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Articles tagged #Hong Kong
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Kenyan Anderson Seroi conquers Hong Kong Marathon

Kenya's Anderson Seroi wins Hong Kong Marathon, vows to return for a faster finish amid strong international competition.

Kenya’s Anderson Saitoti Seroi triumphed in the Hong Kong Marathon completing the grueling course in an impressive time of two hours, 12 minutes, and 50 seconds. 

Seroi's victory came amidst challenging conditions, yet his resolve remained unshaken as he immediately set his sights on returning next year for an even swifter conquest.

The race, held on Sunday, saw Seroi narrowly outpace South Africa’s seasoned runner Stephen Mokoka, who secured the second spot with a time of 2:12:58.

 Mekuant Ayenew from Ethiopia rounded out the top three, finishing in 2:13:09.

 This year's marathon was marked by a moderate temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) at the start, providing somewhat ideal conditions for the runners.

In the women’s category, Ethiopia’s Medina Armino emerged victorious, clocking in at 2:28:47. 

She was closely followed by Beatrice Cheptoo and Gadise Mulu, who completed the race in 2:29:30 and 2:29:46, respectively. 

Despite the physical toll of the race, Seroi's spirit remained high. 

Post-race, he expressed his gratitude and affection for the city of Hong Kong. 

“First of all, I want to thank God for the win, but also Hong Kong, it’s a beautiful city,” Seroi said. 

“I feel really good, the course is tough but I enjoy running it.” His determination was evident, as he pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion, even experiencing sickness after crossing the finish line.

Seroi, 30, is already planning his return, aiming to shatter his current record.

 "I ran two hours 12 this year, so next year I’ll aim for two hours 10," he stated, showcasing his relentless ambition.

 His 2024 goal is a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence in the sport.

In a historical context, Seroi's time this year marks a significant achievement, but it also serves as a reminder of the fiercely competitive nature of the marathon.

 In 2023, a time of 2:12:00, achieved by Senbeta Geza Tadease, was only good enough for third place, highlighting the continually evolving standards in marathon running.

The event also doubled as the Asian Marathon Championships, where India’s Man Singh claimed gold with a time of 2:14:19. 

He was followed by China’s Huang Yongzheng and Kyrgyzstan’s Ilya Tiapkin, who finished in 2:15:24 and 2:18:17, respectively.

(01/22/2024) Views: 201 ⚡AMP
by Festus Chuma
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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Defending champion Philimon Kipchumba faces stern test at Xiamen Marathon

Defending champion Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba will be out to defend his Xiamen Marathon title as he is up against a strong field.

Defending champion Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba will be hoping to defend his title as he gears up to face tough opponents at the Xiamen Marathon on Sunday, January 7.

Kipchumba will face a stern test since 12 men, including the Kenyan, have personal best times faster than the course record of 2:06:19 set by Moses Mosop in 2015.

The 25-year-old Kenyan will arrive in Xiamen with high spirits since he remained unbeaten last year, winning all three of his marathon races and he will keenly be hoping to maintain the same momentum this season.

After a 2:10:47 victory in Hong Kong last February, he clocked 2:08:04 to win in Xiamen and continued his winning streak in Shanghai in November with a winning mark of 2:05:35, beating Mosop’s course record in Xiamen to become the Chinese all-comers’ record-holder.

Former world half marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie will also be pursuing his first-ever marathon title in Xiamen.

Chalu Deso of Ethiopia is also a formidable competitor after finishing seventh behind Kandie in Valencia last month in 2:05:14 and his career best of 2:04:53 was also achieved in the Spanish city in 2020.

Last year, Deso claimed the Tokyo Marathon title in 2:05:22 and he also owns marathon titles in Paris and Porto to his name. After outings in Nanjing and Dalian in 2018, the Xiamen Marathon will be Deso’s third race in China.

Philemon Kiplimo of Kenya is another sub-2:05 runner in the field and unlike Kandie and Deso, Kiplimo will arrive in the Chinese coastal city on fresh legs. His last marathon race was contested more than three months ago when he clocked a PB of 2:04:56 to finish eighth in Berlin.

Also toeing the line are several sub-2:06 runners, including Moroccan record-holder Othmane El Goumri, who set a PB of 2:05:12 to finish second in Barcelona last March and went on to win the Sydney Marathon in 2:08:20 six months later.

Meanwhile, the women’s race will see Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase also take on a tough field. The Ethiopian clocked a Personal Best time of 2:18:11 when claiming the world title in Oregon in July 2022.

She also registered another sub-2:20 mark when finishing third at the 2022 Tokyo Marathon in 2:18:18 and took a 2:20:09 victory at the Berlin Marathon in 2021.

Fellow Ethiopian Megertu Alemu is the fastest woman on paper with a career-best of 2:17:09 and will be joined by Ruti Aga, also from Ethiopia.

Other women to watch in the field include Tanzanian marathon and half marathon record-holder Magdalena Shauri, whose PB of 2:18:41 was set last September when finishing third at the Berlin Marathon, as well as Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi of Morocco, a 2:25:03 performer who claimed the marathon bronze medal at last year’s World Championships in Budapest.

(01/06/2024) Views: 152 ⚡AMP
by Abigael Wuafula
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CD XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

CD XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

The C&D Xiamen International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, People’s Republic of China. Every January, the first medal of marathon race around the world is awarded here. The race has become a golden name card of Xiamen, showing its splendor to the whole world.It is one of...

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Ethiopians Gebreslase, Alemu and Aga set to race in Xiamen

The Xiamen Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, on Sunday (7) will witness the fastest marathon pack ever assembled in China, with 2022 world champion Gotytom Gebreslase heading a stacked field in the women’s race.

The 28-year-old Gebreslase of Ethiopia clocked her personal best of 2:18:11 when claiming the world title in Oregon in July 2022. She also registered another sub-2:20 mark when finishing third at the 2022 Tokyo Marathon in 2:18:18 and took a 2:20:09 victory at the Berlin Marathon in 2021.

Last year, Gebreslase clocked 2:24:34 to grab a silver medal at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, which remains her last outing over the classic distance.

It will be the first time for Gebreslase to compete in Xiamen, a southeastern Chinese city, and she will be targeting not only the title, but also the course record of 2:19:52 set by her compatriot Mare Dibaba back in 2015.

Fellow Ethiopian Megertu Alemu is the fastest woman on paper with a career best of 2:17:09 achieved last October when finishing third at the Chicago Marathon.

Aside from having the fastest PB of the field, the 26-year-old has shown great consistency in the past two years, registering sub-2:19 marks in all her four races including notching a 2:18:51 victory at the 2022 Seville Marathon and finishing second and third respectively in the 2022 and 2023 London Marathon races.

Ruti Aga, also from Ethiopia, is another serious title contender. The 29-year-old clocked a PB of 2:18:09 to win the Yellow River Estuary Marathon in Dongying, China, last October, improving the Chinese all-comers’ record.

Aga also won the Tokyo Marathon in 2:20:40 in 2019 and has earned three runner-up finishes in major marathon races, including a 2:18:34 second place in the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

Other women to watch in the field include Tanzanian marathon and half marathon record-holder Magdalena Shauri, whose PB of 2:18:41 was set last September when finishing third at the Berlin Marathon, as well as Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi of Morocco, a 2:25:03 performer who claimed the marathon bronze medal at last year’s World Championships in Budapest.

Kipchumba defends title

Defending champion Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba will face a tough contest in the men’s race, as a total of 12 runners in the field own a career best time faster than the course record of 2:06:19 set by Moses Mosop of Kenya in 2015.

The 25-year-old Kipchumba will arrive in Xiamen with high spirits. He remained unbeaten last year, winning all three of his marathon races. After a 2:10:47 victory in Hong Kong last February, he clocked 2:08:04 to win in Xiamen and continued his winning streak in Shanghai in November with a winning mark of 2:05:35, beating Mosop’s course record in Xiamen to become the Chinese all-comers’ record-holder.

Kenyan half marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie is also on the rise. The 27-year-old registered a PB of 2:04:48 to finish sixth in Valencia one month ago and will be pursuing his first ever marathon title in Xiamen.

Ethiopia’s Chalu Deso, 26, is also a formidable competitor. He finished seventh behind Kandie in Valencia last month in 2:05:14 and his career best of 2:04:53 was also achieved in the Spanish city in 2020.

Last year, Deso claimed the Tokyo Marathon title in 2:05:22. He also has marathon titles in Paris and Porto to his name. After outings in Nanjing and Dalian in 2018, the Xiamen Marathon will be Deso’s third race in China.

Philemon Kiplimo of Kenya is another sub-2:05 runner in the field and unlike Kandie and Deso, Kiplimo will arrive in the Chinese coastal city on fresh legs. His last marathon race was contested more than three months ago when he clocked a PB of 2:04:56 to finish eighth in Berlin.

Also toeing the line are several sub-2:06 runners, including Moroccan record-holder Othmane El Goumri, who set a PB of 2:05:12 to finish second in Barcelona last March and went on to win the Sydney Marathon in 2:08:20 six months later.

(01/05/2024) Views: 187 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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CD XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

CD XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

The C&D Xiamen International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, People’s Republic of China. Every January, the first medal of marathon race around the world is awarded here. The race has become a golden name card of Xiamen, showing its splendor to the whole world.It is one of...

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Elite runners confirmed for 5th Abu Dhabi Marathon

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Sports Council has announced the star-studded line-up of international runners for the fifth ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon 2023.

An estimated 23,000 runners are expected to take part in the Dec. 16 event competing in the marathon (42.195 km), marathon relay, 10 km, 5 km, and 2.5 km races.

All races will commence at different locations near the ADNOC headquarters on Corniche Road and finish at the ADNOC Campus, near Bainuna public park.

Uganda’s Andrew Kwemoi, winner of the 2023 Milano Marathon — where he hit a personal best of 2:07:14 — will be joined by Kenya’s Kiptum Barnabas, who finished first in both the 2019 Hong Kong Marathon and the Buenos Aires Marathon in 2017. Barnabas’ compatriot, Leonard Barsoton, will also be competing in this year’s race, having set his own personal best of 2:09:06 in 2023.

The women’s race will feature Ethopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, the 10 km Olympic champion 2017 Chicago Marathon winner. Joining her in the strong elite female line-up, also from Ethiopia, will be Hawi Feysa (2:23:38), and Maurine Chepkemoi from Kenya, the 2022 Enschede Marathon winner.

Suhail Al-Arifi, executive director of the events sector at Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “We are thrilled to welcome a group of top international runners for the upcoming fifth edition of the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon next month.

“Their participation highlights the event’s significance locally and globally. The presence of well-known runners in this year’s line-up reaffirms Abu Dhabi’s and the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon’s success in gaining international recognition in long-distance running.

“We’re delighted to invite people from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds to join us in celebrating physical fitness.

“Regardless of your fitness level, there’s a distance tailored just for you. We encourage everyone to be part of this enriching sports day on the streets of Abu Dhabi, the global capital of sports,” Al-Arifi added.

This year’s Marathon Village will again be located at ADNOC headquarters and will be accessible from Dec. 12 up until race day on Dec. 16.

(11/17/2023) Views: 284 ⚡AMP
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ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon

ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon

The Abu Dhabi Marathon is shaping up to being first class marathon for both elite runners and average runners as well. Take in the finest aspects of Abu Dhabi's heritage, modern landmarks and the waters of the Arabian Gulf, at this world-class athletics event, set against the backdrop of the Capital's stunning architecture.The race offered runners of all abilities the...

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What is the UTMB? Meet trail running’s most difficult race

We answer all of your questions about this hellacious footsport event

If you’re starting to dip your toes into the crazy sport of ultrarunning, a couple of things will happen. First, you’re going to need several pairs of the best trail running shoes in rotation at any given time to put up with all those miles pounding rocky trails, and second, it won’t be long before you hear mention of the UTMB. 

In fact, I recently attended the Arc’teryx Alpine Academy in Chamonix which holds a number of trail running clinics, and over the course of four days it was rare to have a conversation where the UTMB didn’t come up. Other participants in the academy wanted to know if our mountain guides had run it, how many times and whether they liked it (they don’t, considering it a tourist event) and mountain guides were keen to complain about how busy it made their favorite running trail.

But what is the UTMB exactly? Is it the ultimate goal for all trail runners? Why is it so hard? Here, we answer all of your questions about this hellacious footsport event.

What is the UTMB race?

UTMB stands for Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc and is considered one of the world's premier trail ultra marathons. This demanding annual event follows the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc, a classic long distance hiking trail which circles the Mont Blanc Massif over 106 miles and passes through France, Switzerland and Italy. The UTMB begins and ends in Chamonix and is regarded as one of the most difficult races in the world. 

The race takes place on the last weekend of August or first weekend of September and is today the ultimate in a series of events that take place around the world. Runners from all over the world aspire to compete in the UTMB. In the first year of the race, there were 700 participants, but these days, participation is capped at around 2,300 runners and other events have been created to allow for more participation. 

The maximum cutoff for the race is 46.5 hours. In 2022, Kilian Jornet became the first to complete the UTMB in less than 20 hours (check out his race data to find out how he managed it) but most mere mortals can expect to have to run for two days and two nights to complete the race. Better bring some running gels then! 

How does the UTMB race work?

Due to the event’s extreme popularity, you need to qualify to run the UTMB. That involves accumulating points through qualifying trail races over a two-year period. Qualifying races take place all over the world, from elsewhere in the Alps to Snowdonia, California, Mexico, Hong Kong and Australia. So if you’re serious about participating, you’ll have lots of time to train.

For each event you participate in and complete you’ll receive one running stone, which you can then enter into the lottery to be selected. You can enter the lottery at the UTMB website. 

Why is UTMB so hard?

Besides the fact that at over 100 miles, it’s very long, competitors in the UTMB are also looking at 32,940 feet of elevation gain. In comparison, over roughly the same distance you could run the Leadville 100 in Colorado and gain only 11,000 feet (though at much higher altitude) or the West Highland Way in Scotland where you’d gain 10,300 feet.

The highest point of the route is 8,743 feet, which you’ll reach twice, in both Switzerland and France. That’s not extremely high altitude and it’s unlikely you’d experience altitude sickness at that height, but you’ll definitely notice shortness of breath and more challenging conditions, especially if you’re not already used to this altitude.

What you can also expect is more extreme conditions that come with trail running in the Alps. The altitude combined with the season means that the days might be swelteringly hot, while the temperatures at night could drop down around freezing at night. 

How much does it cost to enter UTMB?

In 2023, the UTMB itself cost €335 to enter, plus administration fees. Of course, you’ll also have to pay registration fees for your qualifying events too. Your race will also include the cost of traveling to and from Chamonix, and accommodation while you’re there, but on the plus side the aid stations will be on hand to feed you during the race so you can save a little on those pricey Chamonix restaurants.

How many people have died in UTMB?

Sadly, deaths do occur in ultrarunning events and it’s perhaps more remarkable that for 17 years, no fatalities occurred during the UTMB, which not only places runners’ under extreme physical stress but entails a lot of night running. There have now been two deaths of runners in the UTMB, occurring in 2021 and 2022, both as the result of falls.

Do people sleep during UTMB?

Some runners somehow manage to do the UTMB without sleeping at all while others do sleep, but they’re not carrying a bivy sack and grabbing eight hours if that’s what you’re wondering. Sleeping during the UTMB looks like cat napping, and according to a 2015 study of 17 UTMB runners, the average time spent resting was between 12 and 17 minutes in total, and hallucinations were a common complaint, understandably.

Can you walk the UTMB?

Can you walk the UTMB? Well, yeah you could. Since the race is 106 miles and you have 46.5 hours to complete it, you technically could walk at a 2.3 mile per hour pace without any breaks and make the cutoff. Obviously though, you could just walk it at a time when the race isn't going on, save yourself €335 and enjoy far fewer people on the trail.

In all seriousness though, if you don’t already know, ultrarunning is actually hiking, and you’re not going to be running at the same pace you do on the tarmac back home. Even Jornet ran at an adjusted pace of around five miles per hour which isn’t exactly turbo speed (though it is if you maintain that for 20 hours). You’ll most likely walk the uphills and slow down or walk for rest periods, making up time on the downhills. And sorry, there aren’t many flats to speak of.

 

(07/23/2023) Views: 498 ⚡AMP
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2023 Western States 100 Women’s Race

None of the first four women from last year’s race — Ruth Croft, Ailsa MacDonald, Marianne Hogan, Luzia Buehler — returned. That made Zimbabwe’s Emily Hawgood (pre-race interview) the highest returning finisher from 2022. Hawgood’s pretty much a race local now too, living in nearby Roseville, California. But it was 38-year-old Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race interview) that came into the race as a favorite. She won here in 2018 in 17:27 and was looking to avenge a late drop at the 2019 race.

Dauwalter was first up the Escarpment. At 2,500 feet, it’s the race’s biggest climb and it happens right away in the first three miles. But 2022 UTMB winner Katie Schide (pre-race interview) was right there too. Schide, an American who’s lived in France for the past seven years, hit the top in 46 minutes with Dauwalter and the two dropped into the Granite Chief Wilderness together. Already Dauwalter and Schide, age 31, had a three-minute lead on third-place Ida Nilsson (pre-race interview) from Sweden.

By mile 11, Lyon Ridge, Dauwalter and Schide’s lead on third-place Nilsson had ballooned to eight minutes. And then it got even bigger as the two completely broke away from everyone else. At mile 16, Red Star Ridge, no one was within 14 minutes of the front two. Nilsson, Hawgood, 2023 Black Canyon 100k winner Keely Henninger (pre-race interview), Taylor Nowlin, professional triathlete-turned-ultrarunner Heather Jackson, Canada’s Priscilla Forgie and Jenny Quilty, and 2022 sixth-place finisher Leah Yingling (pre-race interview) all ran inside the early top 10.

