35,000 runners feature in Hong Kong Marathon despite drizzly morning

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Over 34,700 entrants warmed up the rainy Sunday morning with smiles and sweats in the Hong Kong Marathon 2023, with Kenya and Ethiopia runners winning the championships of Men and Women groups, respectively.

Philemon Kiptoo Kipchumba of Kenya medalled first place in Men's group by a two hour, 10 minutes, and 47 seconds record, with Fantu Eticha Jimma from Ethiopia crowned the race within two hours, 27 minutes, and 50 seconds for the Women's group.

"The drizzly weather affected my race a little," said Kipchumba, "but I'm glad I tried my best!"

For the local male runners to cross the finishing line, Gi Ka-man arrived as the lead with a time record of two hours, 24 minutes, and 45 seconds. Even though he did not beat his personal best of the event in 2021, he described the win as extremely meaningful to encourage his hospitalized father, "You can make it, dad!"

Wong Cheuk-ning retained her throne from the last year's edition, defending the local women's group winner's title in two hours 50 minutes, and two seconds.

"I didn't try to rush today because I'll be fully prepared for the race in Seoul next month!" she said, targeting a record within two hours and 40 minutes.

As most of the city's Covid-19 restrictions were scrapped, runners were able to breathe in the fresh air again while making their start from Nathan Road, Island Eastern Corridor, and Wan Chai Sports Ground to the finishing line in Victoria Park, after a 15-month absence since last year's race.

The marathon organizers are planning another race in November with a quota of more than 37,000 runners, which could be the first time two races have been held in one year.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu cheered runners on the starting ceremony this morning, and, adding screaming and starry glitz, Hong Kong's renowned film star Chow Yun-fat also took part in the 10-kilometre course.