Hong Kong Mountain Marathon - Sunday, Feb 13, 2011
13 February 2011
(Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, raining with temperatures ranging from 10-15 degrees)
The North Face King of the Hills Hong Kong Mountain Marathon
400 runners braved decidedly wet conditions to take up the annual challenge of running Tai Tam Country Park’s most beautiful trails. Given the horrible weather, a special thanks goes out to all of the marshals who got soaked supporting the race!
Full Marathon – Stone is back!
Stone Tsang has finally recovered from his early season injuries and returned to racing form. Stone not only won the race, he recorded a PB 3:02:27 despite the slippery conditions.
William Davies had won most trail races of note this season, but found himself in the unusual position of chasing Stone and being pushed by a visiting South African, William Robinson. William (Davies) finally broke free for second place, leaving the other William (Robinson) to settle for third and some nice memories to take home and reflect on during training runs on Table Mountain.
Peter Lee made his first appearance of the season with a conquest of the M40 division (3:31:24) despite being pushed quite hard by Man Seung Kung(2nd) and Rupert Chamberlain (3rd).
Chan See Kau dominated the M50’s again (3:41:17), knocking 11 seconds off the age group course record and putting his name in the record books. Li Yiu Cheung, Raymond came in second while the man whose record was broken, Ng Chau Yan, came in third.
Claus Rolf stunned everyone, including himself, by breaking Bob Whitehead’s 6-year old M55 course record. Claus’ 3:49:25 put him in 14th place overall. Claus credited a recent powder skiing trip for giving him the leg strength for this fantastic time. Leung Kam Yuen finished second in the age group, followed by Chan Chee Ming.
And what of the M45s? It seems that most of the iron of this age group stayed in bed this morning. Jonathan Rodda, who has had a strong season, finished first (4:21:48), followed by Wong Tsun Yin and triathlete Andrew Patrick.
Lucy Marriott ran her first ever KOTH full marathon and showed no ill effects from the longer distance. Her 3:41:10 put her comfortably in first place overall in the lady’s race and only 7 minutes off the course record. Great first effort! Kim Jinwha’s friends described her as crazy during the race and her exuberant energy at the finish suggested potential to go much faster, but she was delighted to finish second in the lady’s open. Dessert runner Denvy Lo finished third, leaving her hashing buddies in her wake.
Lee Bik Sai was rock steady to win the F40 race (4:23:46) and be the second women overall across the finish line. Fellow age grouper Lo Yin Ngor was second, followed by old friend Carolyn Kng.
Half Marathon – Kota Kinabalu challenge
Malaysian visitor Safrey Sumping was the pre-race favorite based upon several top finishes (including 3rd overall one year) on the Kota Kinbalue Climbathon where he guides. Safrey would have won, but for a very fast and smart tactical race run by in-form Clement Dumont. In the end, there was only 5 seconds between them in a thrilling finish with Clement (1:45:40) and Safrey (1:45:45) running the second and third fastest times in the history of the course. Finally back from months of stomach trouble, Darren Benson finished an admirable third.
Mark Western (1:55:27) was the first M40 vet, coming in 6th overall. M40 Kris Inglis (1:59:14) could not duplicate his Lantau KOTH form and had to settle for second among the M40s. Perhaps Kris didn’t sleep well after watching the adrenaline-filled Banff Film Festival the previous evening. Stephen O’Leary finished third in the age group in his once yearly KOTH race. (Note to Stephen, venture off HK Island and join us for another race sometime. The New Territories have nice trails too.)
M45 winner Andrew Thomson (1:57:36) decided to concentrate on the half marathons this year. Peter Faarbaek (2:05:54) finished second in the M45 category, ahead of John McKinven who enjoyed the consolation of drinking more post -race beers than anyone else.
Choi Fu Loi upset the bookies to win the M50 division (2:06:31). It was Choi’s first victory of the series. Mark Leeper also showed the positive effects of powder ski training to come in second in the age category after battling injury earlier in the season. Leung Ping had an off day (for him), but still managed third in the category, while Derek Irwin defied his wife to come out to race after crashing and requiring stitches at the last race. Finishing without a fall and being able to go home without any new scars was victory enough for this M50 age grouper.
Chan Hoi Nam (2:14:09) won the M55 division, followed by Luk Yin Hung (2nd) and a steady Wong Kam Ming (3rd).
In the new M60 division, line honors went to Wong Peter Chun Tong (2:26:14), followed by Lam Ngok Kam (2nd) and Wong Pak Kun (3rd).
Jeanette Holmes-Thomson ran another sensational race and was rewarded for her efforts with another victory in the lady’s race. Her 2:06:51 time, however, still missed the lady’s course record by 23 agonizing seconds. Claire Chapman finished second but was in such a rush to leave after the race that she left her house keys in the loo. (Claire, email me if you want them back.) Aya Noyes finished third.
Nadia Koucha (2:15:34) won the F40 division again with another strong performance. She was followed across the line by uphill monster Janet Ng (2nd) and roadie Catherine Leonard (3rd).
In the new F50 division, old friend Yeung Mei Lun reappeared to claim the glory in a highly credible 2:26:37. Jacqui Safery finished second, followed by Anne Knecht-Boyer.
The next and final race in the series takes place in Sai Kung on Sunday, 6 March and serves as the tiebreaker to determine category winners. The annual award dinner will take place on Thursday, 31st March. Many of the race marshals will be in attendance and this is a good chance to thank them for all their efforts over a beer. See www.seyonasia.com/koth for further details.
The North Face KOTH Series