The Mosquito Fire limited crew access this year and everyone met their crews for the first time at mile 30, Robinson Flat. Dauwalter was in at 5:07 and out within a minute, and still on her 2019 splits. Schide took a longer break and changed shoes, exiting the aid station three minutes behind the leader. The two had completely broken open the women’s race. Nilsson, in her 100-mile debut, had been alone in third to this point, but was now joined by Henninger, Hawgood, and Nowlin.

At mile 34, Miller’s Defeat, the course record watch started. Dauwalter and Schide were under Dauwalter’s own 2019 splits and Ellie Greenwood’s 2012 course record pace. Dauwalter was five minutes up on Greenwood’s splits, and Schide was three minutes faster. Even more, the two were over 30 minutes in front of third-place Hawgood at mile 38. Dauwalter and Schide were out front for the win and the course record, and the other contenders grouped behind them.

Dauwalter was red hot up the Devil’s Thumb climb at mile 48, but Schide hadn’t given up much time. She took longer in aid and left six minutes after Dauwalter. Hawgood, Nowlin, and Henninger came in together next, now 40 minutes behind second-place Schide.

At Foresthill, Dauwalter was 25 minutes up on record pace. Schide conceded only another two minutes over the last stretch and was 11 minutes behind Dauwalter. While Dauwalter and Schide were still off the front, the race dynamic was heating up behind. The third- through eighth-place women were all in Foresthill together with only three minutes separation. Hawgood was there first among the chase group, but Hungarian living in Hong Kong Eszter Csillag quickly jumped from eighth at mile 52 to fourth at mile 62. Nilsson was fifth, and Henninger, Katie Asmuth, and Nowlin were all there too.

Dauwalter ran 2:10 from mile 62 Foresthill to mile 78 at the American River. Only the men’s winner would run a quicker split on this day, and only eight men have ever run a faster split in the race. Dauwalter was five levels better than everyone else, and she was boldly racing without a pacer too. Schide stayed comfortably in second, but fell further behind Dauwalter’s quickening pace and river conditions necessitated that everyone cross the American River in a boat this year.

From Foresthill to the river, Katie Asmuth vaulted into third, past Eszter Csillag and Ida Nilsson. Asmuth was seventh at Foresthill and picked up four spots on the downhill Cal Street stretch, outrunning common expectations in coming back from injury. All three women split faster from Foresthill to the river than Schide did and even if the front two were gone, the women in general were running really fast. There’s bound to be some bad luck in a 100 miler though, and Henninger fell just before the river and dislocated her shoulder. She would then drop from the race at mile 80, Green Gate, due to that injury.

Dauwalter’s incredible second half and incredible race brought her to the Placer High School track finish in 15:29. Dauwalter completely shattered the record books and set a new standard that is likely to last for a lifetime. Ellie Greenwood’s 16:47 course record had stood since 2012. Dauwalter will next race the high altitude 2023 Hardrock 100 in Silverton, Colorado, on July 14. Dauwalter is the Hardrock course record holder, too, but Western States plus Hardrock will certainly be a challenging double.

Schide challenged Dauwalter early, and outpaced the rest of the women’s field in doing so. Schide was in second for much of the day, ultimately finishing as runner up in 16:43. That was also under the old course record.

Csillag, who was fifth at the 2022 UTMB, had a remarkable second half to finish third in 17:09. It is the race’s fourth-fastest run ever. And she just edged out Asmuth, who moved up from last year’s ninth-place run to finish fourth in 17:21. Asmuth’s time was just inside of Ruth Croft’s winning time from last year, and is the race’s fifth-fastest ever.

Hawgood earned a second straight fifth-place finish. In 2022 she was able to finish fifth in 18:16 and in this year’s faster race Hawgood was fifth in 17:26. That time ranks eighth-best ever and is just faster than what Dauwalter ran to win in 2018.

Taylor Nowlin improved her finish place by one from prior year, but like Hawgood greatly improved her finish time. Nowlin was sixth in 17:40. One-hundred-mile debutante Ida Nilsson was seventh in 17:43, and Priscilla Forgie was just minutes back in eighth at 17:46. Leah Yingling was a repeat top-10 finisher in ninth at 17:49. For perspective, no year had seen more than three women finish under 18 hours before. But this year nine women finished under 18 hours. It is the new standard for women’s racing at Western States.

The 25-year-old Meghan Morgan took the prized 10th-place finish in 18:11, thereby guaranteeing a chance to automatically return next year.

(06/25/2023) Views: 552 ⚡AMP
by Justin Mock I Run Far
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Western States 100

Western States 100

The Western States ® 100-Mile Endurance Run is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race. Starting in Squaw Valley, California near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ending 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California, Western States, in the decades since its inception in 1974, has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the...

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Celebrity Kung Fu Monk Yan Ming Can’t Stop Running

One of the world’s leading kung fu masters has trained the Wu-Tang Clan, Björk, and Wesley Snipes. Running is central to his training. Here’s whyThough Shi Yan Ming is a world-renowned kung fu master, he was lucky to survive a poverty-stricken childhood as a peasant in China.

He was born in 1964 in Henan Province, the heart-center of the country, where Chinese civilization is said to have originated, and food was scarce. Two siblings died of starvation prior to Yan Ming’s birth, and he was a very sickly child.

Fearing the same fate might befall him, his parents brought Yan Ming to the door of a 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple. He was taken in by the monks there and began to live by the grueling schedule of a kung fu disciple—training, practicing, meditating, and running. His health, along with his skill, improved rapidly.

“I was running a lot in China,” recalled Shifu (an honorary title meaning “master” or “teacher”). “The temple was built in the woods, in a mountain range; I was running to build strength and endurance.”

In some ways, he has been running ever since.

In 1992, Shifu was part of a group of Shaolin monks invited to perform on a U.S. tour. The temple in which he was raised had been the original Shaolin Temple, dating back to 495 A.D., and the lineage of monks practicing kung fu and Chan Buddhism (also known as Zen) helped establish Shaolin as one of the most graceful and disciplined martial arts. Shifu, a 34th generation master, and his fellow monks gained renown for their craft and were quickly invited to display their skills on international tours.

After a show in San Francisco, California, he escaped his hotel room in the middle of the night and made his way by bus to New York City. He started the first Shaolin Temple in America in Chinatown, waking up early to go on training runs across the Brooklyn Bridge. In the intervening 30-plus years, he has taught countless others, from RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan to Björk to Wesley Snipes. He’s also appeared in several movies and helped spread the practice that has been his way of life.

Running is championed by many martial artists as a way to train both body and mind. Bruce Lee called running “the king of exercises,” and had a remarkably consistent routine to support his training. As an activity grounded in form, repetition, and discipline, it is no surprise that it is considered an essential part of training both physical and mental resilience. In recent years, Shaolin monks have even gone viral for their ability to “run” across water.

To Shifu, running is a form of “action meditation.” In kung fu, everything is an opportunity to hone one’s skill and wisdom. “Speaking is meditation,” noted Shifu. “Walking is meditation. Jogging is meditation. Everybody has different abilities. To help people individually, you can’t use one approach.”Such diversity of teachings is at the heart of the welcoming nature of the temple and Shifu’s ability to meet students where they are.

In doing so, Shifu aims to spread the Shaolin teachings of self-actualization, dignity, and compassion to as many people as possible. It is this spirit of inclusivity and access to a life-changing practice that has drawn so many to the temple.

Kirby Koo, a disciple of Shifu’s and the manager of the USA Shaolin Temple, stumbled into Shifu’s orbit seven years ago with the vague idea of getting in touch with her roots (she was raised partly in Hong Kong). After moving to New York, a childhood friend had told her that if she ever wanted to do kung fu, the best master on the planet was right there in Chinatown. She checked it out and hasn’t looked back.

“When you come from the depths of extreme poverty to training celebrities and being in Hollywood, you understand that everyone’s going through a journey and that we’re all the same,” Koo said, referring to Shifu’s ability to connect with people from all walks of life. “In the temple, everyone’s wearing the same uniform, everyone’s doing the same moves, and it doesn’t matter where you come from or what your bank account is.”Still, embracing running was not something Koo envisioned when starting kung fu.

“I used to be the type of person to be like, ‘When I run…I’m only running if it’s for my life,’” she said. Yet now Koo sees running as a form of meditation, a way to further the spiritual, mental, and physical training of kung fu by practicing with the whole body.

“Before training kung fu, I always understood that exercises are for different parts of your body—you do a bicep curl, you stretch your hamstring. But in order to maximize your power, speed, and endurance, in kung fu you use every part of your body for every move.”

Running is championed by many martial artists as a way to train both body and mind. Bruce Lee called running “the king of exercises.”

“Shifu says that the true gym is when you look into the jungle,” continued Koo. “Animals don’t lift weights. If you watch a cheetah, they use all their muscles to leap into the air and then they continue running, they don’t just use singular body parts.”

Look upon a trail or road and you might notice the same thing about a runner leaping and bounding with all of their muscles firing. This sense of a whole-body pursuit that is as much action as it is meditation—should one choose to perceive it that way—is perhaps where kung fu and running intersect.

At 59, Shifu doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Whenever he talks about practice, it is with language that is both nurturing and fierce, indicating the support and discipline required to inspire growth and maintain form.

“We are getting younger every day. We can work on getting younger every year,” said Shifu. “If you don’t sharpen a blade, it becomes rusty. We need to discipline ourselves to exercise. Young body, noble mind. Keep challenging yourself. Exercise your precious life.”As Koo noted, her job at the USA Shaolin Temple would be a lot easier if Shifu wasn’t committed to teaching all day, every day.

As the manager, Koo wouldn’t mind if the master slowed down once in a while and was more available for other aspects of temple administration. He has eschewed the potentially lucrative route that some masters of his renown might opt for, teaching only privately and emerging once in a while for a public showcase. But that is not Shifu; his aim is to make the temple and teachings available to all.

“If you’ve ever met anyone who knows what their life purpose is, rain or shine, that’s him,” said Koo. “That’s why he’s on Earth.”

Shifu wouldn’t disagree. “We have to take every opportunity we have to help out as many people as possible,” said Shifu, invoking the Buddhist roots at the heart of kung fu practice. “That’s why we’re here. You spread the word and help more people. That’s meditation.”

To Shifu, every moment, whether one is engaged in stillness or action, can be part of a way of life that is useful, powerful, and compassionate. And that is why, after all these years, Shifu is still running.

(06/21/2023) Views: 482 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online
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You Can Earn $1,250 If You Break This Time at the Hong Kong Marathon

However, the prize-earning time standards make it easier for male runners to earn cash than female runners.

Turns out, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to earn money from running. The Hong Kong Marathon on February 12 is giving out 10,000 Hong Kong dollars (about $1,277 USD) to every male finisher under 3:00 and every female finisher under 3:30 who are permanent residents of Hong Kong. 

“We estimate there may be around 300 to 350 runners that can reach the standard,” Simon Yeung Sai Mo, senior vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates, told South China Morning Post. That means the Hong Kong Marathon is prepared to give out nearly $400,000 in prizes to non-professional athletes.

In a email to Runner’s World, the Hong Kong Marathon shared the following statement:“The increase in prize money is a ‘one-off’ special award this year to celebrate the 25th edition of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. Participants in the Marathon Challenge Category, who are also permanent residents of Hong Kong, finishing marathon under 3 hours (sub 3) for men and under 3 hours 30 minutes for women (sub 3:30) will be awarded with the Special Incentive Award HKD10,000, which is 10 times the amount of the same awards in previous marathons.”

According to numbers crunched by South China Morning Post, 147 participants finished below 3:00 in the men’s race in 2018. In the women’s race that year, there were only 52 runners that finished below 3:30.

The women’s time standard is more challenging than the men’s. According to World Athletics scoring tables, a 3:00 marathon by a male runner is equivalent to a 3:50:18 marathon by a female runner. The Hong Kong Marathon prize-earning standard for women is 3:30, so female runners have a harder challenge by 20 minutes—that comes out to 46 seconds per mile.

In the statement to Runner’s World, the Hong Kong Marathon clarified the reasoning for the standards: “Based on previous records, the men to women [participation] ratio is approximately 8:2.”

On the professional side, the Hong Kong Marathon offers $30,000 to the individual winners in the men’s and women’s races. Professional men who finish faster than 2:10 and women who finisher faster than 2:28 earn an additional $10,000. The course record bonus is $12,000; the men’s record stands at 2:09:20, the women’s at 2:26:13. 

The Hong Kong Marathon first occurred in 1997. It has been run every year since, with the exception of 2020 and 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, this year’s race is the 25th edition. 

(01/29/2023) Views: 18,632 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Ethiopia’s Asefa Mengstu breaks Kenya’s Honolulu Marathon dominance

After sparring toe-to-toe for over half the race, Ethiopia’s Asefa Mengstu outpaced his cross-border Kenyan rival Barnabas Kiptum to cruise into Kapiolani Park and win the 50th anniversary Honolulu Marathon, breaking a long-standing Kenyan stranglehold of Hawaii’s flagship race.

Mengstu won in two hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds with Kiptum second in 2:17:45, some 10 minutes ahead of third-placed Japanese Yuhi Yamashita (2:27:45) in the race run under brutally windy conditions.

Ethiopia’s Asayech Bere made it an Addis Ababa sweep taking the women’s title in 2:30:58 with her compatriot Abebech Afework Bekele (2:34:39) second and Japan’s Yuhi Yamashita third in 2:27:45.

Kenyan men had been unbeaten here since 2007, Ethiopia’s Ambesse Tolossa having interrupted the clean run by winning the 2006 edition.

Prior to that, Kenyans were unbeaten since Eric Kimaiyo took over as champion from South Africa’s Josiah Thugwane in 1996.

But it was Ibrahim Hussein, the legend, who made the breakthrough as the first African winner on this island city of O’ahu - birthplace of former US President Barack Obama - clinching a back-to-back hat-trick of victories from 1985 to 1987.

Sunday’s golden jubilee race started in it’s traditional night settings at 5am, local time, with spectacular fireworks and, as expected, it was the two Ethiopians, Mengstu and Shifera Tamru, who broke away together with Kiptum, crossing the 10-kilometre mark in 30 minutes and 30 seconds, paced by Kenya’s Reuben Kerio who is also preparing for next month’s Mumbai Marathon.

They then crossed the halfway mark in 1:06:38 under a slight drizzle at the Aina Haina sector after which pacemaker Kerio dropped off at the 30km mark (1:21:00).

There was drama shortly after when Kiptum and Mengstu dropped Tamru, racing on shoulder-to-shoulder as the sunrise launched in spectacular fashion at East O’ahu.

But at 33km, Mengstu broke away and ran a solo race all the way to the finish.

“It was a tough race… I’ve never competed under such tough conditions,” Mengstu said, referring to the furious headwind.

“My strategy was to attack at 35km and I was determined to win,” added Mengstu who trains under the Rosa Associati stable in Addis.

Kiptum was happy with his race, saying the atrocious winds slowed him down, but he remained confident of fighting for a place in Team Kenya to next year’s World Championships in Budapest.

“I ran in conditions similar to these in Hong Kong in 2018, but today’s wind was just too crazy,” he said.

“My body feels fine and I will now fight for a place in the team to the World Championships so that I can represent my country…

“I have what it takes, and I just have to throw in a race in spring and confirm my place in Kenya’s team to Budapest.”

Sunday’s golden Jubilee Honolulu Marathon celebrated the return of full racing and public events after two years of uncertainty occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, much to the satisfaction of its long-standing President and CEO Jim Barahal.

After Kenya’s Titus Ekiru won back-to-back races here in 2018 and 2019, including setting a course record 2:07:59 in 2019, the race was held as a non-competitive event in 2020 due to the pandemic with Kenya’s Emmanuel Saina winning the title last year in 2:14:32.

(12/12/2022) Views: 694 ⚡AMP
by Elias Makori
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Honolulu Marathon

Honolulu Marathon

The Honolulu Marathon’s scenic course includes spectacular ocean views alongside world-famous Waikiki Beach, and Diamond Head and Koko Head volcanic craters.The terrain is level except for short uphill grades around Diamond Head. ...

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Dutchman Lodewijk Adriaan Vriens wins first race in Hong Kong 50 ultra marathon series

Hong Kong 50 ultra marathon got off to a blistering start with Dutchman pipping local favourites in the men’s division, while Cheung dominated the women’s field 

The second leg of the four race series takes place on Lantau on December 10, with HK50 West and Sai Kung 50 taking place in early 2023 

The Hong Kong 50 ultra marathon series got off to a solid start on Sunday, with Dutchman Lodewijk Adriaan Vriens storming a field of almost 500 runners to claim line honours.

While Vriens battled strong competition from Chan Ka Keung and Wong Kwok Wai – who came in second and third respectively – the Dutchman paced himself early in the race but surged in the second half to extend his lead and finish with a time of 4 hours and 47 minutes.

“Today’s race was really, really cool and a really phenomenal feeling,” Vriens said. “It’s a really tough course, but I had a lot of fun. The organisers did great, really good spirit out there and some really good competition.”

Chan, one of Hong Kong’s top up and coming runners, had a very strong finish, putting the hammer down on the final 1km to squeeze by Wong for second place with just a few hundred meters remaining.

“I was happy with a strong finish catching Wong Kwok Wai who tried very hard also at the end. The race was really exciting and the scenery on the last 20km was beautiful which made the change of scenery from my home training area in Tsuen Wan very different,” Chan said.

