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Sham Tseng Mountain Marathon Report, 22 Feb, 2009

Report | Results | Splits

Habitat Property KOTH Sham Tseng Mountain Marathon (Sham Tseng, Hong Kong. 22 February 2009. 22-26 degrees, partly sunny and humid.)

That Confounded Weather

Conditions were quite challenging during Sunday's Habitat Propery KOTH Sham Tseng Mountain Marathon. Officially, it was 22-26 degrees and humid, but that description does not capture the sudden changes in conditions experienced by the runners. One minute it was cloudy and cool, the next the sun came out and it was uncomfortably warm. The sections over Lin Fa Shan and Tai Mo Shan were up in the fog and almost cold, while in other places the heat was relentless. In general, times were on the slow side, save for 2 fantastic athletes who achieved significant milestones.

Full Marathon - King Ritcey

The buzz at the half marathon finish line was that Jeremy Ritcey had gone off with the half marathon winners and was bound to pay for not pacing himself better for the more arduous full marathon course. Jeremy wasn't listening to the pundits, however, and simply refused to let up, leading the full marathon from beginning to end. This was not only Jeremy's first KOTH victory, his 3:42:12 time was the second fastest in the history of the course and allowed him to secure King of the Hills honors for the season. Well done King Ritcey!

William Davies finished second in a time nearly the same as his 2008 time. This was Will's second 2nd place in the series and it is only a shame that he didn't complete one more race to qualify for an overall series placing.

Peter Lee came in third overall, won the M40+ category and claimed that division's overall series victory. Given how competitive runners are, however, he was disappointed not to break his friend Rob James' course record for the age group. North Face team member Wong Ka Wai came in as the pre-race favorite after victory in a Lantau Peak race in January, but finished 4th overall on the day and 3rd in the open category.

Following several more open runners, including overall KOTH series 1st runner up Law Chor Kin, 8th place went to evergreen M50+ Ng Chau Yan who won all 4 races in his category this year. About the only negative thing you could say about Mr. Ng's race was that he was slower than the previous year. 9th place went to M45+ Chan See Kau who ended a long string of consecutive age group victories by Patrick Ford (2nd in the category on this day and 14th overall). 10th place overall went to another nifty-fifty runner, Chan Hoi Nam (2nd in the category), and twelfth to nifty-fifty runner, Ng Chi Wah. (Editors note, the old "dogs" seem to always race better relative to the young dogs when the weather is hot.)

Yip Pui Lam took the final podium spot for the M45s, while Tim Hallworth and Yuen Kwok Man were 2nd and 3rd respectively among the M40s. Law Kwong Chow broke through to win the M55+ race, ahead of Claus Rolff and Wong Kam Ming.

The race for Queen of the Hills was also decided during this last race in the series. Hiko Holmes managed to overcome cramping and sleep walking past turn marks to win the race and capture the series title. Chow Pui Yan came in 2nd in the race, but lacked enough points for the series, while Lee Bik Sai came in 3rd and secured second place in the overall series. Leung Wiwin edged out Cheung Ngar Sze by less than a minute for 3rd place in the race and secured just enough series points to also edge out Sze for 3rd place in the series.

Leung Siu Kuen won the F40+ race and the series title, ahead of Leung Siu Fung who edged out Cheng Yuk both for second place in the race, but came in 3rd behind Cheng Yuk in the overall series.

A conversation was overheard at the end of the full marathon that is just too good not to paraphrase here:

Her: How come you are back so early? Him: I missed a turn because there were no signs. Her: I found signs the entire way. Him: (Pointing at the course map) This is where I must have gone wrong. Her: Oh, I saw at least 2 course arrows there. Him: No you didn’t, there were no signs. Her: Yes, I saw them. Him: You are not listening; there were no signs. Her: But… Him: I am not going to say it again; there were no signs. Him: (Turning to another racer) How was your race? Mine was going really well until I went wrong because there were no signs…

Half Marathon – Stone and The North Face Team Triumph

Stone Tsang has consistently been the top trail runner in HK for a couple of years now with several course records in other events. However, the one thing he didn’t have is a KOTH course record despite numerous victories. It is fair to say that Stone is no longer just running to be the fastest runner in KOTH; he is running to be the fastest runner ever in KOTH. On this day, he finally had his first breakthrough, besting Gary Mandy’s previous course record in an emphatic victory made all the more impressive by the tough conditions. Stone’s own North Face teammates pushed him early in the race, but by the first checkpoint he was away and gone. He also claimed the series crown as the fastest half marathoner.

Japanese visitor Miyachi Fujio came in second despite a couple of wrong turns. Given Fujio’s passion for trail running and his obvious talent, he is clearly a threat to win every time he visits Hong Kong.

Following Fujio, 3 consecutive Team North Face runners crossed the line. In third overall was bicycle fanatic Piers Touzel proving he can run even though he rarely does so. Piers was followed by team captain Ryan Blair who was in turn followed by new Taiwanese team member, Chen Chung Ren.

