Lantau Mountain Marathon Report, Feb 3 2013
The North Face KOTH Lantau Mountain Marathon
(Nam Shan, Lantau, Hong Kong. 3 February 2013. 18-20degrees and overcast.)
Misty day on a tough course
Overcast skies ensured that temperatures remained cool as nearly 500 runners took on the hilly Lantau course. Despite being punishingly rough, our denizen seem to really like the challenge of the full marathon course, while the classic trails of the half marathon course are perennially popular. Vandals removed course markings near San Tau Village the day before the race, but our forerunner, Rachel Sproston was able to replace them on race morning before any runners were effected.
Full Marathon – The hunted becomes the hunter
Last race Wong Ho Chung of theChampion Systems Team shadowed Jeremy Ritcey of Team Solomon the entire course before pulling ahead after the last checkpoint. This time Ho Chung led from the start and Jeremy chased. Ho Chung had a three-minute lead at Pak Kong Au, but was shocked to look back a few km later and see Jeremy barreling down on him. Following a breathless sprint, Ho Chung claimed line honors by a mere 13 seconds in 3:36:38. With two straight wins, Ho Chung is in the drivers seat to win the King of the Hills title at the last race, though the narrow margin of victory suggests that Jeremy also has a good shot the last race. Eric LaHaie finished third in 3:49 – a time that would likely have won the race a decade ago. In the cool conditions, male open runners did well overall, with Chun Keung Leung coming in 4th and Nicol Boyd and Angus Chan Wai Yu also enjoying fast times.
Peter Lee wrapped up the M40 title for the series with another super, solid effort, finishing 5th overall. The surprise performance of the day was recorded by Denvy Lo who won the women’s race going away in 4:08:20, only a couple of minutes off the course record and 8th overall. Given that Denvy always complains that she’s been enjoying the soft life too much, others are now keen to adopt her training regime.
Sze Kong Lau finished second in the M40 category and 10th overall. He was just ahead of M50 Hau Ping who ran a scintillating 4:14:33 to set a new age group record.
Cheng Sai Kit was the third M40 across the line. Chun Fai Yip came in first in the M45 race, followed home by Chan See Kau who claimed second in the M50 category.
Longtime KOTH star Mak Ping Yin returned to the trails following a few years off due to injury. Shrugging off the cobwebs and a challenge from my wife, Mak claimed M55 line honors, with Aya Noyes just 14 seconds behind, the first F40 finisher and second female overall. Chan Hoi Nam finished second in the M55 category. Wong Tze Wan was the third M50.
Nadia Doucha was the third lady overall and second in the F40 category, just ahead of Philippine mountain biking ace Baby Sotto Bitbit who claimed 4th overall and second in the open category.
Mr. Consistent, Tim Hallworth, claimed another M45 2nd place finish ahead of Ngai Kwong Loi and Tam Kar Bik claimed the final female open podium position. Tsang Woon Ming claimed the final F40 prize on the day.
The final finishers ignored checkpoint cut offs and came in after we’d shut off the timing system at 5:10 PM. They seemed to have enjoyed themselves as much as the frontrunners did, though they were disappointed not to get official times.
Half Marathon – Merci Green Power
With the winner of the past two races, Clement Dumont, running Green Power the previous day, the field was wild open. Lee Quane, Jo Koster and Jan Littlewood all decided to go for it. Lee opened up a lead on the descent from Sunset Peak and then held on to win his first KOTH half marathon in 1:21:37. Evergreen Jo Koster was a couple of minutes behind in setting a new M45 course record. Jo has locked up his age category for the series following his third straight victory. Jan Littlewood managed third overall and second in the age category. Mark Western finished 4th overall and second in the M45 age group. Mark had set the M45 age group course record just last year, but thanks to Jo, that feat has been erased from the record book already.
Claire Price of Team Solomon abandoned her normal tactics and decided to “run like a man.” According to her this means going all out until you either blow up or cross the finish line. This masculine running style worked wonders on the day as Claire finished 5th overall, was first woman across the line and set a new course record of 1:26:27 all at once. Claire has now won all three of the F40 races she’s started to lock up the series.
Iain Vetch finished next (3rd male open) followed by M45 Andrew Thomsons who managed 3rd place category hardware to show for coming in 7th place overall. Breon Gravatt claimed his third consecutive M40 victory to lock up the series title. Dwyfor Evans finished second in the category.
Claire Chapman also had a super race. She finished 11th overall and set a new course record (1:31:28) in the open category to lock up the series title.
Leung Ping coasted to another M50 victory. His time on the course (1:34:27) was almost exactly the same as the first time I raced against him in Lantau in 1995, meaning he hasn’t slowed down at all in the last 18 years!
Jeanette Holmes-Thomson was the second F40 across the line and Mathilde Heaton was the second female open runner home, followed by Emma Bruce.
Martin Cubbon won his third consecutive M55 race to lock up the series. Afterwards, however, Martin was most excited that he had narrowed the time gap between him and Wong Peter Chun Tong, the undisputed M60 king. Peter not only won his third straight race (ahead of Martin) he set a new age group course record at the same time. Bob Whitehead was a distant second in the category.
Mak King Foon had no trouble setting a new F50 course record (2:02:22), ahead of Yuk Pui Poon .
The last race of the series takes place starts and finishes on Repulse Bay Beach on Sunday, 3 March 2013. The full marathon includes the hardest kilometer in the KOTH series and the finish area on the beach with showers is perfect for families. For further information, please see www.seyonasia.com.
Finally, a special thanks to title sponsor The North Face, drinks sponsor Swire Coca-cola, prize sponsor 2XU and the fabulous marshals who spent their day making things easy for the runners.