“Coming down Jardine’s Lookout I took a fall kicking a step, but brushed it off and kept pushing as was top three at the time.”

Crossing the finish line in 3rd overall in the Men’s 50km was Wong Kwok Wai who ran a fantastic race leading and trading places for almost half. He came within striking distance of the Dutchman and Chan, but did not have the legs in the last few hundred meters to mount a full tilt attack.

Karen Cheung Man-yee dominated the women’s field to win in a comfortable 5 hours 30 minutes 38, almost 30 minutes ahead of her nearest rival Wong Mei Ying, who took second place.

“Overall, the race was great,” Cheung said. “I thought my run was very smooth. The weather was good and I was happy with my performance. I am very happy to be able to run in a physical race like this as I enjoyed it so much being around others in competition.

Third on the women’s 50km podium was South African Deena Schwan who took up ultra running just over a year ago.

The second leg of the four race HK50 series will take place on Lantau on December 10, with HK50 West and Sai Kung 50 taking place in early 2023.

(10/23/2022) Views: 728 ⚡AMP
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Hong Kong Marathon rescheduled for February next year

The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon has been rescheduled to February next year, the organizer announced on Tuesday, days after canceling the race amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in the city.

“The Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates (HKAAA) announced today… that it has received the Government’s full support to actively plan the staging of the 25th Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday, 12 February 2023,” a press statement by the organizer read.

Last Friday, the HKAAA said the sporting event would not go ahead in November as planned, citing “insufficient time for runners and relevant stakeholders to adequately prepare for the race.” Organizers said they had yet to receive approval from the government with only two months remaining.

Commissioner for Sports Yeung Tak-keung questioned the group’s reason on Monday, saying the 2021 race was also approved with only two months to go.

He said the government had been in close contact with the organizer and provided help as best as it could. Yeung at that time said the HKAAA did not consider postponing the race, even there was an available slot in February.

Rescheduling

The HKAAA on Tuesday, however, reversed course, hours after Chief Executive John Lee had expressed disappointment over the axing of the popular sports event.

“Our position is very clear, we are very supportive and we want both sides to work towards the goal of making it happen,” Lee said during his weekly press briefing. “[I]t is both [in] the organiser’s interest, and Hong Kong government’s interest and the community’s interest for these things to happen. So I want that common will to be developed for the good of Hong Kong.”

Further details were yet to be announced by the HKAAA, but it promised to “strictly adhere to and implement all necessary anti-pandemic measures,” and work closely with relevant government departments.

Covid concerns

Several sporting events have been canceled or relocated due to Hong Kong’s strict Covid-19 measures, with all incoming travelers required to undergo three days of hotel quarantine and four days of “medical surveillance.” The city also maintains a four-person public gathering limit and an outdoor mask mandate.

Blaming the stringent quarantine rules, the organizers of the 2023 World Dragon Boat Racing Championships abandoned Hong Kong for Thailand on Sunday. The previous day, the Oxfam Trailwalker event was also called off.

Lee on Tuesday said the government would review the pandemic situation and make necessary adjustments to the quarantine policy, with an announcement to follow “as soon as possible.” Experts have called for measures such as mandatory hotel quarantine to be scrapped so that Hong Kong can begin to return to normalcy.

Hong Kong has reported a total of 1.71 million Covid-19 infections and 9,901 related deaths since the pandemic began.

 

(09/20/2022) Views: 851 ⚡AMP
by Almond Li
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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2022 UTMB Women’s Race

An American living in France and eighth-place finisher at UTMB in 2021, Katie Schide set out to make her mark on the race from the beginning, leading the women’s field after seven kilometers into Les Houches while being trailed closely by the trio of Marianne Hogan from Canada, Kaytlyn Gerbinfrom the USA, and Hillary Allen from the USA.

Schide grew the gap over the next 13 kilometers into Saint-Gervais. With only one hour and 48 minutes on the race clock, a truly raw opening effort, her lead over second place Hogan was already five minutes, and she had eight minutes on third place Audrey Tanguy (pre-race interview) of France. Jocelyne Pauly and Manon Bohard, both from France also, came through in fourth and fifth with Mimmi Kotka (pre-race interview), a Swede living in Chamonix, just behind them in sixth. 

Fu-Zhao Xiang (pre-race interview) of China, Ragna Debats (pre-race interview), who is Dutch but lives in Spain, and Azara García (pre-race interview) of Spain rounded out the top 10, running together 13 minutes behind Schide.Keeping up her consistent and strong pace, Schide continued to increase her lead on the rest of the women’s field, coming into Les Contamines at 31 kilometers with 2:50 on the race clock.

By then, she’d extended her lead on Hogan to over nine minutes, Tanguy to 12 minutes, and Bohard and Pauly to 15 minutes. Tanguy was probably relieved to make it past Les Contamines where she had dropped last year from severe stomach cramps. A visibility limping Kotka, who had challenged Courtney Dauwalter during last year’s UTMB during the early miles of the race before finishing third as Dauwalter won, came into Les Contamines nearly 20 minutes off the lead in sixth and would not continue.

Schide continued to smile coming through the Col du Bonhomme, at about a marathon’s distance into the race, clearly enjoying her run through the night and appreciating the cheers of the spectators. Climbing one of the largest passes of the race only seemed to make her stronger. Her gap to Hogan and Tanguy had grown to about 20 minutes as the two chasers crested the col.

The cheers from the enthusiastic French crowd brought smiles to both women’s faces as they passed through. The cheers continued for Bohard and Pauly, who were still running together.

The crowd at Les Chapieux, 50 kilometers in, was enthused to see Schide, erupting in huge cheers as she came in. While the gaps between the women in second through 10th grew and shrunk over the kilometers, Schide’s gap on the field had only gone one direction so far: up. She was now more than 22 minutes up on second place Hogan. By the time Schide got to Lac Combal, 66 kilometers into the race, the gap was up to 25 minutes, and it would be an additional 20 minutes for Tanguy to arrive after that.With 80 kilometers run, Schide came into Courmayeur flying, spending only eight minutes at the aid station approximately halfway into the race.

The crowds were thrilled to see her, providing a warm and raucous welcome as she ran into the aid station looking smooth. But for the first time in the race thus far, Hogan had started to close the gap to the leader, whittling it down to just over 20 minutes. Smiling but with a stomach that couldn’t handle gels any more, she quickly drank a Coke and opted for pizza for fuel. The gap between the top two women and the rest of the field continued to grow, and it was over an hour before Tanguy, Pauly, and Gerbin ran through, and a few more minutes after them to the sixth woman, Emily Hawgood, of Zimbabwe, who lives in the USA.

While Schide had seemed unstoppable before Courmayeur, the tables seemed to turn over the next 17 kilometers to Arnouvaz as night turned to day. Schide came in with stomach issues, clearly in a rough spot, with Hogan hot on her heels, now only two minutes behind. Closing a gap of more than 18 minutes is a feat to be acknowledged, and a feisty and strong Hogan seemed energized by the coming of the day and the idea of leading the race for the first time.

A struggling Schide maintained her lead over the Grand Col Ferret at 102 kilometers, but it was down to a minute, and when the women’s leader arrived at La Fouly at 112 kilometers, it was Hogan instead of Schide for the first time, with a sizable six-minute gap.

By Champex-Lac at 125 kilometers, it was still Hogan in the lead and well under course record pace, now with a 10-minute gap to second. But Schide wasn’t about to give up, slowing down to let her stomach recover from its previous rough spell, and finally eating a cheese sandwich and starting to move well again.

One hundred miles is a long distance to race, long enough that runners can get through rough spells and rebound. And that’s exactly what Schide did, regaining the lead in Trient at kilometer 142, not only eliminating the 10-minute gap but putting an additional 10 minutes on Hogan. By Vallorcine at 153 kilometers, the gap between the top two was up to 41 minutes, with Hogan nursing a hurt left leg.

By the time the pair reached the finish line in Chamonix, they maintained their one-two position with Schide having extended the gap to some 75 minutes.It was another 35 minutes later that we saw the final member of the women’s podium arrive, Gerbin, who ran for much of the second half of the race in what she described as “no woman’s land,” well in front of those behind her but out of contact with the lead.

It was apparently a comfortable spot for her, though, as she held her position strongly, and crossed the finish line back in Chamonix like she could run plenty more kilometers if needed.

Pauly finished fourth, the successful conclusion of a focused day of racing. Eszter Csillag, who is from Hungary but lives in Hong Kong, moved up later on to take fifth. Emily Hawgood ran strong all day to set and maintain a very similar position of sixth place. Xiang held tight to seventh place with Spain’s Aroa Sio just behind in eighth. Italy’s Francesca Pretto and Eva-Maria Sperger of Germany moved up into the top 10 in the last 50 kilometers.

 

(08/28/2022) Views: 583 ⚡AMP
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Ultra running is exploding in popularity around the world, but what actually is an ultramarathon?

The term Ultra covers a broad range of races, from mountains to road 

Ultra running is fast becoming a mainstream sport. Once, it was the realm of a few crazy runners, and not the pastime of everyone from your boss to your neighbour. But what actually is an ultramarathon?

How long is an ultramarathon?

An ultramarathon is anything longer than a marathon, which is 26.2 miles (42.195km). So, you could complete a marathon and run back to your car and you’ve technically run an ultra distance.

Typically, ultramarathons start at 50km and go up from there. Standard distances are 50km, 100km and 161km (100 miles), the latter often being referred to as a “miler”.

While a marathon is never longer than 26.2 miles, ultras tend to vary a bit. For example, the Hong Kong 100 is in fact 103km. And the Ultra Marathon du Mont Blanc, a miler, is in fact 171km. Others are a bit shorter than advertised, too.

Aside from the above three types, there are ultra races of all sorts of distances and formats. As long as it’s more than a marathon, the distances and formats can be limitless.

An increasingly popular format is 250km split over stages, such as the Marathon Des Sables. Runners complete different distances each day, some less than an ultra, and sleep at night.

As the sport continues to grow, others try to push the boundaries – such as the 298km Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge, which is non-stop and has no support on the trails. Runners finish the distance in between around 48 and 70 hours.

The formats are becoming increasingly imaginative. A backyard ultra, for example, is around a 6.7km loop. The runners start on the hour every hour until there is just one runner left, so the distance is not set. It keeps going and going. Runners have gone on for more than 80 hours.

Outside organised events, runners often complete ultramarathons just for fun, to set a personal best or a Fastest Known Time (FKT), which is ultra terminology for a specific course record. This can be anything from the 44km Hong Kong Trail, which takes a few hours, to the 4,172km Pacific Crest Trail, which has an FKT of almost two months.

What terrain is an ultramarathon on?

With an infinite range of distances come infinite terrains. An ultramarathon can be road, flat, track, pavement, mountain, trail, snow and more. As long as you can run on it, you can run an ultramarathon on it.

A famous road ultramarathon is the 246km Spartathlon. It follows the legendary route run by Pheidippides, who ran from Athens to Sparta before the Battle of Marathon in Ancient Greece, thus inventing the marathon.

The most high-profile mountain ultra is the Ultra Marathon du Mont Blanc, which has a total of 10,040 metres accumulative elevation gain in the Alps.

Track ultras often take the format of a set time rather than distance. For example, how far you can travel in 24 hours, round and round the same athletics track.

When Zach Bitter set the 100-mile world record, which has since been broken again, he ran it around a 443m track by doing 363 laps.

The distances and terrains are so varied race to race they are essentially different sports. Kilian Jornet is considered one of the best ultra-mountain runners ever, but comparing him with Yiannis Kouros, considered one of the best ultra road runners ever, is like asking who is better at football: Tom Brady or Lionel Messi.

Is an ultra harder than a marathon?

The word ultra refers to the distance, not difficulty. An ultramarathon is inherently hard, but not inherently harder than a marathon or any other distance for that matter.

If you have a specific and demanding finishing time in mind for your marathon, you will have to stick to a specific split, keep your legs spinning and spinning, all the time concentrating on your pace and pushing your body.

Is that easier or harder than a 24-hour 100km over mountains, with variation in terrain and elevation, when you walk some parts and rest at check points?

What about a 5km? If you want to run a fast 5km, you will be at your absolute limit for the entire time and collapse over the finish line.

Non-runners often think an ultramarathon is the “next step” for runners looking for a new challenge. Searching for a faster time is just as challenging as searching for a longer distance.

Either can be harder than the other – it’s down to the runner.

The same is true within ultra running. Ruth Croft, one of the best runners, dominates races around 50km. She was repeatedly asked when she would do a 100 miler once she had “completed” a 50km. Croft resisted the urge to cave to the pressure to run further until she was ready, understanding that fast and far are two often incomparable metrics.

When you consider all of the above, the simple definition of “longer than a marathon” does not quite do justice to the massive range of events encapsulated by the term ultramarathon.

(08/08/2022) Views: 1,038 ⚡AMP
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SF Marathon week brings runs and new inclusive races

On Friday thousands came to pick up their race bags at Fort Mason's Festival Pavillion.

"San Francisco is special there are a lot of uphills so I think it will be a super challenge," said Pedro Morando, who came from Mexico.

"Just glad to be back in full force on our 45th anniversary," said Christiian Abrahamsen, one of the SF Marathon organizers, "People are able to travel again or more willing to travel again so that has definitely bumped the numbers up."

New this year, the marathon will be the first in California to have male, female and non-binary gender categories.

"Just giving everybody a chance regardless of what you affiliate yourself as, just knowing it's a safe place to be and we're happy and excited to have you there," said Eileen Nichols, a San Francisco resident who plans to run.

Also, exciting for young runners, is a new 1k Family lollipop run.

"I think it's great to get the kids involved. I think physical fitness is very important," said Sharon Chang, a San Francisco mom who was registered with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

The marathon is also partnering this year with sponsor Degree to include a special team of runners with disabilities.

"I was diagnosed in 3rd grade with a degenerative eye condition...I lost my sight at 30," said Michael Zampella of Philadelphia.

Zampella is on a team with a woman from Houston who has multiple sclerosis. They plan to finish their first marathons on Sunday.

"We work so hard just to do basic things so to do something extra like a marathon is crazy difficult but so worth it," said Sagirah Ahmed Norris of Houston who struggled with MS.

Vendors say they're glad to be back. They say they have missed the marathon events which often brings new business, but they say running has become more popular than ever.

"There were more and more runners because people weren't going to gyms, so running sale shoes are booming during the pandemic," said John Zilly, co-founder of Vimazi, which was started in 2019 making special running shoes.

Some people say with the pandemic still not over, they don't want to run the risk of catching Covid. Some say they'll be bringing a mask to the starting line.

"I am a little bit worried about COVID still," said Maricar Montano, an SF Marathon pacer who came from Hong Kong to run.

"It's going to be about thirty minutes of just standing around in a big crowd," said Montano, who says she'll likely remove the mask once she starts running and the crowd thins out.

Masks are not required on the course this year.

The marathon starts at 5:30 a.m. Sunday and residents are advised to watch for road closures.

(07/23/2022) Views: 750 ⚡AMP
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San Francisco Marathon Weekend

San Francisco Marathon Weekend

The San Francisco Marathon (Full Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, 2nd Half Marathon, 5K and Ultra marathon) will fill San Francisco’s streets. The course is both challenging and rewarding. You’ll enjoy waterfront miles along the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Crissy Field; feel your heart pound as you race across the Golden Gate Bridge; speed past landmarks like Coit Tower, Golden Gate...

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Hong Kong ‘Everesting’ record set by departing Frenchman, saying farewell to trail community with magical challenge

Ferdinand Clovis Airault climbs up and down Sunset Peak 21 times to accumulate the height of Everest from sea level 

The solo challenge becomes a community event and a chance to say farewell for now but not goodbye 

Ferdinand Clovis Airault set Hong Kong’s “Everesting” record, but the result was less important than the experience and the chance to say goodbye to friends.

The Hong Kong-based Frenchman is departing at the start of June, destined for a move to New York. As a final challenge, he ran up and down Sunset Peak 21 times, accumulating the full height of Everest from sea level.

Airault, a magician in his spare time, completed the 8,852 metres of accumulative elevation in 14 hours and 24 minutes – the fastest “Everesting” completed in Hong Kong.“There isn’t big competition for this record – I know that if Wong Ho-chung [Hong Kong’s top trail runner] comes, he will explode the record,” Airault said. “So it was not just about the record, but I felt the competition was a driver.“I came prepared, with an idea of the time I wanted and all the advice I could get. I knew all the laps would need to be 40 minutes and I couldn’t take breaks. But I would have finished it even if I was far from the record.

“The experience was the main thing – I pushed my limits, body and mind, to accomplish some kind of magic trick. The motivation was really the experience in such an iconic place like Sunset Peak. I saw the sunset and the sunrise and I was looking for the magic of the place. The competition was just a booster.”Hong Kong runner plans to shut up the sexists by ‘Everesting’ Castle Peak

The magical experience was added to by the company. Groups of trail runners came to ring cow bells and cheer Airault on at the bottom of each lap. Some joined him for a lap or two. He was joined by friends from his team at Lantau Base Camp, Hong Kong Sports Clinic and T8, and also from his rival team Gone Running Joint Dynamics.

“It’s a great way to say goodbye,” Airault said. “What is good with Covid-19 is we created these little challenges to show Hong Kong is still alive. There are still restrictions but we can make trail running evolve through these challenges and adventures.”

One of the runners who joined was Jeremy Ritcey, the former record holder.“Jeremy gave me all the tips to beat it,” Airault said. “I found that super-cool. The idea wasn’t to keep it for himself. He said we had this time as a group and we will improve it. I was just there to represent the community that day and if someone else comes along, I can help them improve the record by sharing too.”

