Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2008

Review            Results, Photos, Videos - 2008            Next Event - 2009

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Gigantic Dimensions

With 50,000 participants across three 10k, one half and one full marathon race, the Special Administrative Region's brand name marathon is the uncontested giant marathon in the region. Participation umbers have been growing every year since SARS and the highest-ever quota this year was already full long before the enrolment deadline.

When you are one of the lucky confirmed participants, you will enjoy the race as a quite particular one. Expect 60 - 80% of the participants to be running novices. Good for the public health - regular exercise among the average population has received a tremendous push throughout the last years, thank at least in part to "marathon-mania".

Caution - Traffic Jam!

On the downside - a big number of inexperienced runners can provide for a special experience of a different kind. in recent years, the organizers, who are otherwise doing a very good job in providing infrastructure in every aspect to the masses - have not always been successful in considering the effect when "runners meet runners" of different speed and condition in their respective races. there was an incident in 2006, when the leading runners of the 10k female and master competition virtually bumped into the trailing finishers of the seniors' batch which started half an hour before. This can be quite frustrating - if it goes on for the last 3-4 km and if the "moving obstacles" are half the speed of yours, chatting on the cell phone or are otherwise sharing their joy in running through a tunnel with others.

The year later, in 2007, organizers overcame this problem by cutting the 10k field by speed instead of gender and age ("who wants to run fast has to get up early"). This worked quite well for the three 10 k races but nit for the half-marathoners who met the overwhelming crowd of the last (...and slowest) 10k batch just before the infamous tunnel-bottleneck, where 6 lanes of runners are literally squeezed onto two lanes and forced to a stop-and-go traffic alike the cars which normally frequent this and other tunnels in the early morning rush-hours.

Never mind! This time around, everything will be better, with separated courses for 10k runners (on Hong Kong Island only) and half and full marathoners (on the "traditional" route, crossing via the Western Harbour tunnel). However, looking at the glitches of the recent years, you are advised to factor in any kind of traffic congestion in your personal race plan.

Air Quality

Air pollution has been a hotly debated topic for the last two races with even one casualty rumored to be connected to the bad air quality. Though, the actual impact might be less than in not-so-well organized races (see our Macau report), where the traffic jam (this time its real cars and scooters) happens on the lane next you.

Again, there is good news in the Year of the Rat: In 2008, Hongkong Marathon will take place just after the Chinese New Year holidays, when migrant workers in all the factories in the Pearl River delta, which churn out your iPod and the infamous lead-painted toys, are off for the Golden Week. Myriads of small-scale, inefficient diesel-powered electricity generators, cement kilns and other polluters will have a 1-3 weeks break and thus give the air in and around Hong Kong time to breathe.


Review            Results, Photos, Videos - 2008            Next Event - 2009

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