Lantau Mountain Marathon Report, Jan 7, 2007
7 January 2007
(Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong, sunny and breezy with temperatures between 11-17 and 50-60% relative humidity)
King of the Hills Lantau Mountain Marathon - Pollution Tarnishes Otherwise Perfect Day
With a strong entry field and ideal weather conditions, record fast times appeared likely. Instead, most runners were a few minutes off their previous course bests on the day, most likely because pollution levels exceeded the medium level and entered the high range on the government scale. Even in the mountain of Lantau, we cannot excape this toxic beast.
Full Marathon - "Everybody Must Get Stoned"
For Tsang Siu Keung Stone, winning mountain races has become an enjoyable habit. Fresh off 2 previous KOTH victories this season and a trail race victory on New Year's Day, Stone again dominated from start to finish. No one can keep up with him downhill, so when he is the first to the top of the hill, the end result is a foregone conclusion. His 3:30:25 time was 2 minutes off his pace from the previous year, possibly the result of the pollution or the slight course change descending to Tung Chung, which Stone praised as more scenic and more fun, but slightly longer than the old route.
Stone was the only frontrunner to avoid bee stings on the day as someone behind him inadvertently stirred a nest of yellow jackets into angry retribution. Defending his home Lantau turf, Daniel Brown finished second in the race with yet another consistent sub-4 hour performance (and only one bee sting). Policeman To Chi Shing Quick lived up to his name with a fine 3rd place overall run. Jan Littlewood and Peter Lee were slightly further back.
Tim McCosker was the first MV-40+ home after failing to make it past the Buddha his previous attempt on the course. Rob James had looked likely to capture the veteran's crown, but a too fast start led to his undoing about the time he reached Lantau Peak and he was forced to withdraw with cramping problems. Tim, who is rounding back into shape following injury, was the lucky beneficiary of Rob's exuberant start. Wong Tsun Yin and Sung King Sing were the second and third MV-40's home on a day on which the MV-40s were overall out shown by their MV-45+ rivals.
Patrick Ford eased past Mak Ping Yin with less than 200 meters to go to win the MV-45 battle by a mere 20 seconds. Mak was unlucky enough to experience the recurrence of an old ankle sprain injury within striking distance of the finish line and limped to a second place finish. Ho Hon Ming was rewarded for his usual consistent racing with third place, while 4th place Li Cheuk Ming had to be treated for multiple bee stings, but still had the energy at the end to rerun the first one-third of the course to catch the MTR in Tung Chung.
In the MV-55+ category, Lam Ngok Kam not only beat Bob Whitehead for the second time this season, his Kin Hang hiking club teammate, Leung Kam Yuen, did as well. Bob was clearly troubled by a leg strain and finished more than 40 minutes off his time of the previous year.
Jeannette Holmes-Thomson won her second consecutive full marathon and his close to wrapping up the Queen of the Hills title. She complained that she had indulged too much over the holidays, but still ran a fine time. She was only chagrined that Trailwalker teammate Rob Mackenzie beat he by a solid 7 minutes this time around. Cheng Yuk and Sung Sau Fun rounded out the women's open podium finishers.
The FV-40 race proved to be more competitive. Monica Ng ran doggedly and finally reeled in Ann Miles coming down Lantau Peak to claim victory. Ann aided her competitor by making a few silly mistakes (ignoring turn arrows because she through she remembered the course differently and then having to retrace her steps) and was a favorite target of the bees with 6 head stings. This is the first time that one of the Kin Hang girls has beaten "Marlboro" Ann and one has to wonder if this marks the start of a new trend. Lui Chi Ho was delighted to finish third in the category.
Half Marathon - Gary Mandy Back in From
Finally over a flu bug that has slowed him for months, Gary Mandy was back to his dominating self with a clean 5-minute victory, though still 3+ minutes slower than his 2006 course record (that pollution thing again perhaps?)