Airault thinks he could have gone faster had he picked another mountain such as The Peak, with flat concrete roads. But he wanted to respect Covid-19 restrictions by going somewhere less busy. Besides, it was the location of the previous record, he wanted his friends on Lantau to join him and he wanted to be in a beautiful location.From around 2am to 5am he was all by himself.

“At the start, I was very enthusiastic, so even on the ferry I was full of energy,” he said. “After, when people were coming and I knew people were there to say goodbye, I began to realise that I would not see these people again, that this was my last sunset at Sunset Peak.

“At sunrise, I said, ‘This is my last sunrise, it’s time to push.’ On the last five laps, I did my fastest laps. One of my final five laps was in the 10 top fastest ever laps of Sunset Peak. I think I really had this energy of knowing it was the last time.”

Airault added that it was farewell for now but not goodbye. He hopes to return to run the TransLantau in October.

“When I arrived in Hong Kong, I knew nothing about running,” he said. “I was smoking and drinking. Hong Kong changed me and I hope the US will change me too. Trail running will stay with me, but who knows what else I will find.”

 

(05/28/2022) Views: 798 ⚡AMP
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Ruth Chepngetich and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter ready to clash at Nagoya Women’s Marathon

World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich and Tokyo Marathon winner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter will renew their rivalry at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon – a World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race – on Sunday (13).

Athletes in Nagoya will be racing for the largest first prize in the world of marathon running: US$250,000. Being the world’s largest women’s marathon, one of the world’s top-level races, and the only women’s race with a World Athletics Platinum Label, the Nagoya Women’s Marathon continues to be a global leader in women’s running.

To date, Chepngetich has won five of the seven marathons she has completed, and still made it on to the podium in her other two. The consistent Kenyan had her best year in 2019, starting with her 2:17:08 PB in Dubai in January, then following it eight months later by winning the world title in Doha.

Like many athletes, she had a low-key year in 2020 but still finished third at the London Marathon in 2:22:05. Last year she failed to finish the Olympic marathon but rebounded two months later by taking victory in Chicago in 2:22:31.

While the 27-year-old appears to be more focused on victories than records, she is more than capable of producing fast times, too. In April last year she set a world half marathon record of 1:04:02 in Istanbul.

"I chose to run the Nagoya Women’s Marathon because Japan is a nice place and the environment is good," said Chepngetich. "And, as women, we have to encourage ourselves and do better. I'm looking forward to a nice race and I'd like to set a PB."

Chepngetich’s only competitive outing so far this year was at the Kenyan Cross Country Championships in Eldoret in January where she finished sixth – roughly in line with her performances at that event in previous years. She feels far more at ease racing on the roads, though.

So too does Salpeter. The Israeli distance runner won the 2020 Tokyo Marathon in a lifetime best of 2:17:45, having previously set national records when winning in Prague and Florence. Her return to Japan for the Olympics in 2021 didn’t quite go to plan as she finished down in 66th, but she bounced back in October to place fifth in London in 2:18:54.

"I’m happy to be here," said Salpeter. "It's my first time and I hope to do my best on Sunday. My training has been good. I was in Kenya for eight weeks, so I’m ready for Sunday. I’m trusting my training."

This could be the first time Chepngetich and Salpeter have a true clash over the marathon distance. In their two previous encounters over the distance, Salpeter failed to finish at the 2019 World Championships while Chepngetich did likewise at the Tokyo Olympics. Their only other duel to date was at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, where Salpeter finished just one place ahead of Chepngetich.

Four years on from that, and over double the distance, this weekend’s race could be a different story.

They are among four sub-2:24 athletes entered for the event, as Japan’s Yuka Ando and Reia Iwade lead a strong Japanese contingent.

Ando ran her PB of 2:21:36 when finishing second in Nagoya in 2017 and started this year with a half marathon personal best of 1:08:13 in Yamaguchi, while Iwade ran her best marathon time of 2:23:52 in Nagoya in 2019.

Australia’s Sinead Diver will be making her third Nagoya appearance. She finished 10th in 2017 with a then PB of 2:31:37, then recorded a DNF in 2020. Now with a best of 2:24:11 and a 10th-place finish at last year’s Olympics, the 45-year-old could content for a top-five finish.

Japan’s Rie Kawauchi and marathon debutantes Kaena Takeyama and Yuka Suzuki are also athletes to look out for. Depending on their placing and position, the top Japanese finishers could earn selection for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 or Japan’s Olympic Trials race for the 2024 Games.

Kenya’s Stellah Barsosio, Japan’s Mao Uesugi and Britain’s Charlotte Purdue will be among the pace-making team.

Last year’s edition of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon was held as a domestic race, and was won by Japan’s Mizuki Matsuda in 2:21:51.

Ten years on since the inaugural edition of the race in 2012, the Nagoya Women's Marathon continues to be the leading women-only marathon in the world. It attracted 21,915 runners in 2018 - a world record for a women-only marathon. After receiving the Japan Olympic Committee Women and Sport Award in 2017, the race was awarded the International Olympic Committee Women and Sport Achievement Diploma in 2019 for playing a significant role in the increase of women runner population in Japan.

The race, which starts at 9:10am local time on Sunday, will be streamed live to 33 countries and regions (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States of America). 

Elite field

Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 2:17:45

Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (ISR) 2:17:45

Yuka Ando (JPN) 2:21:36

Reia Iwade (JPN) 2:23:52

Sinead Diver (AUS) 2:24:11

Rie Kawauchi (JPN) 2:25:35

Hanae Tanaka (JPN) 2:26:19

Mirai Waku (JPN) 2:26:30

Ayano Ikemitsu (JPN) 2:26:07

Ai Hosoda (JPN) 2:26:34

Chiharu Ikeda (JPN) 2:27:39

Eloise Wellings (AUS) 2:29:19.

(03/11/2022) Views: 964 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Nagoya Women's Marathon

Nagoya Women's Marathon

The Nagoya Women's Marathon named Nagoya International Women's Marathon until the 2010 race, is an annual marathon race for female runners over the classic distance of 42 km and 195 metres, held in Nagoya, Japan in early March every year. It holds IAAF Gold Label road race status. It began in 1980 as an annual 20-kilometre road race held in...

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Hong Kong Marathon ordered that tattoos must be covered up, or would not be permitted to run

On Sunday, runners who were registered for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon were ordered to cover up political slogans and all tattoos on their bodies before being allowed to compete. Fifteen-thousand runners took part in the Hong Kong marathon, which marked the first race on the island since the start of the pandemic.

According to the South China Morning Post, the runners were told to cover up tattoos and political statements or they would not be permitted to run. This rule was created after the 2019 protests in Hong Kong as a way to discourage anti-government and pro-democracy demonstrations that have been running for the last year.

Organizers warned participants during registration to avoid wearing any items of political expression. 

“Anyone who uses the Hong Kong marathon as a platform for conveying and promoting political messages will face consequences,” organizers said in a press release. “This is a zero-tolerance approach.” Law enforcement was prepared heavily for the marathon, with police deploying counter-terrorism units on the race route.

The South China Morning Post reported that one runner was escorted to a changing room by police during a security check, and was told to change her shorts because of a printed political slogan on the side. Another man with a tattoo on his calf faced being kicked out of the marathon unless he covered it with a bandage, which he did.

2021 also marked the first year that the race banned costumes that cover the face for security reasons. A runner was told that he couldn’t run in his spiderman costume for personal identification purposes. 

(10/26/2021) Views: 1,040 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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The benefits of your daily run outweigh the risks of the particulate matter in the air, study finds

Regular exercise, even in areas with high air pollution, can lower your risk of early death from natural causes, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). 

Though your risk of early death rises with exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air, you can reduce it through exercise, regardless of your levels of exposure to PM2.5.

Wildfires account for half of overall hazardous air pollution in the western U.S., and up to a quarter of PM2.5 exposure in the U.S. in general.

To go out for a run or not to go out for a run? That’s a question many runners in the U.S. (and beyond) increasingly must ask as wildfires happen earlier and last longer, billowing particulate matter (PM2.5) clear across the nation. Sure, it creates a backdrop for stunning sunsets, but it also makes the air worrisome to breathe and negatively impacts health. 

Though sucking in high levels of air pollution will never be good for you, new research shows that the benefits of exercising outweigh the risks of the bad air. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), found that regular exercise, even when performed in areas with air pollution, can reduce the risk of early death from natural causes, compared to being sedentary.

Researchers examined the health records and activity levels of more than 384,000 adults living in Taiwan—where the annual air pollution levels of PM2.5 are 1.6 times higher than the World Health Organization-recommended limit—over a 15-year period from 2001 to 2016. The researchers looked at both levels of exposure to PM2.5, as well as the study participants’ activity levels. 

In terms of pollution, exposure levels were based on the two-year average concentration in the year of a medical examination and in the previous year, and were broken into the following categories. (The concentration of an air pollutant is measured in μg/m3, or micrograms per cubic meter of air.) 

Low: < 22.4 μg/m3

Moderate: 22.4–26.0 μg/m3

High: ≥ 26.0 μg/m3

PM2.5 is especially problematic for your health, according to the World Health Organization, because it can penetrate the lung barrier and enter your bloodstream. It raises the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory disease as well as cancer.

The participants’ activity levels were assigned to a category corresponding with their reported METs (metabolic equivalent for task): 

Inactive (0 METs—the equivalent of sitting quietly)

Moderate (0 to 8.75 METs—runs at around a 12-minute mile pace or less)

High (greater than 8.75 METs—runs faster than a 12-minute mile pace)

In the end, those with both high levels of exercise and low levels of exposure to pollution fared best (no surprise there). But though risk of early death rises with pollution exposure, you can reduce it through exercise, regardless of the levels of PM2.5 exposure, says study author Xiang Qian Lao, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care at The Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shatin, Hong Kong.

“For example, among the people with high PM2.5 exposure—compared to inactive, moderate, and high exercise—can reduce [early] death risk 16 percent and 33 percent [respectively],” Lao told Runner’s World.

Among those with moderate PM2.5 exposure, compared to inactive, those performing moderate and high exercise can reduce their early death risk 13 percent and 29 percent respectively. And among those with low PM2.5 exposure, those performing moderate and high levels of exercise can reduce their early death risk 19 percent and 41 percent respectively compared to their inactive peers. 

That’s not to say you should ignore the U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI), which takes five major air pollutants—including PM2.5—into account and go bust out a long run when it’s code maroon (hazardous), but it’s reassuring to know that if you live in a place with increasingly imperfect air much of the year, your daily run still does your body good.

 

(08/21/2021) Views: 794 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Hong Kong Marathon likely to be held in October, but only some 10,000 fully vaccinated runners can join

Hong Kong Marathon is tentatively scheduled for October 24 after being suspended last year because of the pandemic, Commissioner of Sports Yeung Tak-keung said, but the number of participants will be reduced to some 10,000, while all must complete Covid-19 vaccination.

Yeung said that the race has been discussed by the Associations of Athletics Affiliates and was believed to be likely to come true. The association is expected to announce a decision within this week.

"If the marathon is held successfully, the route will be changed and the number of participants is expected to limit to some 10,000, with the requirements of completing two doses of vaccines," he said.

Speaking in a radio program today, Yeung said that some local television stations are negotiating with mainland authorities to purchase the broadcasting rights of the National Games of China to be held next month and that Hongkongers "will definitely be able to watch the games on TV."

But he said it is unknown how many stations can broadcast the games.

On the Tokyo Olympics which closed on August 8,Yeung said the record high six medals were out of expectation, which was very surprising.

He pointed out that the government has significantly pumped up resources allocated to sports over the past five years, from about HK$400 million in 2015 and 2016 to nearly HK$800 million this year.

Apart from increasing the number of athletes, the government has also put more resources in professional support, strengthening psychological and physiotherapy services, as well as hiring more physical trainers.

(08/17/2021) Views: 1,040 ⚡AMP
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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Postponed 2021 Hong Kong Marathon set for October with 75 per cent cut in numbers

The twice-postponed 2021 Hong Kong Marathon, due to take place in October, will have its numbers cut by 75 per cent to 18,500, organisers have announced.

The participation numbers within the full, half marathon and 10km events has been reduced from its normal total of 74,000 as part of COVID-19 precautions.

The Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates (HKAAA) said the Home Affairs Bureau had agreed in principle for the postponed event to take place but it still needed a stamp of approval from the government and Centre for Health Protection.

Organisers are seeking approval for the re-shaped event from senior Government and medical experts by August to have time to prepare for the races.

Negotiations for the latest arrangement began in March.

The 2021 race, due to take place on January 24, was postponed to April and then again to October.

The half and full marathons will accommodate 6,500 and 4,000 runners respectively, with the route largely unchanged from previous years.

The 10km race, which will involve 8,000 runners, will start at the Western Tunnel Toll Plaza as opposed to its usual location at the Island Eastern Corridor.

This is to ensure all three races share the same route to minimise the chance of COVID-19 infections.

The roll-out-style starting times remain the same despite the reduced field, with runners going off in batches of 200 to minimise contact.

All participants must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before the race and must arrive with their masks on before the race, although they can remove them at the start line.

"The Government is eager to bring people back to normal life, and with the recent ease of the pandemic [restrictions], we are quite confident in finding a resolution to pave a way to stage the event his year," said HKAAA chairman Kwan Kee.

World governing body World Athletics said given the pandemic, there was no need to classify the event as gold-label and therefore organisers do not need to meet the "top runner" threshold.

Organisers nonetheless plan to invite elite runners from neighbouring countries who have comparatively lighter Government-imposed quarantine requirements.

They added that a bubble scenario was not feasible in terms of money and manpower.

In case the HKAAA needed to call off the event 14 days in advance, there will be a 50 per cent refund on entry fees - any later and refunds will not be offered, as is the case with many international race events this year.

Organisers have also pencilled in next year’s Standard Chartered Marathon events for February 13, 2022

(07/11/2021) Views: 1,141 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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’s Christy Yiu to take part in Milan Marathon hoping to achieve Olympic qualification

Hong Kong running star Christy Yiu Kit-ching has been thrown a lifeline in her stuttering Olympic qualifying campaign after being handed an invite to take part in next weekend’s Milan Marathon – her first marathon race in 22 months.

Yiu’s hopes to qualify for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics have been thrown in disarray since the pandemic threw the world sporting calendar upside down in 2020.

The 33-year-old long-distance runner needed assistance from the world governing body to save her Olympic qualification campaign after every race she wanted to compete was either cancelled or she was rejected because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Rio Olympian has been struggling to get a single racing opportunity after competing in the 2019 Gold Coast Marathon and she desperately wants to compete overseas in her bid to qualify for her second Olympics.

A senior local official shared Yiu’s frustrations but said she might finally get the opportunity to compete again in the marathon after months of anxiety.

“Yiu needs to reach the [Olympics] entry mark but unfortunately she has been denied the opportunity one race after another after competing in Australia and this is mainly due to the pandemic,” said Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates chairman Kwan Kee. “The event she has supposed to compete was this month’s Copenhagen Marathon in Denmark but that was called off in late April due to Covid-19 safety measures in the city.                                                   

“We have found the Milan Marathon, which is opened to invited athletes and after seeking assistance from World Athletics and the local organisers for the event, we were able to obtain a spot for her. And there is no need for her to do the quarantine when she arrives in Milan.”

The Milan Marathon, which will take place in the northern Italian city on May 16, will be run on a fast circuit of 7.5 kilometres with runners running around it five times. The hub will be Piazza del Cannone, in front of Castello Sforzesco, the famous castle that was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza.

 

 

(05/05/2021) Views: 1,375 ⚡AMP
by Chan Kin-wa
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Milano Marathon

Milano Marathon

Passion is what allows us to go beyond our limits. It’s what makes us run when our heath is bursting in our chest, it’s whats makes our legs move even if they’re worn out. It’s passion against sacrifice, and the winner will be declared though hard training, hearth and concentration. Milano Marathon has been presented in the futuristic Generali Tower,...

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Update on races that hopefully will be held in 2021 from David Monti

Here’s the latest news on marathons and road races which have come across my desk:

ELITE-ONLY MARATHON SCHEDULED FOR TUSCANY – Thanks in part to funding from the Xiamen Marathon, a European Olympic Marathon qualification race will take place at the Ampugnano Airport in Tuscany, Italy, on Sunday, April 11. The event is called the Xiamen Marathon & Tuscany Camp Global Elite Race and will feature some of the sport’s most recognizable marathoners, like:

Marius Kipserum (KEN), Suguru Osako (JPN), Angela Tanui (KEN), Leul Gebresilase (ETH), Gerda Steyn (RSA), Daniele Meucci (ITA), and Valeria Straneo (ITA). The race will begin with a one-kilometer loop, followed by eight 5-kilometer loops and a short straight to the finish line to make the full 42.195-kilometer distance. The course is World Athletics-certified, so all athletes have a chance to record Olympic Games qualifying marks. 

PRAGUE MARATHON MOVES TO THE FALL – RunCzech has announced that the Volkswagen Prague Marathon will be held in the fall for the first time; the event traditionally takes place on the first or second Sunday of May. The planned date is Sunday, October 10, the same day as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The capacity of the event will be determined later in coordination with Czech health officials.

RunCzech will also hold a virtual version of the race from May 3, through May 31. “We must never stop dreaming and believing,” said RunCzech president Carlo Capalbo through a statement. “There is light at the end of this tunnel. We’ll be there to cheer you on every step of the way, and we look forward to greeting you at the finish line with shouts of joy.”

AUSTRALIA AND ARGENTINA ALSO HOST OLYMPIC QUALIFYING MARATHONS – Elite-only marathons will be held in both Australia and Argentina in April to give athletes a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In Australia, the race will be held in Sydney at the International Regatta Centre in Penrith on April 25, and be organized by Athletics Australia.