M50+ Leung Ping was the first veteran across the line, also in age group record time. M45+ Derek Irwin was next in followed closely by fellow age group competitors Phil Ward, Wong Kwok Leung and Robert Brown.

Chow Mun Lok bested John McKinven and Arnauld van Rijn in the M40+ category. The spoils today went to Wong Peter Chun Tung in his season long M55+ battle with Tsang Sin You.

F40+ Catherine Leonard was again the first lady across the line and remarked soon after, “I’m a trail running convert now.” Bye bye boredom! Catherine also wrapped up the series title.

Open runner Lise Harrow was the next woman across the line, followed by fellow open category runners Tam Kar Bik and Heather Draper. Next in were the second and third F40+ female, Ho Kam Lan and Anne Knecht respectively.

Next up is the annual KOTH awards dinner on Thursday, March 5th (details available on We will give awards to the top 3 racers in each category for the series, hand out pictures taken on the trail and swap stories from the trail.

We’d like to thank Habitat Property for their sponsorship during these challenging economic times, as well as Bonaqua, Protrek, Snowy Mountain Engineering, and O2. We’d also like to than the fabulous support marshals, beginning with the Kin Hang Hiking Club and the hashers.

Finally, I’d like to close with a report from our course sweep, Rob Parks, on the continuing litter problem. His words remind me as a race director that no matter how good a job we think we are doing, there is always room for improvement. We definitely plan to introduce a different structure to our aid stations next season to stop bottles being left on the trail.

After setting up CP 2 and going down to the MTB contour trail to check the turning up signs were good, I headed back to CP 2, and seeing as it was fully manned with capable and enthusiastic people, decided to police the sections on the full and the half immediately after the CP.

Didn't take long for the first litterer, around the corner on the half, up the hill slightly, having taken a few swigs of the bonaqua bottle he took from the CP, he looked around to see if anyone was about, (I was up in the bushes above, and it was misty too which helped conceal me), then [number deleted] in a [coloured] vest, just dropped his bottle beside the road and started running up the hill.

I gave chase and caught him after the fork in the road and passed him, turned and stopped and walked back having got his number, no words exchanged.

I filled one quarter of a bin liner from CP 2 to Chuen Long with bottles and other lapsap, then from CP 3 back to Chuen Long half a bin liner. From Chuen Long to the finish, 3/4 full of bottles etc., although none from Tsing Fai Tong to The finish.

We are a community of trail runners and should be able to do better than this.

Happy trails!

Keith Noyes
Race Director

KOTH Sham Tseng Full Marathon Results 22 February 2009

MO 1) Jeremy Ritcey; 3:42:12, 2) William Davis, 3:46:25; 3) Wong Ka Wai, 4:00:24
M40 1) Peter Lee, 3:56:19; 2) Tim Hallworth, 4:54:11; 3) Yuen Kwok Man, 5:01:18
M45 1) Chan See Kau, 4:38:31; 2) Patrick Ford, 4:52:52; 3) Yip Pui Lam, 4:53:38
M50 1) Ng Chau Yan, 4:38:02; 2) Chan Hoi Nam, 4:39:12; 3) Ng Chi Wah, 4:44:55
M55 1) Law Kwong Chow, 5:06:24; 2) Claus Rolff, 5:20:00; 3) Wong Kam Ming, 5:39:26
FO 1) Hiko Holmes, 4:58:53; 2) Chow Pui Yan, 5:12:46; 3) Lee Bik Sai, Ida, 5:16:55
F40 1) Leung Siu Kuen 6:01:23; 2) Leung Siu Fung, 6:18:50; 3) Cheng Yuk, 6:24:23

KOTH Sham Tseng Half Marathon Results 24 February 2008

MO 1) Tsang Siu Keung, 2:01:53; 2) Miyachi Fujio 2:11:03; 3) Piers Touzel, 2:11:45
M40 1) Chow Mun Lok, 2:41:03; 2) John McKinven, 2:42:38; 3) Arnout van Rijn, 2:50:14
M45 1) Derek Irwin, 2:29:48; 2) Phil Ward, 2:33:12; 3) Wong Kwok Leung, 2:35:22
M50 1) Leung Ping, 2:27:41, 2) Kenneth Koo, 2:57:01; 3) Leung On, 3:13:36
M55 1) Wong Peter Chun Tong, 2:45:29; 2) Tsang Sin You, 2:50:54; 3) John Antweiller, 3:40:08
FO 1) Lise Harow, 2:5:38; 2) Tam Kar Bik, 3:16:06; 3) Heather Draper, 3:17:57
F40 1) Catherine Leonard, 2:50:52; 2) Ho Kam Lan, Eunice, 3:18:02; 3) Anne Knecht, 3:19:29