kong is one of my favourite places, full of good people. The race had so many [people watching] and this is how races, competitions, should be.

“I had so much fun and I hope I will be invited next year to defend my record.”

What makes Kiptum’s record of two hours, nine minutes, 21 seconds even more impressive is that he was able to achieve it despite rain, wind and humidity.

“I actually thought the weather was better than last year, when it was very hot,” he said. “If you want to be a champion runner, you have to be ready for any kind of weather.”

Kiptum beat the previous record of 2:10:31 set in 2017 by Ethiopian Melaku Belachew and he claimed a US$10,000 bonus for beating a 2:09:30 target set by organisers.

He takes home US$65,000 in prize money for his efforts, the most he has ever won in his career. But he insisted that he was more pleased with the result.

“I always just want to be number one, and to finish ahead of all these good runners, I am just so happy,” said Kiptum, who was surprised at how dominant his performance was.

In fact, he was so far ahead of his competitors that second-placed Wolde did not realise he had only finished second.

“I did not even know the Kenyan guy had won already,” said the 27-year-old Wolde, who hails from Ethiopia. “I only realised when they gave me a medal that said second place and I said ‘what is this?’ I thought I had won.”

Wolde finished with a time of 02:11:11, just one second ahead of countryman Tsegaye Getachew Tadese and three seconds ahead of Kenyan Joel Kemboi Kimurer.

“I thought the fight was between us three, and I thought I won the fight,” Wolde said.

Thetrio take home US$30,000, US$15,000, and US$10,000 respectively – all decided by a few seconds’ difference.

“I am still happy with the result, and it’s not about the money, it’s the challenge,” said Wolde. “Last time I was here, I finished closer to 20th because I got injured. So I told myself, next time I come here I’m going to give a better performance. My dream is to win this race.”

(02/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

more...
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Volha Mazuronak of Belarus blew away the field at the Hong Kong Marathon winning by nearly four minutes

Volha Mazuronak of Belarus finished nearly four minutes ahead of her closest rival clicking 2:26:13 at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. Mazuronak also smashed the women’s record of 2:29:37 set by Ethiopia’s Gulume Tollesa last year also claimed the US$10,000 bonus for finishing under 2:28:00.

“I feel really tired. It was a very different course from what I’m used to,” said Mazuronak. “It was very challenging because of the humid air and strong wind, but I am very happy because today I was victorious.

“I really like Hong Kong,” she added. “The food is very good.”

Mazuronak, 29, has a long-distance pedigree, with a best of 2:23.54, a victory in the European women’s marathon in Berlin last year in 2:26.22, and a fourth place in the 2016 London Marathon among her achievements.

Kenya’s Eunice Chebichi Chumba finished second in 2:30:01, and Ethiopia’s Jemila Wortesa came third in 02:32:06.

(02/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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High humidity is going to be a challenge for the 74,000 runners at Hong Kong Marathon

Weather forecast says the maximum humidity could reach 95 per cent with temperatures set to reach 21 degrees Celsius (70F).  Experts have warned that high humidity will affect the runners at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon as the annual distance running showpiece takes to the streets on Sunday morning.

Professor Patrick Yung Shue-hang, a sports medicine expert and chairman of orthopaedics and traumatology at the Chinese University, said the conditions would be difficult for the runners.

“The main worry is the high humidity,” he said. “Coupled with a relatively warm temperature, there may be difficulties in heat dissipation for the runners, and a possibility of higher energy demand, which may result in fatigue, muscle cramp, syncope or even heatstroke.”

The doctor said the participants should wear sports gear that allows good ventilation for heat evaporation and replace fluids regularly during the race because extra energy will be required in the humid conditions.

“Runners should always pay attention to their physical condition. If it gets worse during the race, they better stop and rest,” he said. 

(02/16/2019) ⚡AMP
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

more...
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Former Kenyan runner Eunice Chumba now representing Bahrain going for the win at Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

Former Kenyan runner Eunice Chumba hopes changing her allegiance will also change her luck at this weekend’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon when she races under a Bahrain flag.

The 25-year-old, who won a silver medal in the women’s 10,000 metres at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta, is one of the favourites in the women’s marathon, at least on paper. She has a personal best time of two hours, 24 minutes and 27 seconds set in the Rotterdam marathon in 2017. And she has intimate knowledge of the Hong Kong course having competed here in 2013 when she finished fifth racing under the Kenyan banner.

“I moved to Bahrain in 2014 and then represented the country in the Asian Games and many other events,” said Chumba. “I know the Hong Kong course is very tough as it goes through tunnels and bridges but we are used to it when we train in Kenya.

“The only worry will be the weather as I know the humidity will be very high on Sunday and therefore I can’t be too aggressive in the race.”

Chumba said she would love to win in Hong Kong for Bahrain but says she won’t target a personal best because of the weather. “I only hope to beat my previous time [2:33] with an improved result this time,” she said.

Her major rival is likely to be Volha Mazuronak of Belarus, who has a personal best of 2:23:54 which she set while finishing fourth at the London Marathon in 2016.