Second, third and 4th place were decided by a total of 6 seconds with Adrian King just ahead of Ryan Blair who was in turn just ahead of Erich Felbabel. Robin Pitt, on holiday from school in the US, finished 5th overall.
Peter Northam enjoyed another dominating MV-40+ victory to wrap up the category for the season. Perhaps it is time for him to try a full marathon or two? Frederic Bourquin was happy to join the veteran ranks and finished a strong second in the category, followed by Chang King Fu.
Mirroring the full marathon, the MV-45 category showed spirited rivalry. Leung Ping was the winner for the second time this season with Wong Ip Chor (2nd) and Yip Kam Shue (3rd) also racing very well on the day.
Peter Wong was just outside the course record in winning the MV-55 age group. He admitted to being quite far behind his rivals at the top of Sunset Peak, but some confident downhill running gave him the lead for good by Pak Kung Au. Cho Yan Kwong finished second, followed by Bob Nipperress.
Grace Balintong set the only course record of the day, knocking 5 seconds off of her own time from 2006. What stands out about Grace is her consistency through the years and over the length of the course. She was pushed this time by Ursula Friedmann (2nd) and Claire Price (3rd). Claire usually prefers the longer races so it was a surprise to see her in the half marathon field. A lunch date at the Stoep perhaps?
Newly minted veteran Julie Mackenzie captured the FV-40+ tilte, followed by Joanne Von Lanthen and Kyoko Taniguchi.
We contiue to receive tremendous support from our sponsors, ADM Capital Foundation, Sunhing Millenium, Swire Coca-cola, Powerbar, Protrek/Montrail and MBT and are getting record attendance for almost every race. Encouragingly, course sweeps reported seeing virtually no rubbish left by our racers during this race. My great thanks to everyone who has embraced the concept of only depositing litter in litter bins.
The next race takes place in Repulse Bay on Sunday, 28th January. This is usually the best- attended race of the season and offers showers and food outlets nearby for those who wish to enjoy a beach picnic following the race. See www.seyonasia.com/koth for further details.
Half Marathon Results:
MO: 1) Gary Many, 1:17:36; 2) Adrian King 1:22:33; 3) Ryan Blair, 1:22:39;
MV-40: 1) Peter Northam, 1:24:41; 2) Fred Bourquin, 1:31:48; 3) Chang King Fu, 1:39:13
MV-45: 1) Leung Ping, 1:28:38; 2) Wong Ip Chor, 1:33:43: 3) Yip Kam Shu, 1:35:15
MV-55: 1) Wong Peter Chung Tung, 1:41:19; 2) Cho Yan Kwong, 1:47:27; 3) Bob Nipperress, 2:06:47
FO: 1) Grace Balintong, 1:34:55; 2) Ursula Friedmann, 1:37:52; 3) Claire Price, 1:39:09
FV-40: 1) Julie Mackenzie, 1:54:16; 2) Joanne Von Lanthen 2:10:52; 3) Kyoko Taniguch, 2:11:32
Full Marathon Results:
MO: 1) Tsang Siu Keung 3:30:25; 2) Daniel Brown, 3:56:58; 3) To Chi Shing;, 4:00:22
MV-40: 1) Tim McCosker, 4:08:34; 2) Wong Tsun Yin, 5:05:01; 3) Sung King Sing, 5:07:47
MV-45: 1) Patrick Ford, 4:18:19; 2) Mak Ping Yin, 4:18:40; 3) Ho Hon Ming, 4:33:50
MV-55: 1)) Lam Ngok Kam, 4:52:10; 2) Leung Kam Yuen, 4:58:01; 3) Bob Whitehead, 5:12:58
FO: 1) Jeannette Holmes-Thomson, 4:29:28; 2) Cheng Yuk, 5:50:32; 3) Sung Sau Fun, 5:54:43
FV-40: 1) Monica Ng, 5:16:48; 2) Ann Miles, 5:21:52; 3) Lui Chi Ho, 6:29:41