Sham Tseng Mountain Marathon Report - Sunday, February 23, 2003
Hot and Sticky Weather for the Last Race of the Series
Despite a weekend overstocked with events and quite humid conditions, 100 people started on the day. Many find the Sham Tseng course among the most beautiful and interesting in the series because it contains Hong Kong's best forest running trails as well as the usual great views. Both the half and full courses are the longest in the series, though the hills are in general more undulating. The half measures a long 23.75 km while the full packs in a trip up Tai Mo Shan in its 37 km. The fast running sections of the course are both an attraction and a trap for the roadies who like to get into their zone and rely on police barricades and sirens to tell them where to turn. These guys frequently burn up the course, but then run past obviously marked intersections, giving the slower, more alert runners a chance to catch up and overtake. Thanks guys!
The Full Marathon - A Great Weekend for Rob Parks
Many King of the Hills participants want to do every endurance race in Hong Kong. Some ran Green Power the day before, while others did the Action Asia Challenge. Rob Parks' team won the Action Asia race on Saturday and he came back to win the marathon on Sunday in 4:08, though he was 18 minutes off his own course record time set the previous year. Rob just got married recently and seems to have returned to the top form he showed last year.
Rob's main challenger looked to be Adrian King, but Adrian zoned out and ran past a crucial turn and by the time he realized his mistake was not able to make up the time. Instead, veteran Li Yiu Cheung took second overall after moving into contention with the fastest split time of the day up Tai Mo Shan. Alan Siu paced himself well in the heat and gradually moved past those who suffered the folly of their quick starts to come in 3rd, ahead of Peter Faarbaek who has made a very smooth transition from the half to the full races. Veteran Lo Chi Wai was next, followed by Tim Hallworth who also ran a tactically sound race. KK Chan was the 3rd veteran finisher, despite competing in and winning the team 50 km HK Trail Race the day before. Lam Ngok Kan was again the first v-55+, ahead of Lee Kwok Kwong and Choi Chi Keung.
Newcomer Aurelie Welterlin was unsure whether to run the full or half marathon on the day. She finally chose the full and came in first! Though it wasn't a very deep women's field, her 5:17:59 under such tough conditions is a fine time. Wong Suk Wah came in second despite several wrong turns, followed by veteran Yau Lan Kiu and Lau Yee Wah.
Special mention has to go to James Varley and Franz Nel who headed up the 'blow up brigade.' Many started too fast given the hot conditions, but these guys simply run all out until the percolate. Also deserving of special mention for the opposite reason is John Fowler. John just became the first 65+ runner to complete all 5 full marathons in one season, recording personal bests for all 5 courses. Way to go John!
Half Marathon - The Veterans Kick Butt
Neil Tait wasn't there to decimate the field so the question was who would step up. The answer was 3 veterans, Babs Bukunola, Wong Ip Chor and Andy Pickles. Babs and Wong exchanged places a few times before Wong surged ahead before the second water stop. It almost went horribly wrong for Wong when he missed a turn (he does this every race). Luckily for Wong, the race director had just gone to that intersection 3 minutes earlier to make sure that all 6 turn arrows were in place. Wong was running so fast that he missed all 6 turn arrows, but fortunately for him, he ran into the race director walking back down the trail and was able to correct his mistake with the loss of only about a minute. Babs finished second, followed by Andy only 10 seconds behind.
Andrew Cusask restored some measure of young pride, coming in 4th ahead of Phil Zabriskie. Next in was Kawasaki Chisato who won the women's half despite completing Action Asia the day before. Dean Lewis and Andrew Laurie followed.
Grace Balintong was the second women in, just beating her boyfriend Mike Cooke who won the v-55+ division. Amelia Varley was right on their heels for third, while Bob Pardoe was the second v-55+ and Peter Widmer the third. Sissel Smaller won the ladies' vet division ahead of Brigitte Zeltner Widmer and Leung Oi Yim.
This wraps up another season of the King of the Hills Mountain Marathon Series. Those who participate know that one of Hong Kong's great attractions is that we have the best trail running of any major city in the world. The annual awards dinner will be held on Friday, March 14th. See www.seyonasia.com for further details.
Results - Full Marathon
Male Open: 1) Rob Parks, 4:08:04; 2) Alan Siu, 4:38:47; 3) Peter Faarbaek, 4:42:33
Male Veteran: 1) Li Yiu Cheung, 4:27:50; 2) Lo Chi Wai, 4:44:18; 3) Chan Kwok Keung, 4:51:34
Male Senior: 1) Lam Ngok Kan, 5:22:08; 2) Lee Kwok Kwong, 5:31:05; 3) Choi Chi Keung, 5:38:14
Ladies Open: 1) Aurelie Welterlin, 5:17:59; 2) Wong Suk Wah, 5:52:03; 3) Lau Yee Wah, 7:44:24
Ladies Veteran: 1) Yau Lan Kiu, 7:40:07
Results - Half Marathon
Male Open: 1) Andrew Cusack, 2:30:03; 2) Phil Zabriskie, 2:30:16; 3) Andrew Laurie, 2:47:17
Male Veteran: 1) Wong Ip Chor, 2:18:40; 2) Babs Bukunola, 2:21:15; 3) Andy Pickles, 2:21:25
Male Senior: 1) Michael Cooke, 2:50:30; 2) Bob Pardoe, 2:57:01; 3) Peter Widmer, 3:09:09
Ladies Open: 1) Kawasaki Chisato, 2:41:09; 2) Grace Balintong, 2:49:56; 3) Amelia Varley, 2:51:55
Ladies Veteran: 1) Sissel Smaller, 3:02:15; 2) Brigitte Zeltner-Widmer, 3:16:53; 3) Leung Oi Yim, 3:33:48