Hong Kong Mountain Marathon Report, Jan 23, 2005
Sure beats pounding the roads on the Mizuno Race
Following the recent cool weather, runners had to be disappointed waking up on Sunday to find the mercury and the humidity creeping up. This made race conditions tougher, but runners were treated to a course with stunning views and lots of variety to take their minds off their suffering. The Tai Tam based course is known as a tough half marathon and a relatively easy full marathon (except for two super steep hills) because of some nice long contour and catch water trails that eat up the mileage.
Full Marathon: JoeJoe Fan's Amazing Performance
JoeJoe didn't win the race outright, but she almost did, coming in 3rd overall with a truly great display of fast and strategic running. Forsaking her customary slow start, JoeJoe attacked from the beginning, but still kept enough in reserve to surge past all the blokes who had misjudged their pace in the hot weather. She finished only 4 minutes behind race winner John McKinven and a mere 8 seconds behind second place Michael Maddess while running the fastest split of the entire race field over the final interval. JoeJoe also succeeded in setting a new female course record along the way, knocking 15 seconds of Chiaki Fjelddahl's best time on a cooler day. Now that JoeJoe has taken her running to a new level, she may achieve her 3- hour marathon target this year.
First place John McKinven was aware that he was in first place this race. He was just praying that he wouldn't blow up on the final contour trail given the hot conditions. With 2 victories in the series, John has now set up a winner takes all final race against Neil Tait in the last race. John is a restaurant manager and is graciously extending an invitation to Neil to come to his restaurant for dinner the night before the last race. He promises a meal to keep Neil moving…
Veteran Michael Maddess showed his best form of the entire series as he seems to cope with the heat better than most people. Franz Nel went off way too fast (as usual) and Michael reeled him in shortly after the halfway point and then held off JoeJoe (barely) Mark Doel (open second), Tada Ryusuke (open third), Li Cheuk Ming (veteran second) and Andrew Patrick (veteran third).
There were no surprises in the MV45+ category as Mak Ping Yin won again with another course PB. Hon Hon Ming was a distant second while newcomer Ng Chan Yan ran a spirited third.
One of the most competitive and entertaining rivalries in the race series is between V55's Lam Ngok Kam and Bob Whitehead. Lam was the winner two years ago, while Bob had the better of it last year and most of this season. Sunday was Lam's turn again. After falling 2 minutes behind early, Lam caught up with Bob and ran with him through most of the middle of the race and then pulled ahead going up the Twins. He crossed the finish line grinning from ear to ear - finally beating Bob after beginning to doubt that he ever would again. Bob was gracious in defeat and vows to regain his form at the Sham Tseng race. Mike Barker finished third and was also seen smiling as he cracked open his first beer.
Having won the Power Bar Sprint the previous week, Hisayo Takeda was considered a legitimate threat to beat JoeJoe, but in the end she suffered leg cramps and never really challenged. Still her performance was good enough for second place and she clearly has the talent to run faster times. Wong Suk Wah finished her now customary 3rd place (she has come in 3rd in every race in the series no matter who runs or doesn't run).
Running in the female vets category for the first time, Monica Ng Lai Kwan found the competition to her liking as she won - this despite managing to turn off the course onto the road behind Island International School less than 2 minutes from the end. Monica had no explanation for this 5 minute detour, admitting that this was the 3rd time she had run the course and her first time to go wrong. As I said earlier, the heat seemed to affect people…Jenny Tang ran a strong second with Hui Wai Ling sprinting away from her running companions at the end to capture third.
Half Marathon - Another Victory for Shorrock
Veteran Bob Shorrock flew back into HK the night before the race, but showed no ill effects, leading from start to finish to win the race and smash the veteran course record while running the second fastest course time ever. Bob has now wrapped up the veteran's category crown with 3 straight age group victories and two overall victories. Interviewed by Cable TV after the race, Bob was asked why he liked trail running as compared to road running and gave the answer that most of us who run KOTH would have given, "When we are pushing ourselves, its really nice to look around and see beautiful nature rather than boring roads."