“In the same international calendar period, a number of our marathoners would normally be racing at the London Marathon, so this elite race in Sydney is an important opportunity,” said Athletics Australia president Mark Arbib through a statement. “By creating the course for elite athletes, we are allowing our marathoners to prepare with as much certainty as possible.” In Argentina, the race will be held in Santa Rosa, La Pampa on April 18. The Maraton Internacional A Pampa Traviesa will incorporate the Argentine national marathon championships.

SOME SPRING MARATHONS TO GO FORWARD – A few spring marathons will go forward as in-person races, despite the pandemic. Here is a summary (not a complete list):

April:

03 – Carmel Marathon (USA)

03 – Easter Marathon (AUS)

10 – Access Bank Lagos City Marathon (NGR), C&D Xiamen International Marathon (CHN)

11 – Beverly Wuxi Marathon (CHN), Canberra Times Canberra Marathon (AUS), Maratona Sao Paulo (BRA), Xuzhou Marathon (Chinese Olympic Trials)

18 – Debno Marathon (POL/elite only), Maraton Internacional A Pampa Traviesa (ARG), Zheng-Kai International Marathon (CHN)

24 – Valley O.NE Marathon Weekend (USA)

25 – Ascension Seton Austin Marathon (USA), Mercy Health Glass City Marathon (USA)

25 – Wrexham Elite Marathon & Half-Marathon (GBR)

May:

01 – Myrtle Beach Marathon (USA)

08 – Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon (USA)

16 – Belgrade Marathon (SRB), Alexander the Great Marathon (GRE), Copenhagen Marathon (DEN), Generali Milano City Marathon (ITA)

30 – Brescia Art Marathon (ITA)

MOST SPRING ROAD RACES MOVE TO THE FALL – One by one, race organizers are moving their spring road races to late summer or the fall. Here is a summary of some of those postponements:

August:

22 – Vitality Big Half (GBR), Generali Berliner Halbmarathon (GER), Kerzerslauf 15-K (SUI)

28 – Asics Sentrumsløpet 10-K (SWE)

September:

05 – Bath Half-Marathon (GBR), CSOB Bratislava City Marathon (SVK), Harmonie Mutuelle Semi-Marathon de Paris (FRA)

05 – Spar Women’s Challenge – Cape Town (RSA), Sportisimo Prague Int’l Half-Marathon (CZE)

06 – GTC Reedy River Run 10-K (USA)

11 – Göteborgsvarvet Half-Maraton (SWE)

12 – HASPA Marathon Hamburg (GER), Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile (USA), Meia-Maratona Internacional de Lisboa (POR)

12 – Brighton Marathon (GBR), Stramilano (ITA), Vienna City Marathon (AUT)

19 – Run Rome The Marathon (ITA)

25 – Cooper River Bridge Run (USA), Freihofer’s Run for Women (USA), NN City Pier City Half-Marathon (NED)

October:

02 – Azalea Trail Run 10-K (USA)

03 – Cardiff University Cardiff HM (GBR), 10-K Valencia Ibercaja (ESP), Virgin Money London Marathon (GBR)

10 – Bank of America Chicago Marathon (USA), Volkswagen Prague Marathon (CZE)

11 – Boston Marathon (USA)

17 – EDP Medio Maratón de Sevila (ESP), Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris (FRA), eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona (ESP), Tokyo Marathon (JPN)

24 – NN Marathon Rotterdam (NED), Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon (HKG), Oberbank Linz Donau Marathon (AUT)

29 – Jerusalem International Marathon (ISR)

November:

07 – Los Angeles Marathon Presented by Asics (USA), Zurich Marató de Barcelona (ESP)

14 – Movistar Medio Maratón Villa de Madrid (ESP)

21 – New Taipei City Wanjinshi Marathon (TPE)

28 – Limassol Marathon (CYP)

(04/03/2021) Views: 707 ⚡AMP
by David Monti Race Results Weekly
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The Cold, Hard Reality of Racing the Yukon Arctic Ultra

Temperatures were brutally low at this year’s running of the 300-mile competition, and one frostbitten competitor may lose his hands and feet. Is this just the price of playing a risky game, or does something need to change?

Roberto Zanda left the Carmacks checkpoint of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra just before noon on February 6. He was at least 150 miles into the 300-mile race—he’d already been slogging down a dogsled trail through the Yukon backcountry for more than five full days. Temperatures had plunged below minus 40 Fahrenheit on the first night out of Whitehorse, the small Yukon city where the race began; along the race course, temperatures consistently ranged from the minus 20s to the minus 40s.

In short, conditions were brutal. Of the eight racers who’d begun the 100-mile version of the variable-length event, just four had finished. Of the 21 who’d started the 300-miler, only the 60-year-old Zanda and two others remained. Most of the rest had scratched with frostbite or hypothermia.

When Zanda left the checkpoint, hosted in a village rec center, a race medic wrote on the event’s Facebook page that the racer had paused only for “a short rest and a big meal. He was looking very strong.”

Just over 24 hours later, Zanda was in a helicopter, being rushed to Whitehorse General Hospital with hypothermia and catastrophic frostbite, lucky to be alive. He now faces the likely amputation of both hands and both feet. What went wrong?

This was the 15th running of the Yukon Arctic Ultra, an annual race in which competitors choose their distance—marathon, 100 miles, 300 miles, or, every second year, 430 miles—and their mode of transportation: a fat bike, cross-country skis, or their own booted feet. Race organizer Robert Pollhammer, 44, who runs an online gear store in his native Germany, started the event in 2003 after being involved with Iditasport, a similar event on the Alaskan side of the border.

The Yukon race takes place on part of a trail built each year by the Canadian Rangers for the Yukon Quest, a 1,000-mile dogsled race, and it’s as much a feat of logistics as it is an athletic contest. It’s continuous, not a stage race; competitors are self-sufficient, carrying all their camping and survival gear, spare layers, food, and water in sleds they pull behind them. Temperatures are cold enough to kill, and it’s dark for roughly 14 hours every day. Nonetheless, eager ultra racers travel from around the world for the event, paying anywhere from $750 to $1,750 USD to enter (depending on when they register and the distance they’re attempting), plus the cost of flights, hotel, and gear. The total can easily add up to $5,000 or more.

The entrants tend to be experienced ultra and adventure racers; many athletes have already completed events like the Gobi March or the Marathon des Sables. Most competitors come from Europe, although this year’s race also saw entrants from South Africa and Hong Kong. The race organization offers a survival course a few days beforehand—a crash education in moisture management, layering, and cold-weather injuries. Generally speaking, the racers are accomplished athletes, but they may not have extensive experience with severe cold. The challenge lies in keeping themselves safe while moving through the Yukon’s remote, frigid backcountry.

The race is billed as “the world’s coldest and toughest ultra,” and there have been plenty of serious injuries before: flesh blackened by frostbite, frozen skin peeling off racers’ faces like wax, and bits of fingers and toes lost to amputation. But what happened to Zanda is by far the worst medical outcome yet, and it has shocked former racers, event organizers, and fans. It has also led to discussions and debates, often heated, about where a race organization’s responsibilities end and a racer’s personal assumption of risk begins.

As Zanda moved out of Carmacks, his Spot tracker showed him clipping along steadily at around three miles per hour. Between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., his beacon’s transmissions became more erratic—but that’s fairly normal in the Yukon, where satellite signals can be weak or inconsistent. Between 9 and 10 p.m., the problem cleared up and the Spot began sending signals every few minutes.

The last blip came in at 10:08 p.m., at route mile 189.7, and then the device went into sleep mode. After a strong ten-hour, 25-mile push from Carmacks, Zanda appeared to have stopped to camp for the night.

In the morning, as the sun rose, his tracker still hadn’t moved. The race crew wasn’t concerned yet—Zanda had taken a 12-hour rest once before during the race, as had some other athletes. At 9:32 a.m., Pollhammer posted on Facebook that two volunteer trail guides were headed out to check on him. “His Spot has not been sending for a long time now. Once we have news I will let you all know.”

The trail guides are the race’s safety net, patrolling hundreds of miles by snowmobile to check on the athletes and, when necessary, evacuate them from the course. They motored down the trail toward Zanda’s Spot location, but when they got there, in late morning, they found only the racer’s harness and sled, loaded with a tent and sleeping bag, a stove and fuel, and—crucially—the Spot device. Zanda was gone.

They called back to Pollhammer, who contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and then they began searching the area, looking for some sign of where the racer might have left the packed trail and wandered into the forest. The Mounties were about to launch a search of their own when the call came in: Zanda had been found. A helicopter was dispatched and landed near him. The trail guides, advised by the incoming medical team, did what they could to care for Zanda while they waited. As Pollhammer put it in an email to me: “No time was lost.”

A few days later, Zanda spoke to a Canadian television reporter from his hospital room in Whitehorse. He wore a pale-green gown, and his hands were heavily bandaged, nearly up to his elbows. His feet and shins were the same. He said he’d left his sled behind to go look for help because his feet were freezing up. He and his family members have also told race organizers that Zanda had lost the trail and went in search of the next marker, leaving the sled behind while he scouted.

Hypothermia must have already had Zanda in its grip by then, muddying his mind and compromising his decisions. His sled was his lifeline, containing everything he needed to stay alive and the only tool he had to call for help. He wandered through the cold and dark all night while the sled sat on the trail, sending out a reassuring beacon to the world that all was well.

I competed in this year’s Yukon Arctic Ultra—my first attempt—and I didn’t last long. Twenty-two hours in, suffering from frostbite on three fingertips, I scratched from the event, one of four 100-mile racers who decided to quit.

I never met Zanda, though for all I know we could have been standing side-by-side at the start line. On the afternoon of day one, he left the first checkpoint 19 minutes ahead of me. That night, I passed by as he bivied on the side of the trail. A couple hours later, I put up my own tent, crawled inside, and was trying to change into dry clothes with my hands briefly exposed. That was long enough for frostbite to set in.

Early the next morning, Zanda and two other racers passed my tent. I heard them go by but didn’t call out. I was waiting until daylight to push the help button on my Spot. I’ve thought about those encounters a lot since I learned about what happened to Zanda. It’s impossible not to hear his story and ask: Could that have been me?

Easily. I knew when I signed up for the race that amputations, or even death, were among the potential consequences. At such low temperatures, exhausting yourself to the degree required to complete an ultramarathon is a good way to erase whatever thin margin of safety you’ve managed to create. But while some of my friends had concerns, I wasn’t really worried. That disconnect is what allows many of us to put ourselves in these situations.

Zanda wasn’t the only person hospitalized. Nick Griffiths, another 300-mile racer, scratched on day two. The frostbite on his left foot had become severe by the time he was whisked from the trail to a remote checkpoint for eventual evacuation to Whitehorse. Griffiths spent five days in the hospital, and he will eventually lose his big toe and two others next to it. (To preserve as much healthy tissue as possible, doctors will allow the toes to “self-amputate,” meaning that the dead tissue will simply fall off.) Losing the big toe, in particular, could have a serious impact on Griffiths’ future ability to walk, hike, and run.

“I’m hoping I’ll be all right,” he told me from his home in England, where he’s been reading up on athletes who’ve lost toes. “I’m not expecting to be able to go and do ultras or things like that, but there’s other challenges. It’s not ideal, but there’s no point jumping up and down about it. It’s done.”

I’m not sure I could muster the same acceptance if I were in Griffiths’ position, let alone Zanda’s. Understandably, the Italian racer’s friends and family are extremely upset. In the days after his rescue, the race’s Facebook page filled up with furious comments from people demanding to know how this could have happened, why Zanda wasn’t checked on sooner, why the race hadn’t been canceled entirely when the weather refused to relent. Zanda’s wife, Giovanna, wrote, in Italian, “It’s been too many hours before you decided to verify what happened. He didn’t die by miracle.” His brother, Paolo, posted, “Why they promise you safety when they do not care about you?” To which Pollhammer replied, “Nobody promises safety.”

That much is certain. The waiver I signed when I filed my registration paperwork last summer listed the risks I was assuming as including but not limited to “dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite, collision with pedestrians, vehicles, and other racers and fixed or moving objects, sliding down hills, overturning of ice-rocks, falling through thin ice, avalanche, dangers arising from other surface hazards, equipment failure, inadequate safety equipment, weather conditions, animals, the possibility of serious physical and/or mental trauma and injury, including death.”

Still, even as we sign our lives away, participating in an organized race may provide us with an illusion of safety in a way that an independent backcountry trek might not. If so, I suppose it becomes our job to tear down that illusion and make clear-eyed choices about the risks. That’s easier said than done, of course.

Throughout the aftermath of this year’s race, Pollhammer has remained calm as he answered his critics, walking the fine line of showing empathy for Zanda and his family while making it clear that he believes the error was the racer’s. Initially he seemed shaken, unsure about running the event again next year, but he has since announced the 2019 dates. I asked Pollhammer if, with the benefit of hindsight, he would do anything differently. He said that the rules and safety procedures evolve almost every year, and next year will likely be no different. But there are limits to what he can do, no matter how much he tweaks his protocols

“We can increase the list of mandatory gear, make people carry a sat phone, warn athletes even more so than we do now,” Pollhammer said. “We can do many things. However, we won’t be able to make sure people don’t get hypothermic and start making mistakes when they are out there. It they don’t act, or if they act too late, it will always mean trouble. I wish I could take that away from them, but it is impossible.”

Or as Nick Griffiths put it, “I can’t blame anybody for it—it was my own fault.”

As for Zanda, he told the CBC that he’ll be back out racing again—on prosthetics, if need be.

(02/21/2021) Views: 1,030 ⚡AMP
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Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

Yukon Artic ultra 300 miler

The Yukon Arctic Ultra is the world's coldest and toughest ultra! Quite simply the world's coldest and toughest ultra. 430 miles of snow, ice, temperatures as low as -40°C and relentless wilderness, the YUA is an incredible undertaking. The Montane® Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU) follows the Yukon Quest trail, the trail of the world's toughest Sled Dog Race. Where dog...

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How long can trail race organizers survive if there is no Hong Kong-wide Covid-19 vaccine until 2022 and sports are still restricted?

.The government has warned there may be no vaccine until 2022 and it may be the death of trailrunnning companies

Is there a storm brewing as more trail users could mean more clashes between runners and hikers when racing returns?

Trail races have been cancelled for most of 2020 because of Covid-19 Social distancing restrictions. The lack of income is taking a toll on trail race organizers’ bottom line, and as the Hong Kong government has said it will be “lucky” to get a citywide vaccination by 2022, there is a long road ahead.

“Many organizers and those supporting the sport are really struggling,” said Janet Ng, a founder of Trail Runners Association of Hong Kong (TRAHK) and organiser of the Vibram Hong Kong 100.

“Some organizers have now seen two years of their events being cancelled – last year because of the political unrest then followed by Covid-19. No organiser can afford to keep their staff and pay rent for this long without the ability to hold any events, big or small.

“There has been no indication from the government as to when events might be able to restart, adding to the financial uncertainty. I don’t think many events can survive another year of cancellations.”

She added that charities and NGOs that depend on an annual trail race to raise funds will also suffer.

There is the Employee Support Scheme (ESS) available for Hong Kong companies to cover salaries, but other than that there is no specific support for trail race organisers. Ng said TRAHK has proposed safety guidelines to the Home Affairs Bureau and the Food and Health Bureau but the responses have been negative. They include Social-distancing, masks and hand-sanitising.

“The guidelines follow those recommended by the International Trail Running Association (ITRA, the international trail running body). This contrasts with the approach in other territories, where events have been allowed to restart with safety protocols in place.

“The reasonableness and logic here is obviously questionable. Trail running is non-contact, doesn’t involve a ball which all the players touch, takes place outdoors and can easily embrace social-distancing. So it is much safer than many other sports from the perspective of transmission of disease. It makes no sense that riskier sports have been allowed to resume, but trail running has not,” Ng said.

he wider implication of another raceless year is a loss of status for Hong Kong. The area is a running mecca for trail lovers across Asia and it may cede its desirable status to another country in the region, costing much-needed tourism dollars, Ng said. Not to mention the affects on mental health when thousands of runners do not have goals to work towards.

Micheal Maddess, race director at Action Asia, is deeply frustrated by the government’s lack of action. He has a group of full-time staff and warehouses for kayaks, bikes, ropes and other equipment for his races. He has been rejected for the ESS and other grant applications and blames an insurance company mix up with their MPF. He continues to pursue action to rectify the issue. His warehouse landlords have refused to reduce rent.

“It’s frustrating that there are so many Covid-19 loopholes. There’s so many people who can come over the border untested, or walk in and out the hospital without being tested. The fitness community is asking, why should we suffer because of the government?,” he said.

Maddess pointed to Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist with the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, who was recently quoted by RTHK saying evidence suggests the virus does not spread as quickly outdoors.

“Trail running relieves stress and improves mental well-being. I just wish our government can realise this as fitness is so beneficial to mental wellness, and in the tough times Hong Kong is facing now, what better industry to invest in?,” he said.

Steve Carr, a founder of RaceBase, is in a less tight spot. The company has little to no overheads and his income comes from teaching. But he is still frustrated. He has reached out to the government, and the only helpful responses he receives are from the police. Unfortunately, all they can say is that there will be no races for a while.

A lot of organisers have turned to virtual races, giving people a set window to run a course or distance and upload their time. Carr worries the government may even restrict this form of income.

“People are going to get annoyed before long. The sheer volume of virtual races that are appearing, and saying you have to complete it over a weekend, then you have 300 people running that weekend. It’s just 300 people running a race,” Carr said.

