Sham Tseng Mountain Marathon Report, Jan 6, 2013
The North Face KOTH Sham Tseng Mountain Marathon
(Sham Tseng, Hong Kong. 6 January 2013. 12-17 degrees, sunny and dry.)
KOTH Runners Enjoy Sensational Day
Perfect weather and a large, competitive field made for fast times and lots of category course records. Though vandals tried to spoil the fun, their deliberate course marking changes were discovered in time and didn’t interfere with racing on some of HK’s nicest trails in perfect weather.
Full Marathon – Shadow Running
Not familiar with the course, Wong Ho Chung had a simple race plan: Follow Jeremy Ritcey whatever speed he went and then try to out kick him at the end. When Jeremy went fast, Ho Chung went fast. When Jeremy slowed down, Ho Chung slowed down. When Jeremy feigned cramps and urged Ho Chung to go ahead, Ho Chung politely waited. Then after the last checkpoint, Ho Chung suddenly accelerated to claim a 40 second victory (3:46:44) over a frustrated Mr. Ritcey. We forecast Ho Chung’s potential after his third place finish last race, but had no idea that we would see it on display so quickly. Champion Systems Adventure Team obviously saw the same potential because they have recently recruited him.
As for Jeremy, he put in yet another fantastic performance only to finish second yet again, following second places in Trailwalker and last month’s KOTH Taipo race. Jeremy is a major positive force in HK trail running and has recently taken on organizing a Prince and Princess of the Hills race for aspiring junior trail runners. Support his efforts if you have kids who like running.
Will Davies resisted the temptation to get lost and stayed more or less on course for an easy third place stroll. M45 Arnaud Picut came in 4th overall and set a new age group record (4:00:44) in doing so. Arnaud was followed home by M40 Peter Lee, who posted another solid category win. Champion Systems captain M40 Ryan Blair was next in and second in the age group. Law Sze Kong rounded out the age group.
Olya Korzh picked up where she left off last race – leading from the front. This second win in a row (4:18:36) puts her in a commanding position to repeat as Queen of the Hills. Olya has given up booze and meat to get this fast, proof that behind every fast runner there’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
M50 Chan See Kau also set an age-group record (4:27:18) to finish ahead of Hau Ping andWong Tze Wan in the age group. A badly cramping Aya Noyes won the F40 division (4:30:09) in a new age-group record time. Chan Hoi Nam finished 5 seconds behind to win the M55 division.
Other runners deserving mention include Tim Hallworth (M45-2nd), Tang Kin Man (M45-3rd), Tsang Woon Ming (F40-2nd), Tam Kar Bik (FO – 2nd), Angel Ng (FO-3rd), Jo Eades (F40-3rd), Lee Chi Ming (M55-2nd), Sham Long Ping (M55-3rd).
The final finishers ignored checkpoint cut offs and came in after we’d shut off the timing system at 5 PM. They seemed to have enjoyed themselves as much as the frontrunners did.
Half Marathon – Allez les bleus
Clement Dumont continues to show a clean pair of heels to his rivals this season. This time Clement (2:04:25) bested nearest rival Lee Quane by 2.5 minutes and looks unstoppable over the half marathon distance this series. Meanwhile, Lee atoned for his KOTH Taipo blow up with a great second place effort today.
Swiss stalwart Jo Koster blew away the M45 age group record while finishing third overall (2:09:28). Impressive doesn’t begin to describe the times he’s running at his age. Michal Bucek was next across the line and third in the male open category. Michal is also a top swimmer so don’t get suckered into competing against him in a swim-run duathlon.
M45 Anthony Davies was next across the line and second in his age group, with fellow M45 Mark Western hot on his heels. M40 Breon Gravatt briefly interrupted the M45 love fest to finish 7th overall and first in this younger category.
Spare a little pity for M45 Andy Thomson who finished 8th overall out of approximately 300 half marathoners, but could only manage 4th in his age group and collected no prizes. Each year, there is at least one hyper competitive age group category and this year it appears to be the M45 half marathoners.
M40 Dwyfor Evans was next across the line and second in his age group. Old friend Marcus Giles returned to KOTH a bit older, but still fast enough for the third place in the M40 age group.
M50 Wong Kwok Leung finished 10th overall and happily set a new age group record (2:21:28). Previous age group course record holder Leung Ping came in second in the age group, but clearly prefers rougher and hillier terrain. Mike Scantlebury took the final podium spot in this age group.
Claire Price won the women’s half marathon and set a new F40 record (2:21:30) at the same time. Claire was clearly motivated by the “battle of the Claires” as she finished about a minute clear of FO Claire Chapman in a race that came down to prowess on the final downhill section of the course. Claire (Price) also holds the open record for this course – a time she set back in 2008. Denvy Lo was the third woman across the line and second in the open category. Jeanette Wang showed the benefits of following the advice she gives in the SCMP Health Magazine to finish third in the open category against some pretty stiff competition.
F40 Jeanette Holmes-Thomson has gotten older more quickly than she’s become slower and this allowed her to capture second place in the F40 division, ahead of Kate Martin.
Wong Peter Chun Tong beat his own M60 course record to lower the benchmark to 2:40:25. If Peter Pan joined KOTH, he would likely come disguised as Peter Wong. Yu Kam Seng and Cho Yan Kwong rounded out the
Martin Cubbon won his M55 category for the second race in a row while still looking dapper at the finish. Chang Pu was second and Terence Tao third.
Not to be out done, F50 Mak King Foon handily lowered Marlboro Ann Miles’ age group course record to 3:18:50. Poon Yuk Pui was less than a minute behind for second with Leung Shiu Fung third.
The next race of the series takes place in Lantau on Sunday, 3 February 2013. The race features the shortest and easiest of the half marathon courses, but definitely the roughest and most challenging of the full marathon courses. For further information, please see www.seyonasia.com.
Finally, a special thanks to title sponsor The North Face, drinks sponsor Swire Coca-cola and the fabulous marshals who spent their day making things easy for the runners.