Adrian King placed second overall and with his second consecutive age/category victory has set up a winner take all final with Gary Mandy in the Sham Tseng race in February.
Peter Hopper returned from his road running hiatus to finish third overall. Peter wasn't upset that Bob had just broken his veteran course record as it turns out that Peter is now 45 and had just set a v-45+ course record. We hate to tell you, however Peter, that Bob turns 45 later this year, so you may not be holding this course record for long.
Veteran's also took places 4th and 5th overall with Peter Northam and Alan Wilson respectively fending off the youngsters. We frequently get results like this when the weather suddenly turns warm as the veterans perhaps have more experience adapting to the changing weather conditions. Jeremy Sutch and Luke Wimbush rounded out the open category podium finishers while Philippe Guillo and Dean Lewis did so for the MV45's.
Peter Wong Chung Tung was again victorious in the MV55's and with 3 crowns has wrapped up his category for the series. John Tanner was second, a mere 7 seconds ahead of Jim White in yet another close battle between these two with Robert Pardoe 4th. Behind Peter, the silverware is very much up for grabs at the last race.
Grace Balintong returned to good form to win the ladies open race. Grace was 3 minutes faster than in 2004 despite the hotter conditions, but fell short of the course record. Jackie Males was a distant second, just ahead of Kawasaki Chisato.
Showing her commitment to running, Edwanaa Joanne Estolatan skipped her friend's hen party the previous evening in order to stay in and rest up for the race. She was rewarded with a first in the ladies' vets and has clinched the series. Wu Wai Yee and Wong Yin Yee remain very much in contention for the silverware at the end of the series after finishing second and third respectively yesterday.
The last race in the series takes place in Sham Tseng on 13th February. This course features both the longest full and half marathons in terms of distance, but takes place over very beautiful trails with not that many steep or rough hills to contend with. For those battling for awards dinner placings, it also serves as the tiebreaker in the event that two runners accumulate an equal number of points during the series. Please see www.seyonasia.com for details.
Results - Full Marathon
Male Open: 1) John McKinven, 3:34:14; 2) Mark Doel, 3:41:45; 3) Tada Ryusuke, 3:45:04
Male V-40: 1) Michael Maddess, 3:38:32; 2) Li Cheuk Ming, 3:46:53; 3) Andrew Patrick, 3:49:43
Male V-45: 1) Mak Ping Yin, 3:45:06; 2) Ho Hon Ming, 4:04:52, 3) Ng Chan Yan, 4:11:31
Male V-55: 1) Lam Ngok Kan, 4:09:16; 2) Bob Whitehead, 4:11:54; 3)Mike Barker, 4:37:03
Ladies Open: 1) JoeJoe Fan Sui Ping, 3:38:40; 2) Hisayo Takeda, 4:27:44; 3) Wong Suk Wah, 4:33:38
Ladies Veteran: 1) Ng Lai Kwan, 5:01:16; 2) Jenny Tang, 5:14:47; 3) Hui Wai Ling, 6:10:47
Results - Half Marathon
Male Open: 1) Adrian King, 1:51:28; 2) Jeremy Sutch, 2:05:07; 3) Luke Wimbush, 2:06:23
Male V-40: 1) Bob Shorrock, 1:46:05; 2) Peter Northam, 2:04:37; 3) Alan Wilson, 2:04:59
Male V-45: 1) Peter Hopper, 2:00:11; 2) Guillo Philippe, 2:11:05; 3) Dean Lewis, 2:21:01
Male V-55: 1) Peter Wong Chung Tung, 2:26:09; 2) John Tanner, 2:35:32; 3) Jim White, 2:35:59
Ladies Open: 1) Grace Balintong, 2:09:32; 2) Jackie Males, 2:27:09; 3) Kawasaki Chisato, 2:28:14
Ladies Veteran: 1) Edwana Joanne Estolatan, 2:37:38; 2) Wu Wai Yee, 2:48:44; 3) Wong Yin Yee 2:57:03