Saturday, February 26, 2011

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2011 – 10km Challenge

Venue: Island Eastern Corridor, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

Distance: 10km (Garmin: 10.06km)

Timing: 50:09 minutes or 5:00 min/km pace (Garmin: 50:19 minutes or 5:02 min/km pace)

What can I say? This is my best results to date and the best-organized event (of this scale). Yes, even beating the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) hands down. Same number of runners at both events and the Hong Kong guys are above the rest. Let us not go the down the road of the 1/3-the-sized-of-the-Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon. Although I gathered from here that there was a boo-boo with the full and half marathon races.

Everything from registration to bib pick up to the event itself when well for me that I am thinking of marking this on my calendar next year. Oh ok, maybe even before then since the race sells out pretty quickly and if I want cheap deals on flights and accommodation.

With the temps in the low teens, I was a bit worried about keeping warm before and after run but the Mylar a.k.a. space blanket helped! I cut it in two and kept the second half in my pocket. I also decided against wearing my tank top and went with the Adidas Sundown 2009 tee – not sure if this helped. I was also worried about how my body would respond to the temp (first time running in these temps since I left Cambridge) and when I noticed that I wasn’t sweating much even after the turnaround. Coldish temp = run felt effortless + loads in the tank after the run = I could have pushed it a bit more. My splits were pretty even which goes to say that the temps definitely did help with the push up the slopes.

Result: 32nd placing (the winner came home in 37:52)


a) Very well organized event despite its size (65,000 runners with 37,000 of those in the 10km).

b) Corrals and separate gun offs meant everyone was running about the same pace (i.e. no “paktology” or couples holding hands and strolling). In fact, I gathered that that were very few “strollers” in the other categories. An added bonus – it certainly spurred me to keep up the pace.

c) Staggered gun offs – timing and route for the categories = no congestion (think SCMS). Since the 10km was more of a “fun run”, they had it on the island whereas the half and full started on the mainland. The design of the route also had the finishers for the 10km coming in one way into Victoria Park and the half and full from the other direction (I think! Sorry did not hang around after my run!).

d) Full road closure a.k.a. not becoming road kill.

e) Awesome cheering crew at the pedestrian overhead bridge just before the turn around (it was an out-and-back course).

f) Long lines at the 2 hydration stations and on both sides of the road. I skipped these so I am not sure if isotonic drinks were provided.

g) Army of volunteers (shout out to the girl who helped me figure out how to get to the race start during the bib pick up) during the bib pick up, before, during and after the run giving clear directions and information.

h) I heard that the bag check was superbly efficient – something like in and out in 1 minute. This was probably because you are supposed to dump everything into the coloured pre run swag and they had different counters for not only the coloured bag but also each colour. See, they had it nailed down to the lowest denominator! Talk about a well-thought out plan!

i) Unique medallion! And they put this in the swag…before the run! And and now I have to go back next year…and the next 10 years to complete the 12 animal signs of the lunar Chinese zodiac! Perfect excuse, huh?

j) Post run swag = less congestion at the end since they usher you out after they handed you the bag.


a) Boring route – out-and-back on the highway Eastern Island Corrider (part of which is visible from my hotel room) but I am not ranting about this. Hey, I knew where we were going to run when I signed up, right? I am putting it here only coz I have no cons to post! There were some upslopes dotting the route (think of our Sprint or NS highways) but nothing insurmountable or compared to our DH training grounds or the TIBI Run 2010.

b) There was no race expo for the overseas participants who pick up their bibs on Friday and Saturday – I would have loved to check it out and maybe snag some stuff. Oh well, their loss.

c) Ok, I am not sure if this is a pro or con – I am leaning towards “pro” – the lack of ‘vouchers” in the swags (before and after). Definitely a “con” for the fugly tee though.

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