Martin Cai, founder of The Green Race, has gone from three to one employee over the course of the pandemic. However, he does give credit to the government.

“They haven’t just handed the money out, but if you’re paying attention they’ve put in opportunities to expand, improve and gain some capital,” he said.

Cai was given a Cyberport grant, designed for tech ideas. He pitched innovative ideas for timing and interactive running apps to a “Dragon’s Den” style panel. His business is in an incubation lab, with mentors and funding to help realise the plans.

“How long can we last? If we are just sitting waiting, then not long. The advice I’ve had from mentors in the programme is very quickly make your plan B your plan A,” Cai said.

“Our plan B is virtual events, which is a distant plan B. People want to meet up, race together and enjoy the community. Running virtually doesn’t compare, but this funding has given us an opportunity to make something that is as interactive and exciting as possible on a virtual scale.”

There is a danger that by the time it is ready, races will be back on and the work will have become redundant. But, it will lay foundations for other innovations.

“This pandemic has really shaken business models. Take timing – a lot of traditional timing methods are ’80s methods. It works so there hasn’t been a need to change. But this pandemic has turned the business models on their heads and we all hold the timing methods in our hands.

“I think there is going to be a quite a shake up in terms of how races are done with the technology available. I think for the better. Things stayed static, and the price too, but it should make races more affordable if we leverage technology,” Cai said.

An offshoot of the travel restrictions, and indoor venues being shut, is there are more hikers on the trails than ever before. Each of the race organisers said they were happy to see so many Hongkongers discovering the joys of the outdoors. But, there may be unintended frictions on the horizons.

Even before the pandemic, there were clashes between hikers and trail runners. Trail markers were tampered with or removed as hikers became annoyed with crowds of runners.

Cai worries the boom may limit race organisers’ creativity. They will be forced to run the same routes time and again in different directions, as the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) try and restrict clashes between popular races and popular hiking routes.

Maddess has been banging the drum for a while to be allowed on less busy routes. The AFCD only permit races on “named trails”.

“The AFCD need to look at ways to reduce the stress on some of the busier trails by either building new trails or encouraging use of lesser used “no name” trails by upgrading them or opening them up for events,” he said.

Racing is not the only aspect of trail running. You can run for free, any time, anywhere. There is a huge community of supportive runners and each trail organiser mentioned that it gives them hope.

“For me, it’s been really hard, because my thing is hanging out with people, it’s about mental health,” Carr said. “People recognise that race directors are being hit, so they want to support in whatever way that is possible, even if that is just running the course. It’s going to be a long slog, but the community will get around.”

Cai added: “It’s a really difficult time, and everyone is going through it in one shape or form. The community has stepped up, so many times people have offered their time. It really has helped and it has been amazing. I know we will get through this. It doesn’t mean it’s not difficult, but we will get through it together.”

(12/12/2020) Views: 681 ⚡AMP
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Former Ultra-Trail World Tour champion dies in training accident

The global ultra community is in mourning following the death of ultrarunner Andrea Huser

The international ultra-trail community was shocked to learn of the death of Swiss ultrarunner Andrea Huser, whose body was found near the small alpine village of Saas Fee, Switzerland, on Sunday. According to an article from Swiss news outlet 20 Minuten, Huser, 46, was reported missing on Saturday after she failed to return from a training run. The rescue party found her body at the bottom of a steep, 140m slope, and police from the nearby city of Valais determined it’s likely she slipped and fell while attempting to cross a stream blocking her route up above. Huser was well known among ultrarunners, and she had many impressive results to her name, including the 2017 Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) overall female crown. She reportedly retired from the professional ultrarunning scene earlier this year.

An incredible career

Huser entered the world of elite endurance sports in 2002, when she won the European mountain biking championship. In 2004, she finished fourth at the mountain biking world championships, and eight years later, she found her way to ultramarathons. She finished in second place at the famed UTMB in both 2016 and 2017, after placing seventh in 2014. Huser also recorded a 10th-place finish in her lone attempt at the Western States 100 in 2017, and she won the Grand Raid de La Réunion twice. Her last big win came in 2017 at the Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong, which helped her secure her UTWT series win.

Mourning a legend

Huser’s running club in Switzerland spoke with 20 Minuten following the news of her death. “It’s just amazing what she’s done,” said a board member from the club. “She was very popular and an amazing woman.” Big names in the ultra world have also spoken up to express their sadness upon hearing about Huser’s accident. “So sad to hear that Andrea Huser passed away,” tweeted Spanish ultrarunning phenom Kilian Jornet. “She was an extraordinary ultrarunner, [and] some seasons she [would] literally run everything, linking ultras every week.”

The UTWT tweeted in response to the news as well, writing a quote from tour director Marie Sammons, who said, “Many of us have had the privilege of meeting Andrea. … A bright and discreet woman leaves us too fast.”

(12/05/2020) Views: 824 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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2021 Hong Kong Marathon postponed to October 24 due to the pandemic

The 2021 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, one of the city’s showpiece sports events, is postponed to October 24 because of the uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisers announced the decision on Friday, saying: “Public health and safety are our top priority. In light of the uncertain pandemic situation and to align with the government’s prevention measures, the organisers will continue to work with relevant government departments and stakeholders for appropriate preparation work.”

The event, which in February 2019 attracted 74,000 entrants in the 10K, half marathon and marathon categories, was originally scheduled to take place on January 24. But in August, the organisers announced a postponement without providing a date, although it is believed they were looking at April.

However, with Covid-19 still a major health threat in Hong Kong and around the world – with no sign of easing – organisers have decided to push it back to October to avoid the summer heat. They also wanted to avoid holding it too close to the following year’s marathon, which is scheduled for early 2022.

The 2020 event, originally set for February 9, was called off because of the outbreak of Covid-19 in Hong Kong.

The October date has gained support from relevant government authorities, including the police – who will provide the road permit – and Home Affairs Bureau, the de facto sports ministry.

The Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates – the local governing body – needs five to six months to register runners, which means they do not have enough time to hold the race in early 2021 when the weather in Hong Kong is suitable for long distance running. Registration for the 2021 event is expected to open in the second quarter of next year.

(12/04/2020) Views: 1,193 ⚡AMP
by Chan Kin-wa
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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General entries to the first virtual Virgin Money London Marathon have sold out

General entries to the first virtual Virgin Money London Marathon have sold out with 45,000 places taken up for this unique version of the world’s greatest marathon.

Following the announcement that the London Marathon could not take place in its usual format on Sunday 4 October, runners across the UK – and worldwide – were invited to complete The 40th Race – Your Way.

Participants have 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to run, jog or walk the 26.2 mile distance on the course of their choice, anytime from 00:00 to 23:59:59 BST on Sunday 4 October. A new app is being developed, powered by TCS, to enable participants to log their 26.2 miles and earn the unique finisher medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt.

Priority was given to runners and charities with places in the 2020 event and then general entries opened on Wednesday 26 August.

The 20,000 general entries were snapped up by runners from 81 different countries, 51 per cent women and 49% men. Outside the UK, the biggest number of entries came from Australia, Hong Kong and the USA.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director for the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “The response has been amazing and the spirit of the London Marathon will shine brightly across the globe on Sunday 4 October.

“London is the most popular marathon on the planet with more than 457,000 people applying in the ballot for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. This first virtual London Marathon, The 40th Race, has offered a unique chance for runners around the world to earn that coveted finisher medal and T-shirt and we believe it is the biggest virtual marathon ever staged. It is also the most inclusive race in our history with runners having 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds to complete the 26.2 miles.

“We hope that millions will be raised for charities by our participants and we look forward to sharing their stories.”

There are a limited number of charity places left for the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon.

(09/02/2020) Views: 1,078 ⚡AMP
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TCS London Marathon

TCS London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Kenya’s long distance runner, Mikel Kiprotich Mutai has been handed a four-year ban with compatriot Japhet Kipchirchir Kipkorir getting a provisional suspension for doping offences

World Athletics’ (WA) Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on Friday that it had found Mutai guilty of having tested positive to prohibited substance Norandrosterone.

Mutai’s suspension starts on March 20, 2020 for four years and his results dating back to December 15, 2019 will be nullified.

Mutai and another Kenyan long distance runner Alex Oloitiptip were flagged down on May 13 by AIU for separate violations of anti-doping rules. AIU is yet to determine on Oloitiptip’s case after the athlete was flagged down for his whereabouts violation.

In his last race, Mutai finished third during the Taipei Marathon in 2:17:14 on December 15 last year in Taipei, almost a month after claiming an ninth place finish at Nanchang International Marathon in China in 2:19:06.

Mutai had started the year at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon where he finished eighth in 2:12:54 on February 17, having won the race for the first time in 2016 in 2:12:12.

Mutai, who has personal best 2:09:18 from 2012 Dubai Marathon, would then finish sixth at New Taipei City Marathon in 2:25:32 on March 1 last year.

Mutai started his road running career at the 2008 Nairobi Half Marathon where he finished eighth has a chance to appeal the decision.

Kipkorir, who finished third at 2011 Gold Coast Marathon in personal best 2:10:50, too has tested positive to prohibited substance Norandrosterone.

Mutai, Kipkorir and Oloitiptip join several other Kenyans who have either been banned or under provisional suspension for various doping offences this year by AIU.

They are the 2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru, Kennth Kipkemoi, 2014 World Under-20 800m champion Alfred Kipketer and former world marathon record holder, Wilson Kipsang.

Others are Mercy Kibarus, Vincent Kipsegechi Yator and Peter Kwemoi.

(05/29/2020) Views: 1,181 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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2020 Tokyo Olympic Games could be postponed to end of year

In a potentially seismic event postponement, Japan’s Olympic minister has said that the Tokyo 2020 Games could be moved from the summer until later in the year due to the coronavirus.

Speaking in Japan’s parliament, Seiko Hashimoto said Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “calls for the Games to be held within 2020… this could be interpreted as allowing a postponement.”

The Games are due to be held from July 24 to August 9.

“We are doing all we can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned,” Hashimoto added in a BBC report. IOC president Thomas Bach said last week that the organization is “fully committed” to hosting the event in the summer.

Any change of date for the Olympics would have a huge effect for broadcasters the world over.

Sporting events to be canceled or postponed due to the outbreak include the 2020 World Indoor Athletics Championships and the Chinese Grand Prix.

The film and TV industries have largely avoided cancelling major industry confabs to date though the Hong Kong Filmart was postponed. Cinemas in multiple European markets have been closed and the industry in China has been significantly impacted.

Globally, around 86,000 people have been infected by the virus, which has spread to more than 50 countries. More than 3,000 people have died – the vast majority in China’s Hubei region, where the outbreak began in December.

(03/03/2020) Views: 1,647 ⚡AMP
by Andreas Wiseman
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley runs 2:15:05 marathon debut at U.S. Olympic Trials

Jim Walmsley, one of the world’s best ultrarunners, ran his marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. On Saturday, Walmsley finished in 22nd and crossed the line in 2:15:05.

A year ago, we looked at Walmsley’s training as the Houston Half-Marathon approached. At Houston he nailed a 1:04:00, exactly the time he needed (down to the second) to qualify for the marathon trials. Following his 2019 Houston race, he went on to win a 50-mile race in Hong Kong and take 43 seconds off the 50-mile world record before shattering his own course record at Western States.

There’s no doubt Walmsley is a tough racer, but this was his first time racing a road marathon, and he didn’t quite have the chops to make the 2020 Olympic team. With that said, he ran an extremely impressive debut, on a windy day and on a hilly course.

The runner sat in the chase group (which included Galen Rupp, the eventual winner) for the first half of the race. That group was on pace for a sub-2:10 marathon, am ambitious pace for most of the runners.

Walmsley would fade, but not too much, averaging 5:10 miles and closing in 5:17. He finished ahead of some very impressive names like Jared Ward and Connor McMillan.

On Saturday, Rupp has made his fourth Olympic team, winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:09:20. Second place went to first-time Olympic qualifier Jake Riley, and third to five-time Olympic qualifier, masters runner Abdi Abdirahman. At 43, Abdirahman is also the oldest American ever to qualify for the Olympic marathon.

(03/02/2020) Views: 1,545 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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2024 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2024 US Olympic Trials Marathon

Most countries around the world use a selection committee to choose their Olympic Team Members, but not the USA. Prior to 1968, a series of races were used to select the USA Olympic Marathon team, but beginning in 1968 the format was changed to a single race on a single day with the top three finishers selected to be part...

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Tokyo Marathon Canceled for General Runners

The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events.

Some 38,000 runners have registered for the race scheduled on March 1, according to the Tokyo Shimbun, which reported on the cancellation earlier.

“The cancellation is disappointing,” said Akari Terrell, who was planning to compete on the day. “This time, it can’t be helped.”

Competitive races will still be held, as the Tokyo marathon is an Olympic trial race for professional runners. Last week, residents from China were asked to refrain from running in the race.

Major events have been called off or postponed in recent months due to the virus, including the Hong Kong Sevens international rugby tournament, as well as the annual Singapore Yacht Show.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February had repeatedly said the 2020 Olympics would not be canceled or postponed despite fears about the novel coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands and cast a shadow over travel and tourism in Asia.

(02/17/2020) Views: 1,234 ⚡AMP
by Shiho Takezawa
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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Chinese athletes forced to train in isolation due to coronavirus

Chinese athletes preparing for Tokyo 2020 have been forced to train in isolation due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Olympic hopefuls are being kept "behind closed doors" around the country, an official told Xinhua.

Coranavirus has killed more than 1000 people and spread to at least 27 countries since it originated in Chinese city Wuhan.

More than 40,000 people have been infected and the World Health Organization has declared a global emergency.

"Athletes are training behind closed doors in camps in various domestic and overseas cities in preparation for the Olympic Games and qualifying tournaments," said Liu Guoyong, the vice president of the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC).

"Up until now, no athlete from the national team has reported to be or is suspected of being infected with the virus.

"We will do our best to prevent all athletes from becoming infected."

The COC has been in contact with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the participation of Chinese athletes in Tokyo 2020 qualifiers, Liu said.

This comes after China's women's football team were kept in quarantine in Brisbane after arriving in Australia for an Olympic qualification tournament.

The squad had been in Wuhan, where the event was due to take place before the virus forced its move.

Four players were unable to leave China at all, including experienced midfielder Wang Shuang, with the tournament schedule this month re-jigged.

Liu added that Chinese athletes would have special arrangements for accommodation and transport.

"There will be over 100 Olympic qualifying tournaments around the world between February and April," he said.

"Hopefully the Chinese athletes can prepare well and claim more Olympic berths.

"The IOC has asked various international sports federations to provide all possible assistance and convenience to Chinese athletes."

The World Athletics Indoor Championships, initially scheduled for March in Nanjing, is the most high-profile sporting event to be postponed because of the virus so far. It has been delayed by a year until March 2021. The Hong Kong Marathon was also cancelled as well as many other events.  

The opening test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, an Alpine Skiing World Cup in Yanqing, was also cancelled.

Other sports affected include boxing, football, wrestling, basketball, tennis, hockey, badminton, diving, equestrian, golf and biathlon.

German Olympic Sports Confederation President Alfons Hörmann described the virus as the "greatest threat" to Tokyo 2020, with Japan one of the countries with confirmed cases.

This year's SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit in Beijing, scheduled for between April 19 and 24, is also at risk.

"We will keep a close eye on the development of the situation to decide when sporting events can be resumed," Liu said.

(02/10/2020) Views: 1,102 ⚡AMP
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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) Views: 1,507 ⚡AMP
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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With the 2020 Olympics approaching in less than six months, Tokyo officials are calling for action to contain the coronavirus

With the 2020 Olympics less than six months away, there is some speculation about the possible risk from the rapidly-spreading coronavirus that has already resulted in the postponement or cancellation of at least four major international competitions.

Though the possibility of the Olympics being cancelled seems unthinkable,  Tokyo City Governor Yuriko Koike was quoted yesterday by an Associated Press reporter as commenting: “With only 177 days to go and our preparations accelerating, we must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it.”

The Olympics are scheduled to take place in Tokyo and Sapporo from July 24 to August 9. The Asian Indoor Championships (previously scheduled for February 12 and 13 in Hangzhou, China), Hong Kong Marathon (February 8) and the Gaoligong UTMB ultra (March 21 to 23 in Yunnan, China) have all been cancelled, and the World Indoor Athletics Championships, previously scheduled for March 13 to 15 in Nanjing, China, have been postponed for one year to March, 2021.

According to the World Health Organization, as of yesterday there were 6,065 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 16 countries, almost 6,000 of them in China. Some sources claim there have been 170 deaths, and there have been no deaths outside of China. There are currently three confirmed cases in Canada. Each person infected with the virus could potentially transmit the infection to two or three other people.

Many international public health authorities are downplaying the risk of transmission so as not to induce panic, while discouraging non-essential travel to Wuhan. Meanwhile, sales of surgical masks to reduce the risk of transmission have skyrocketed in many countries.

The postponement of the World Indoor Championships has interesting implications for the Olympics. With the new World Rankings system, championship meets give athletes the chance to accrue points towards Olympic team qualification, giving those who compete at World Indoor Championships a leg up on their compatriots who do not. The one-year postponement means that opportunity is no longer available before the Olympics, so the effect of the postponement is to level the playing field somewhat (assuming the Olympics go ahead as planned).

(01/31/2020) Views: 1,349 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Boston marathon champion Lawrence Cherono said Tuesday that representing Kenya at the Tokyo Olympics will be a big achievement, winning gold will be dream come true

Lawrence Cherono, 31, said his main hurdle to securing a ticket to the Olympics will be in defending his title at the Boston Marathon in April.

However, he hopes to make the provisional team, set to be named in February for the Olympics.