(02/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

more...
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Defending champion 45-year-old Kenneth Mburu Mungara wants to defend his title at Kong Kong marathon this weekend

In the men’s marathon, defending champion Kenneth Mburu Mungara will attempt to make it two in a row – at the age of 45. “Age is absolutely not a problem for me,” said the Kenyan. “I want to win in Hong Kong again or else I won’t be coming back [here].”

Mungara, who will race for the third time in Hong Kong, said because runners have to negotiate “too many corners” it would make it tough for any runner.

The Kenyan runner has a personal best time of 2:07:36 but clocked only 2:13:38 when he won here last year. “The humidity is very bad and all the runners will face difficulties,” he said. “My target is always to do better than last time and I am confident of making it even though I will be a marked man as defending champion.”

2016 Hong Kong champion Mike Kiprotich, also from Kenya, is another medal contender as well as fellow countryman Tuwei Dickson, who won the 2018 Seville Marathon in a time of 2:08:18.

Meanwhile, organisers of the event said about 400 runners from the half-marathon challenge group have requested to move to a slower group after a tougher time limit was set just a week before the event.

(02/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

more...
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Leanne Szeto wants to become the top Hong Kong women’s finisher at the Standard Chartered Half

Leanne Szeto Shiu-yan is ready to put her sports running gear saga behind her as she aims to become the top Hong Kong women’s finisher again in the half marathon in Sunday’s Standard Chartered Marathon.

A prominent triathlete, Szeto received police enquiries after an anonymous complaint was made against her running with a customised sports gear that incorporated the Hong Kong bauhinia during a trail running race in Braemar Hill in mid-January.

Her jersey design could have been in violation of the laws governing the use of the regional flag and emblem. The runner put her story on social media and gained wide support from netizens.

But the 27-year-old, who will be taking part in her third half-marathon race in the annual Hong Kong showpiece, wants put her recent troubles behind her and is fully focused on running a big race over the weekend.

“I won’t use the same gear [with the Hong Kong bauhinia] at the stage as I did not want other people to make it a big thing out of it,” she said at a media function on Wednesday. “Also, the gear manufacturer may not be willing to produce this gear anymore.

“I want to focus on the race on Sunday as this is a big event in Hong Kong. My target is to finish faster than last year.”

She clocked 1:23:29 in the 2018 event which is still her personal best.

(02/13/2019) ⚡AMP
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STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG MARATHON

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events. High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times...

more...
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Hong Kong Marathon is increasing the size of their field by 4,000 in their 2019 event

The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon will welcome 4,000 more marathon runners in 2019 as organisers seek to foster a long-distance running culture in town. The annual Hong Kong showpiece, which will take place on February 17, will cater to a record 22,500 marathon runners, while the total number of runners will remain at 74,000. “There is always a great demand for the event and most of all we want to develop a culture for marathon running,” said Hong Kong Athletic Association chairman Kwan Kee. “The annual event has been running over 20 years and it’s time we produced more runners in the marathon category.” (08/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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44-Year-Old Former Barber Wins Hong Kong Marathon

When Bonsa Dida Direba was born in 1995, Kenneth Mburu Mungara was already 21 years old. But it was experience rather than youth that won the day at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon Sunday. The 44-year-old Kenyan, a former barber who was only enticed to the sport in his 30s when he cut the hair of other runners, finished in 2:13:38, with Direba just five seconds back. Ethiopia’s Gulume Tollesa defended her title with a course record of 2:29:37. (01/21/2018) ⚡AMP
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Belachew will defend his crown at hong kong marathon

Melaku Belachew danced on the finish line after breaking the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon men’s record last year – and we could get to see some more of his moves on Sunday if all goes according to plan for the Ethiopian. “I feel good now, I will win this – again!” he finished the 2017 race in 2:10:31, said as he gave a thumbs-up sign. Belachew was feeling confident. “Yes, I will do it, I will break my course record,” he added. “I think everything will be OK, I am in good condition.” (01/20/2018) ⚡AMP
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Belachew and Tollesa aim to retain their titles

Defending Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon champions Melaku Belachew and Gulume Tollesa are aiming to win back-to-back titles. The Ethiopian duo were unexpected winners in close races 12 months ago, but on Sunday they will line up for the race with the added weight of expectation. Belachew will be joined by fellow Kenyans Robert Kwambai and Joseph Aperumoi, who have set respective PBs of 2:08:14 and 2:08:26 within the past three months, 2016 Hong Kong winner Mike Mutai. (01/19/2018) ⚡AMP
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Zero Yu Hin-wa ready for Hong Kong marathon

Short-distance specialist Zero Yu Hin-wa knows this weekend’s race is another chance to impress the national team coaches. For many, the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon is meant to be a bit of fun or a personal challenge. But for short-distance specialist Zero Yu Hin-wa, the pressure is on in front of watchful eyes. "my aim is to run 1:08:00 or 1:09:00. There’s time to improve and I want to be a Hong Kong representative at this distance,” he says. (01/18/2018) ⚡AMP
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