Lantau Mountain Marathon Report, Jan 2, 2005
KOTH Lantau Mountain Marathon Kicks Off 2005
Lantau, Hong Kong - 2nd January, 2005 - The weather was cool, but not too cool and the wind of the previous few days abated prior to the race creating optimal conditions for trail racing. For some it was a chance to chase course records and PBs while for others it was the first day of atoning for holiday season partying.
Full Marathon - The JoeJoe and Neil Show
A few days before the race, Neil Tait was heard saying that he didn't see where on the course he would be able to take time off fireman Choi Kau's amazing 2003 course record. The answer came in the form of the perfect weather that allowed Neil to squeeze a few minutes out of each interval on the way to a new course record 3:20:12 finish. If Choi Kau was not recovering from injury it could have been a real battle as Neil admitted that he thought Choi would hold the advantage on the rough technical sections of the course. In any event, Neil has once again succeeded in raising the bar with a time that should challenge future generations of Lantau Mountain Marathoners.
One person completely unaffected by the weather is Daniel Brown. Daniel placed second running almost exactly the same time for the 3rd year in a row despite the vastly different weather conditions experienced over those 3 years. Daniel caught up and passed Mark Doel over the last contour section of the course. Mark made his debut full marathon run following recent success in the half marathons and in addition to 3rd place, got the award for most spectacular injury of the day - this the result of a fall on the way down to Tung Chung early in the race. Full credit to Mark for running the remaining two-thirds of the race with a bloody face that must have frightened the Sunday hikers as he ran past.
Mak Ping Yin improved yet again with his fastest ever Lantau Mountain Marathon, easily winning the MV-45+ division (well ahead of Ng Chau Yan and Ho Hon Ming) as well as beating all of the MV-40s. For some life in the fast lane begins at 47…The top 2 v-40s, Franz Nel and Michael Maddess can take this to heart after quite good runs of their own. Bob Whitehead improved upon his own v-55+ record time with strong competition provided by both Lam Ngok Kam and Mike Barker.
Probably the race of the day award, however, went to JoeJoe Fan Suiping. After coming agonizingly close to several course records over the past few months, JoeJoe was not to be denied this time. Running hard and running consistently, she took a whopping 17 minutes off Barbara Stockman's pregnancy-inspired 2001 course record. Given how many top female athletes had attempted to break this record and failed, JoeJoe's accomplishment is truly remarkable. Along the way she also thrashed her Trailwalker Cosmo Boy teammates and all but 6 of the men's field and has locked up the Queen of the Hills title for the series.
Claire Price vowing to make a healthy start to 2005 finished second despite a wrong turn or two with Wong Suk Wah capturing her now customary third place finish, just ahead of Lam Lai Po. Jenny Tang won the veteran's race for the second time in the series with Hui Wai Ling second again.
Half Marathon - Near Misses for Shorrock and Tanaka
The Lantau Half Marathon may be the easiest of the halves in the series, but it is still no walk in the park given that the start is straight up Sunset Peak and the final 7.5 km contour trail feels much longer than that following the pounding downhill to Pak Kong Au. Bob Shorrock fell an agonizing 22 seconds short of breaking Neil Tait's 1:17:01 course record, but still smashed the veteran record by 13 minutes. We've done a bit of research on Bob and it turns out that he has a distinguished history as a British junior X-Country national and member of the Blackburn Harriers so it should be no wonder that he has charged his way to the front of the pack following his relocation to Hong Kong several months ago.
A noticeably pained Adrian King was second in, 3 minutes back. Adrian apparently broke a promise to his wife not to run and snuck out of the house in the morning to capture the open division ahead of spirited competition from Nathan Coast and Ho Hoi To (who had done another race the previous day but still had the energy to run a half marathon on the Sunday).
Tim McCosker was the second veteran to finish and only has himself to blame since he was the person who introduced Bob Shorrock to the King of the Hills series. Alan Wilson finished third in the vets.
The v-45+ division saw spirited competition with Dean Lewis, Paul Keeler, Ian Roper and Philippe Guillo all finishing within 2.5 minutes of each other in that order. Based upon the results we judge that Dean kept the holiday festivities to a minimum while Ian was seen in a bar at close to midnight the eve of the race. 5th place v-45er, Leung Wing Leung, celebrated the new year in alternative fashion, taking part in a 12-hour round the track charity run. Despite logging well in excess of 100 km 2 days earlier, Leung still found the half marathon course too short.
John Tanner and Jim White fought an even tougher battle in the mv-55+ division with John winning by a mere 7 seconds. A surprised, but pleased Gordon Robinson was third.
In Hong Kong for the new-year to visit her wonderful boyfriend, Aya Tanaka still found the time to win the women's half marathon. Facing her former Japanese running club partner, Brigitte Niederberger, as well as in-form Grace Balingong and Cheung Sze Lam, Aya shot off from the start to open a narrow lead at the top of Sunset Peak. Then instead of relinquishing the lead on the downhill section which is normally her weakness, Aya bravely charged downhill and then found the reserves to pass several of the blokes on the final contour trail and finish only 1 minute off compatriot Chiaki Fjelddahl's course record. Brigitte finished second while Grace Balintong, suffering from cramps despite the cool weather, managed third.
Edwana Joanne Estolatan won the female vets division with the ever-game Evelyn Fowler a distant second. Edwana was clearly delighted and should also be proud of beating 14 of the ladies from the open division.
Many thanks to all the participants and the fabulous supporters who helped us to kick off 2005 on a healthy and happy noteThe next race in the series takes place on 23rd January on Hong Kong Island from Repulse Bay. See www.seyonasia.com for more details.
- Keith Noyes
Full Marathon Placings
Male Open: 1st Neil Tait (3:20:12); 2nd Daniel Brown (3:49:28); 3rd Mark Doel (3:54:48)
Male Veteran 40-44: 1st Franz Nel (4:09:34); 2nd Michael Maddess (4:12:37); 3rd Andrew Patrick (4:43:14)
Male Veteran 45-54: 1st Mak Ping Yin (3:57:43); 2nd Ng Chau yan (4:39:30); 3rd Ho Hon Ming (4:45:21)
Male Veteran 55 or above: 1st Bob Whitehead (4:25:10); 2nd Lam Ngok Yam (4:39:02); 3rd Mike Barker (5:02:17)
Female Open: 1st JoeJoe Fan Suiping (4:09:56); 2nd Claire Price (4:47:55); 3rd Wong Suk Wah (4:49:26)
Female Veteran: 1st Jenny Tang (5:38:28); 2nd Hui Wai Ling (6:55:42)
Half Marathon Placings
Male Open: 1st Adrian King 1:22;09; 2nd Nathan Coast (1:23:29); 3rd Ho Hoi To (1:23:36)
Male Veteran 40-44: 1st Bob Shorrock (1:17:23); 2nd Tim McCosker (1:25:27); 3rdAlan Wilson (1:34:20)
Male Veteran 45-54: 1st Dean Lewis (1:34:03); 2nd Paul Keeler (1:35:23); 3rd Ian Roper (1:36:19)
Male Veteran 55 or above: 1st John Tanner (1:52:27); 2nd Jim White (1:52:34); 3rd Gordon Robinson (1:58:38)
Female Open: 1st Aya Tanaka (1:36:01); 2nd Bridgitte Niederberger (1:40:12); 3rd Grace Balintong (1:42:28)
Female Veteran: 1st Edwana Joanne Estolatan (1:55:52); 2nd Evelyn Fowler (2:44:04)