For a country that has over 20 elite runners who have posted a faster time of 2:06.00, picking the best three will be a hard task for the coaches' selector panel.

But Cherono has showed a strong desire to represent the country and believes his good performance in the last season will convince the coaches to offer him his maiden show for the country at the global championship.

"The competition for position in the Kenya team is tough. With all my accomplishments, I have not been lucky to represent the country at the Olympics. It will be a great honor if I will be part of the team to Tokyo," Cherono said.

Cherono's debut in marathon was in Seville, Spain where he won in 2:09.39.

He then moved to China and was second at the Lanzhou marathon clocking 2:12.33 back in 2015. Later that year he finished seventh at the Shanghai marathon with a time of 2:14.22.

In 2016, he was second at the Hengshui Lake marathon, won in Prague marathon and claimed the silver medal at the Hong Kong city marathon. He has also finished first in Honolulu, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Chicago and Boston.

If winning in Boston again, Cherono will secure his ticket to Tokyo to join defending champion Eliud Kipchoge, who has already been confirmed for the Olympics.

But it will not be a walk in the park for Cherono in Boston. He will be up against 2018 Boston winner Yuki Kawauchi of Japan, former World marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui who has a personal best of 2:06:27 he recorded at the 2016 Amsterdam marathon.

Also chasing the title in Boston is the 2012 Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.

(01/29/2020) Views: 1,426 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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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) Views: 1,538 ⚡AMP
by Blake Schmidt, Natalie Lung, and Fion Li
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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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) Views: 2,087 ⚡AMP
by Chan Kin-wa
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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China dominates as You Peiquan and Xiang Fuzhao take titles at the Vibram Hong Kong 100

Mainland Chinese runners dominate the field on both the men’s and women’s side

China’s top trail runners were certainly not deterred from coming to Hong Kong given the city’s ongoing political protest scene, as the top spots was claimed by a mainland runner in the men’s and women’s categories at the HK100, a 103 km course that is based around the city’s famous MacLehose Trail.

You Peiquan won the men’s division with a time of 10:00:17, while Xiang Fuzhao won the women’s division with a time of 11:28:59. Yo led for most of the race in his attempt and set a new course record. He said he has only been competing for two years and has only now figured out how to master his nutrition for races. Yo also said he doesn’t have a coach, runs a lot on his own and mostly does laps on an empty stomach on a track to train.

“I started off very excited and might have overdone it,” said Yo through translation, who came first in the Captsone 60K and the Devil’s Ridge 60K last year. “For the last two hills I basically had to walk.”

China’s Jing Liang came second with a time of 10:33:10, and compatriot Deng Guomin with a time of 10:39:28, came third for the men. The race features less than 100 racers over two divisions.

Xiang, who finished second last year in the HK100 in more than 12 hours, said she felt good at the halfway point and then kept building from there.

“I said at the press conference that I would like to win in my third year,” said Xiang, who beat her time from 2019 by around 58 minutes. “This year I wanted to take it a bit more aggressively and at the midpoint I was already 20 minutes ahead. A lot of running is a mathematical game I think, looking, assessing and adding your times, and after that it was all about catching more time as I went on.”

She said this year came down to having more people help her prepare for the race.

“A lot of it was having a sponsor and a lot of support from everyone around me, and accommodation and training. And most importantly today I really wanted to be the champion.”

 

(01/20/2020) Views: 1,495 ⚡AMP
by Patrick Blennerhassett
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Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

The Vibram® Hong Kong 100 is an ultra endurance race that takes place in Hong Kong. The 103km course starts in Pak Tam Chung on the Sai Kung Peninsula and covers some of the most beautiful scenery in Hong Kong, including remote and unspoilt beaches, ancient forests, nature trails, reservoirs and steep hills. The course is based around Hong Kong's...

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Ultra runner Jared Hazen, is focused on winning the Vibram Hong Kong 100km ultramarathon

Jared Hazen is focused on winning the Vibram Hong Kong 100km ultramarathon, starting at 8am on Saturday, by leading the race as early as possible. The American speedster believes that although it is possible to podium by running conservatively, runners need to push from the start to come first.

“I’ve moved up, late in races, to a podium a spot. But trying to win is playing a whole other game, you have to be at the front of race the whole time,” Hazen, 25, said. “You're not going to luckily sneak your way into first place.”

The HK100 is the first race of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT). It is one of five UTWT races in Asia, including the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. It starts in Sai Kung and snakes across the New Territories to Tai Mo Shan.

Hazen said in any race, the reports you get in checkpoints about how far other runners are ahead of you can be inaccurate, making it hard to overtake them: “It's better to manage yourself while in the lead.”

However, pushing from the start is a risk as it is all or nothing, and you can blow up.

“I think it's OK for it to be nothing on some days,” he said. “But you have to hold yourself accountable to a certain extent. Sometimes it was stupid and you blew a chance. But you've got to give yourself a chance. Can you walk away with your head held high?”

Hazen added that although American runners have the reputation for going out hard, with an all or nothing attitude, it was only recently that the Europeans earned the same reputation: “I feel like it’s flip-flopped. But it’s because some faster American athletes have got into the sport recently.”

Owing to the HK100’s UTWT status, the start line is packed with talent. Foreigners, like Hazen, travel to Hong Kong and many unknown but equally talented mainland Chinese runners also attend. The past two editions have been won by mainland Chinese men and women.

Hazen said he knew the Chinese runners by name only. Usually, he is familiar with the field because he races the same events in the US so often. He knows his competitors’ styles, strengths and weaknesses.

“So this will be new. But that is what this year is about a little bit, stretching myself and racing new runners,” he said.

“I've been doing the same races for too long. There are some really cool races on the UTWT and I just want to participate in that more. I want to be more of an international runner and not a US runner,” he said. He is also targeting the Transvulcania in La Palma, Spain, in May and the CCC in Chamonix, France, in August.

Hazen is also returning to the Western States 100 mile (161) this summer, where last year he ran the second-fastest time ever. It would have been the course record had his training mate Jim Walmsley not beaten him that day and set the record.

(01/17/2020) Views: 1,691 ⚡AMP
by Mark Agnew
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Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra trail

The Vibram® Hong Kong 100 is an ultra endurance race that takes place in Hong Kong. The 103km course starts in Pak Tam Chung on the Sai Kung Peninsula and covers some of the most beautiful scenery in Hong Kong, including remote and unspoilt beaches, ancient forests, nature trails, reservoirs and steep hills. The course is based around Hong Kong's...

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Kenya will renew their rivalry with Ethiopia on Sunday in quest for Xiamen Marathon in China

Kenyan athletes are keen to end Ethiopian dominance in the Southern China city. Kenyan duo Reuben Kerio and Kennedy Cheboror also renewed their lifetime bests in 2019.

The 25-year-old Kerio clocked 2:07:00 in Eindhoven and won the Rock 'n' Roll Madrid Marathon last year, while Cheboror, 29, improved his personal best (PB) to 2:06:59 when finishing fourth in Daegu and went on to win the Gyeongju Marathon in October, which was his third title in six races since debuting over the classic distance in 2016.

"It is a tough race with top names from Ethiopia. But I believe we have a chance to showcase to the world that we are top of the game," said Cheboror on Friday.

Kenya's Moses Mosop was the last man to win in Xiamen, setting a course record of 2:06:19 in 2015.

"The course in Xiamen is tough and it requires strong preparations. I felt depleted after the race and it will not be easy for the athletes when they line up to improve the record," Mosop said.

The tall and long-legged Debela, who will celebrate his 25th birthday next Thursday, edged compatriot Afewerk Mesfin by just two seconds last year to take a second successive Xiamen victory in 2:09:26.

He went on to earn a runner-up finish in Chicago last October at 2:05:46, improving his personal best by 84 seconds, which suggests he has the ability to challenge the 2:06:19 course record set by Moses Mosop of Kenya in 2015.

While Debela is eyeing a hat-trick, Shura Kitata is expecting third-time lucky in Xiamen.

The 23-year-old Ethiopian has progressed rapidly in recent years and is the fastest man on paper with a best time of 2:04:49, which was set from his second-place finish at the 2018 London Marathon. He came close to that mark in April 2019 when he returned to London to finish fourth in 2:05:01.

After a third-place finish in 2016 and a runner-up spot in 2017, Kitata will be keen to set his foot onto the top step of the podium and challenge the course record which also stands as the Chinese all-comers' record.

Salah Eddine Bounasr of Morocco is another man to watch on Sunday. Although it will be his first outing in the southern Chinese city, the 29-year-old arrives in good form.

He has been unbeaten since his Beijing Marathon title in September 2017. He clocked a winning time of 2:09:29 in Vienna in 2018 and reduced his career-best to 2:07:52 in Otsu last March.

The 22-year-old Armino will also face a challenging title defense in the women's race. Last year Armino trimmed almost two minutes off her PB to score an upset victory over a strong field at 2:27:25. And the field she will face on Sunday is even stronger.

Armino's compatriot Yebrgual Melese leads the women's elite list with a best time of 2:19:36, which was achieved from her third-place finish in Dubai two years ago.

She is also the only woman in the field that has ever run faster than Mare Dibaba's course record of 2:19:52 set in 2015.

The 29-year-old Melese has built a reputation for her consistency, having won titles in Houston, Prague and two straight victories in Shanghai.

Fellow Ethiopian Afera Godfay is also a serious title contender. The 28-year-old grabbed her first international marathon victory in Dongying last April and improved her PB to 2:22:41, which made her the second-fastest entrant in Xiamen. More recently, she clocked 2:29:18 to finish 10th at the Ljubljana Marathon three months ago.

Ethiopian runners swept all 10 of the women's titles in Xiamen over the past decade. Volha Mazuronak of Belarus would be the biggest hope to break such dominance this year.

Mazuronak's best time of 2:23:54, which also stands as the Belarusian record, was set at the 2016 London Marathon.

The 2018 European champion has maintained a high level of competitiveness in recent seasons, taking the top honours two years ago in Dusseldorf and last year in Hong Kong before finishing fifth at the World Championships in Doha last September.

(01/04/2020) Views: 1,835 ⚡AMP
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CD XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

CD XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

The C&D Xiamen International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, People’s Republic of China. Every January, the first medal of marathon race around the world is awarded here. The race has become a golden name card of Xiamen, showing its splendor to the whole world.It is one of...

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Hongkonger runs the length of Japan, battling loneliness and becoming ‘the runner of past, present and future’

Wong Ho-fai runs 500km in one week, as part of his trans-Japan run from Wakkanai to Okinawa

Hong Kong ultra runner Wong Ho-fai completed an epic run from the north of Japan to the south, but it was one week in particular that stood out as an incredible feat.

After passing Tokyo, Wong worried that time was against him. So, he ran 500km in seven days.

“There was loneliness from Tokyo to Hiroshima,” he said, “but I let it subside by focusing on myself, and ran about 500km. I didn’t plan it, I just went fast. I was lonely, but I used the time to reflect. I was lonely but I was also afraid time was running out, so I was driven by fear, which made me more alert.”

Wong, 35, started his 3,250km run in Wakkanai in northern Japan on August 18 and arrived in Okinawa after 73 days of running at the end of October, and has since been relaxing in Japan and trying to readjust back in Hong Kong.

“I’m living a parallel life,” Wong said. “Part of me is living in the past, in Japan. Part of me is living in the present, in Hong Kong and a third part of me is living in the future, imagining running across America.”

Wong has long dreamed of running from coast to coast across the US, and has been building towards it with a 1,400km run around Taiwan and now across Japan.

Wong is trying to not get ahead of himself by spending time on his own and meditating.

“I try to live moment by moment, just like in Japan,” he said.

The start of the mission in Japan was delayed and so Wong set off too fast and injured himself. He was forced to rest, but the break gave him time to meet one of his heroes, ultra running legend Scott Jurek who told him “there is magic in suffering”.

Since returning from Japan, Wong has been getting rid of a lot of his belongings. He dreams of a life like he had during the run.

“I try to live as simple as I can,” he said. “After throwing away a lot of my stuff, I feel better. I feel much lighter.”

(12/07/2019) Views: 1,330 ⚡AMP
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Kenyan Felix Kimutai set a course record of 2:09:57 at the Istanbul Marathon last year, and this year he aims to retain Instanbul Marathon title

The 30-year-old won the Dongying Marathon earlier this year in 2:09:23, taking more than half a minute off his previous PB set when winning in Istanbul 12 months ago. But he may need to produce another lifetime best if he is to become the first back-to-back men’s winner since 2011.

Former track specialist Yitayal Atnafu of Ethiopia is the fastest in the field, having clocking 2:07:00 in Paris last year. The 26-year-old returned to the French capital earlier this year and recorded a season’s best of 2:08:31.

Based on this year’s times, Turkey’s Polat Kemboi Arikan leads the field. The two-time European 10,000m champion set a PB of 2:08:14 in Paris back in April, finishing just ahead of Atnafu, but earlier this month he withdrew from the marathon at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

Aside from Kimutai, two other men in the field know what it’s like to triumph in Istanbul. 2016 winner Evans Kiplagat of Azerbaijan and 2015 champion Elias Chelimo – both sub-2:08 performers at their best – return to the Turkish city. Kiplagat also recently withdrew from the World Championships marathon, while Chelimo has a season’s best of 2:11:41, set in Hong Kong.

Fellow Kenyans Cosmas Birech, Joseph Aperumoi and Hillary Kipchumba all have PBs inside 2:09 and so have the ability to contend for a podium finish. And watch out for Bahrain’s Abdi Ali Gelchu and Ethiopia’s Musa Babo, who have been in PB form this year, clocking 2:09:44 and 2:09:55 respectively.

Three pacemakers will lead the field through 30km on schedule for a 2:09 finish, so it’s possible that Kimutai’s course record could fall on Sunday.

Visiline Jepkesho has the strongest credentials of the entrants in the women’s race. The 29-year-old has the fastest PB (2:21:37) and season’s best (2:22:58) and outside of major championships has finished in the top four in all of her marathons to date.

Former track specialist Yitayal Atnafu of Ethiopia is the fastest in the field, having clocking 2:07:00 in Paris last year. The 26-year-old returned to the French capital earlier this year and recorded a season’s best of 2:08:31.

Based on this year’s times, Turkey’s Polat Kemboi Arikan leads the field. The two-time European 10,000m champion set a PB of 2:08:14 in Paris back in April, finishing just ahead of Atnafu, but earlier this month he withdrew from the marathon at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

Aside from Kimutai, two other men in the field know what it’s like to triumph in Istanbul. 2016 winner Evans Kiplagat of Azerbaijan and 2015 champion Elias Chelimo – both sub-2:08 performers at their best – return to the Turkish city. Kiplagat also recently withdrew from the World Championships marathon, while Chelimo has a season’s best of 2:11:41, set in Hong Kong.

Fellow Kenyans Cosmas Birech, Joseph Aperumoi and Hillary Kipchumba all have PBs inside 2:09 and so have the ability to contend for a podium finish. And watch out for Bahrain’s Abdi Ali Gelchu and Ethiopia’s Musa Babo, who have been in PB form this year, clocking 2:09:44 and 2:09:55 respectively.

Three pacemakers will lead the field through 30km on schedule for a 2:09 finish, so it’s possible that Kimutai’s course record could fall on Sunday.

Visiline Jepkesho has the strongest credentials of the entrants in the women’s race. The 29-year-old has the fastest PB (2:21:37) and season’s best (2:22:58) and outside of major championships has finished in the top four in all of her marathons to date.

But Jepkesho, who represented Kenya at the 2016 Olympics, contested the marathon at the World Championships just five weeks ago, finishing a respectable 15th in 2:46:38, so she may not be at her freshest on Sunday.

Merima Mohammed’s PB of 2:23:06 was set back in 2010, but the Bahraini runner is still highly competitive. She has a season’s best of 2:27:34 and won the Jilin Marathon in June.

Ethiopian duo Hirut Tibebu and Fatuma Sado are also expected to challenge. Tibebu finished second in Seoul in March, beating Mohammed and coming within 30 seconds of her PB with 2:24:05. Sado, meanwhile, is a 2:24:16 performer at her best and will be keen to improve on her third-place finish from Istanbul last year.

Three other women in the field head to Istanbul off the back of recent lifetime bests. Kenya’s Angela Tanui and Maurine Chepkemoi clocked respective PBs of 2:25:37 and 2:26:16 in Vienna seven months ago, while Ethiopia’s Sifan Melaku ran a PB of 2:26:46 in Seville in February.

The pacemaker in the women’s race will aim to put the leading athletes on schedule for a 2:21 finish.

(11/01/2019) Views: 1,851 ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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N Kolay Istanbul Marathon

N Kolay Istanbul Marathon

At the beginning, the main intention was simply to organise a marathon event. Being a unique city in terms of history and geography, Istanbul deserved a unique marathon. Despite the financial and logistical problems, an initial project was set up for the Eurasia Marathon. In 1978, the officials were informed that a group of German tourists would visit Istanbul the...

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The worlds 10 most scenic marathons that are worthy of your bucket list

These are the 10 most scenic marathoners you need to put on your bucket list 

1) Midnight Sun Marathon, Norway.  Head to Tromso, Norway to try an Arctic Marathon where the sun doesn’t set…literally! Norwegians experience the “Midnight Sun” from May 20 to June 22, which allows runners to run a marathon during the night. A big portion of the race happens along the coast, so runners enjoy picturesque views of the Norwegian sea as well as the snow-capped peaks. 

2) BMW Berlin Marathon, Germany. This marathon that starts and ends at the Brandenburg Gate takes runners in a large loop around the city. This is the perfect marathon to experience a slice of history as marathoners will pass the iconic Reichstag, Berlin Cathedral, Tiergarten and Potsdamer Platz, to name a few.

3) â€‹Marathon du Medoc (France).  This is a wine and food festival disguised as a marathon! The course will take you through the vineyards of the Médoc in Gironde. Held in the Southwest of France near Bordeaux; food stands and wine tasting stalls dot the entire course of this event. Nibbles offered include pastas, oysters, cheese, steaks, fruits, and the region's famous wines to wash down everything. This fun marathon usually turns into a carnival of spirited, costumed runners as participants are encouraged to dress, according to the year’s theme. 

4) The Hong Kong Marathon (Hong Kong).  This is easily the biggest participation sporting event in Hong Kong with over 70,000 runners from 90 countries participating in it. Marathoners enjoy some of the best urban landscape. This iconic race unfolds against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s breath-taking skyline and harbour. The full marathon and half marathon, both start at Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui racing up into New Territories, and heading back down to a spectacular finish in Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island. The Hong Kong Marathon has been awarded Gold Label status since the 2016 and with total prize money of US$300,000, it is one of Asia's most prominent marathons.

5) Big Five Marathon (Limpopo, South Africa).  This is undoubtedly the wildest marathon in the world! Conducted within the private Entabeni Game Reserve in South Africa, this marathon runs through the African savannahs. True to the marathon’s name, you have a chance of bumping into lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and cape buffaloes in addition to the other animals like giraffes, antelopes, etc., along the way. The safety of the runners is not compromised as park rangers watch over the Big Five Marathon to ensure that participants can gaze safely at zebras, leopards, and antelopes as they run.

6) Great Wall Marathon (China).  This marathon isn’t for the faint hearted, but it’s the race of a lifetime. Strictly speaking, the marathon route overlaps the Great Wall of China for a small section of the race, but this relatively short section on the Wall is a challenging 5,164 steps. Participants get to run through old villages and see sweeping hillside views, with hundreds of enthusiastic locals cheering for them. 

7) Skarkasse 3-Laender Marathon (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).  This unique marathon offers runners an opportunity to run through three countries - Germany, Austria and Switzerland in one single race! This 26.2-mile journey starts on the island of Lindau, Germany, before taking runners through several Austrian towns, and then crossing the Swiss border and finishing in Bregenz. The flat terrain, half of which courses along the shores of Lake Constance, features a mix of cobblestone, gravel and asphalt. 

8) Big Sur Marathon (California, USA).  For the past two years, the Big Sur Marathon sells out in record time! Traversing through one of the world’s most scenic courses, meandering through the coastline along the azure blue waters of the Pacific ocean and redwoods, the Big Sur International Marathon held in California ranks high on the list of challenging marathons due to its alpine terrain and strong headwinds. Known for its incomparable natural beauty and dramatic coastal scenery, this race has a strict 6-hour time limit to complete it.

9) Patagonian International Marathon (Patagonia, Chile).  This marathon will take you through the jaw-dropping landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park, a route which makes way through turquoise waters, towering peaks and pristine glaciers. This is also the most eco-friendly race in the world. Instead of medals, participants have a tree planted in their name. The organisers also encourage you to carry your own water bottles to avoid cup waste. So, go ahead and fulfil your dream of running in one of the most pristine places on the planet!

10) Australian Outback Marathon (Australian).  Big open skies, cool rock formations, soft red earth under your feet, this marathon was made for adventure seekers and nature lovers. This marathon will give runners a glimpse of the famous Uluru and Kata Tjuta rock formations and sacred sites of the aboriginals of the area. 

(09/07/2019) Views: 4,135 ⚡AMP
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Midnight Sun Marathon

Midnight Sun Marathon

The Midnight Sun Marathon first started in 1989 and has runners from most of the world, attracted by its special feature of running in the midnight sun. The race starts and finishes at the city center. The runners are facing the Tromso Bridge after 2 km; an uphill from 6 to 43 meters over sea level. After running about 20...

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Tollefson, Dauwalter Lead a Strong Pack of Americans at 2019 UTMB

A year after a bad fall ended Tim Tollefson’s latest effort to be the first American atop the podium at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), the ultrarunner is returning with reignited determination—but also a heavy heart.

Twice a third-place finisher of the daunting 171K, the Mammoth Lakes, California, pro is primed and ready to compete in this epic race through the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps between Friday and Saturday. This comes after Tollefson’s bid in 2018 ended around the 48K mark when a fall required stitches in his left quad, forcing him to withdraw, but not leading to any long-term damage.

Though a disappointing way to end his day and his hunt for first, he’s put that behind him as he once again tries to become the first American man to finish atop the podium in the 17-year history of the race.

“Last year doesn’t haunt me, but it’s something I would like to avenge,” Tollefson told Runner’s World. “It serves more of a constant reminder that I need to come back here and prove something to myself because I think I have unfinished business. I think this race in particular plays to experience, and I’d like to think that I now have enough experience and the skill set to put together the performance I have dreamt of.”

Training was slightly different this year to prepare. The 34-year-old physical therapist added about 20 percent more vertical gain during his weekly training, especially on long runs. This included dozens of 20- to 30-mile runs with about 9,500 feet of vertical gain. He also won the popular 120K Lavaredo Ultra Trail in June in Cortina, Italy, with a time of 12:18:47.

With more than 32,000 feet of vertical gain and often inclement weather, the UTMB course has been known to crush even the strongest and fittest runners. Tollefson proved worthy of the challenge in 2016 and 2017 with third-place efforts, not to mention his runner-up showing in the adjacent CCC 100K in 2015.

This year, Tollefson is competing for more than just his personal goals: He is running to honor a fallen friend. On August 14, friend and fellow Mammoth Lakes resident Cody Tuttle, a 32-year-old professional filmmaker and photographer who documented Tollefson for several projects, died in a paragliding accident near Lone Pine, California.

“It was a tragic loss for the community,” Tollefson said. “It’s a sobering reminder that every time we go into the mountains, there is an inherent risk, and yet there is a reason we are all drawn to this type of rugged mountain environment.”

Tollefson will have heavy competition as he strives for his goal. As usual, the men’s field of the race is deep, with Frenchman Xavier Thévenard, a three-time winner and defending champion as the clear favorite. Last year’s runner-up Robert Hajnal of Romania is also in the field, but Americans Zach Miller, twice a top-10 finisher at UTMB, Alex Nichols, who was second at the 2018 Hong Kong 100K, Hayden Hawks, who has had big success at 50K and 100K races, and Jason Schlarb, who has been on a tear since turning 40, could all be contenders.

“I feel like I’ve finally acquired the climbing skills that allows me to run with the Europeans and be able to be confident coming into this race,” Tollefson said. “It still comes down to executing the race, but I’m really psyched to get out there and run another lap around Mont Blanc.”

The women’s field is also intriguing, especially from an American point of view. Although defending champion Francesca Canepa of Italy returns, all eyes are on Courtney Dauwalter, who has dominated women’s ultrarunning in recent years, right up to the point when she dropped out of the Western States Endurance Run in late June with a hip injury. The 34-year-old Golden, Colorado, resident is healthy, but admits she didn’t do the training she had hoped while recovering from her injury.

“It’s a long race and, from what I hear, it’s a grind, so it’s not a fast 100-miler,” Dauwalter told Runner’s World. “I’m not sure how my skills and experience will play into it, but I’m going to take each section as they come and run as efficiently as possible and see what happens. These mountains are awesome and the challenge will be big.”

Two-time winner Rory Bosio (2013, 2014) from Truckee, California, is also back after running the shorter OCC in 2017 and the longer TDS last year, while Nebraska’s Kaci Licktieg, who took third at Western States Endurance Run this year, and Katie Schide, an American living in Switzerland, both could be poised to compete for podium finishes.

“I don’t know if I can be competitive; the women’s field is bonkers this year, and I think that’s great,” Bosio told Runner’s World. “Winning those races back to back seems so long ago, almost like it happened to a different person. But it’s going to be an exciting race, no matter what because it’s UTMB.”

More than 2,300 runners from 90 countries will start the race at noon ET on Friday. You can follow along live here.

(08/31/2019) Views: 1,878 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy. It is 6:00pm and we are more or less 2300 people sharing the same dream carefully prepared over many months. Despite the incredible difficulty, we feel...

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Desiree Linden is going to be running the New York City Marathon before Boston

Des Linden says she’s running every marathon as if it’s her last. She could have said goodbye on April 15, finishing fifth in defense of her Boston Marathon title, blowing kisses to the crowd after denying regurgitation.

Instead, Linden plans to race the New York City Marathon for the third time and second year in a row on Nov. 3.

The two-time U.S. Olympian placed fifth in 2014 and sixth in 2018 at the five-borough event. She decided to sign up again after a post-Boston break and a weeklong Hong Kong vacation.

“Just been logging a lot of miles deciding what would be next and got the itch to start doing workouts and getting the longer stuff,” Linden said. “It’s the biggest stage in the world, so it’s hard to pass up on that opportunity. It’s a no-brainer. I like tough, technical courses.”

Linden, 36, could become the oldest female U.S. Olympic marathoner since 2004 next year. But, taking the one-at-a-time mantra that Shalane Flanagan adopted late in her career, she’s not (yet) committing to the Olympic trials on Feb. 29.

Neither of Linden’s previous Olympic experiences was especially memorable. She dropped out of her first Olympic marathon in 2012 with a stress fracture in her femur. She was seventh in Rio, missing a medal by less than two minutes. The Kenyan-born gold and silver medalists were later busted for EPO and are serving lengthy doping bans.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove and anything unfinished,” at the Olympics, Linden said. “Quite frankly, the last experience is a hard sell to get back out there to try to compete for medals when you’re not even really sure what the field is all about. It’s a little bit difficult to be excited about that with the way we are about the [World Marathon] Majors. People investing in anti-doping have really been solving that problem [at the majors]. It’s a little tricky [at the Olympics], but certainly representing your country is special.”

Linden did acknowledge that a technical, undulating course like New York could provide ideal preparation for the Olympic trials course in Atlanta that, like New York, is not expected to produce fast times. Linden also dismissed it being too tight of a turnaround from the latest of the fall major marathons to a trials in the winter.

Linden did not race fall marathons in 2011 or 2015 ahead of Olympic trials, though the trials race was earlier each of those years. If she does race at next year’s trials, it would mark her shortest break between marathons of what would be her 20 times contesting the distance.

“There’s ample time to recover and get back at it,” she said. “I don’t need to go and run a fast time or get a qualifier or anything. It was just about picking the race that was going to get me excited.”

(08/06/2019) Views: 1,659 ⚡AMP
by Nick Zaccardi
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TCS  New York City Marathon

TCS New York City Marathon

The first New York City Marathon, organized in 1970 by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta, was held entirely in Central Park. Of 127 entrants, only 55 men finished; the sole female entrant dropped out due to illness. Winners were given inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball and bowling trophies. The entry fee was $1 and the total event budget...

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Yuta Shitara sets new course record at the Gold Coast Marathon even when weather conditions were not ideal

The second fastest Japanese marathon runner in history became the fastest runner in Gold Coast Marathon history when Yuta Shitara won the IAAF Gold Label race in 2:07:50 this morning.

The 27-year-old had an exciting duel with placegetters Barnabus Kiptum of Kenya and Zane Robertson of New Zealand over the final 12km before making his move with 2km remaining.

It was the eighth win by Japanese men in the 41-year history of the event and bettered the race record and Australian all comers record previously held by Kenyan Kenneth Mungara (2:08:42).

Shitara takes home $20,000 in victory prize money and an additional $10,000 time bonus for his record-breaking effort today.

Kiptum, the winner of the Hong Kong Marathon in February, finished second in a personal best 2:08:02, while marathon debutant Robertson placed third in 2:08:19.

It was an extra special result for Robertson as his time was a New Zealand record, bettering the previous mark of his brother Jake (2:08:26, Lake Biwa, 2018), and he was crowned the IAAF Oceania Area Marathon Champion for 2019.

The first Australian across the line was Victorian Liam Adams in sixth place clocking a pb 2:11:36 – a bittersweet result for the 32-year-old as it was an agonising six seconds outside the 2020 Olympic qualification standard.

Dual world champion over 1500m and 5000m on the track Bernard Lagat (USA) improved his marathon pr to 2:12:10 for seventh place, while 2013 race winner Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) placed 13th in 2:15:32.

"It's definitely a confidence builder, and I have had a lot of things to make me confident, but this is a big one heading into the Japanese Olympic trials," said Shitara.

Shitara, who stayed with the lead group of four throughout the race, said although he was not aiming for a particular time or result, the win showed his training had paid off.

“We did a lot of training, and I think that helped," he said in a post-race interview.

Weather conditions on the Gold Coast were less than ideal, with athletes in both the full- and half-marathons battling headwinds and heavy rain.

"Honestly, I'd like to be able to run together with Yuta but I'm still not good enough," Kimura said.

Kenyan Rodah Jepkorir (KEN) held off a strong finishing burst from Tasmanian Milly Clark (AUS/TAS) to take the women’s Gold Coast Marathon.

The 27-year-old broke away from the 30km mark and then lasted to break the tape in 2:27:56, with Clark second (2:28:08) and Eritrea’s Nazret Weldu (ERI) third in 2:28:57.

This year’s eight Gold Coast Marathon races attracted a total of 26,287 entries, including 3,678 overseas competitors, as the event continues to achieve a long-term upward trend.

(07/06/2019) Views: 2,102 ⚡AMP
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Well done. 7/10 10:05 pm


Gold Coast Airport Marathon

Gold Coast Airport Marathon

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is held annually in one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. It is Australia’s premier road race and was the first marathon in the country to hold an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label. The event is held on the first weekend of July and attracts more than...

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Henri Lehkonen is more prepared than ever for the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

The Hong Kong-based Australian Henri Lehmonrn will run the Western States 100 with a power monitor attached to his shoe and will stick religiously to a predetermined wattage.

“It’s been a revelation. If I lost the thing, I’d buy another tomorrow,” he said. “It’s a miracle way to control yourself in racing.”

Lehkonen believes it is better than other similar metrics, like heart rate, because it removes variables like excitement or altitude.

“I’ve done enough races now when I’ve not followed the watch and I’ve blown up, and when I’ve followed the watch and I’m tearing past people at the end,” he said. “I follow it for the first third – that’s where the damage is done if you over exert yourself. Then you get the adrenaline from passing people.”

And it is working. In March, he ran the 100km Ultra Trail Australia (UTA). He was 69th after 1km, but finished 11th in a highly competitive field.

Power meters are common in sports like cycling, but are yet to be taken up widespread in trail running. Lehkonen was introduced to the meter by his coach Andy Dubois, who crunches the data to give him an accurate power curve for his races.

Aside from the gadgets, Lehkonen is leaving no stone unturned. It is notoriously hard to win a place at WSER100. Hopefuls enter a lottery, and improve their chances by entering the lottery multiple years in a row. This was Lehkonen’s third year submitting an application, which is relatively quick.

“It’s Western States. It’s that big and it’s hard to get into, so I’m viewing it as all in,” he said.

He flew to California for a weekend to look at the course. The race directors organised a three-day event where runners could do the last 112km of the course, with some of the checkpoints set up.

(06/21/2019) Views: 1,868 ⚡AMP
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Western States 100

Western States 100

The Western States ® 100-Mile Endurance Run is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race. Starting in Squaw Valley, California near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ending 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California, Western States, in the decades since its inception in 1974, has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the...

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The strongest fields ever assembled for the New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon will be gunning for race records

On the men's side, four entrants with sub-2:10 credentials will be on the start line targeting the 2:13:05 standard set by Kenyan Josphat Too in 2013.

Among the favourites is Kenyan Mike Mutai, the winner of the 2016 Hong Kong Marathon who also boasts podium finishes from marathons in Singapore, Hangzhou and Hefei. Mutai, 36, clocked his 2:09:18 lifetime best in Dubai in 2012.

Another contender is Ethiopian Abraham Girma whose 2:06:48 personal best set in 2012 makes him the fastest in the field. More recently, he clocked 2:12:46 in Porto last November, finishing fifth.

A third contender is Philip Kangogo of Kenya, who set his 2:08:16 lifetime best when winning the 2015 Barcelona Marathon in his debut over the distance.

Mathew Kipsaat, who clocked 2:09:19 at the 2017 Rome Marathon, is also in the field. 

Similarly in the women's race, five women with sub-2:30 credentials have been recruited to set their sites on Kim Jong-hyang's 2:34:53 race record set in 2014.

He Yinli (marathon world ranking: 164) of China is the fastest in the field with a personal best of 2:27:35 set at the 2015 Chongqing Marathon where she's finished on the podium twice. She clocked 2:31:14 at the Osaka Women's Marathon in January, her most recent race.

Kenyan Nancy Koech (marathon world ranking: 318) is another contender. She arrives armed with a 2:29:30 career best set at the 2017 Daegu Marathon, with wins at the Malaga, Copenhagen and Munster marathons to her credit.

Another Kenyan, Sylvia Medugu (marathon world ranking: 201), has a 2:29:09 personal best, set at the 2017 Frankfurt Marathon. 

(03/15/2019) Views: 2,020 ⚡AMP
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New Taipei City WJS Marathon

New Taipei City WJS Marathon

The best thing about Wan Jin Shi Marathon Race, is the chance to take in the enchanting view along the North Shore. The breathtaking view of the mountains and the seaside is the centerpiece of the race. The Queen's Head Rock is set against the backdrop of the North Shore, complemented by the area's many scenic landmarks. This is the...

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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) Views: 1,927 ⚡AMP
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HONG KONG MARATHON

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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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) Views: 1,400 ⚡AMP
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