Covid runners are in but politics out in big race

Runners infected with Covid will be allowed to join the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday but all runners are reminded not to wear outfits with political slogans as that would be violating the rules and lead to disqualification.

The executive director of the Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates, Dennis Ng Yu-ho, said yesterday runners do not have to give proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or rapid test result.

"Runners who do test positive are advised to consult their family doctor or a physician and act at their own discretion," Ng said. "And if you do decide to run, stop and take a rest if you're not feeling well."

About 37,000 people are running this year, making for a full enrolment rate and marking a rise from 18,500 in the last race.

The full and half marathon races will kick off on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui while the 10-kilometer race starts at the Island Eastern Corridor and the wheelchair race at Wan Chai Sports Ground. All races finish at Victoria Park.

All races begin with a mass start, after which masks can be taken off.

Staff will be stationed on the sidelines with mask disposal bins 50 meters from the starting line and at the finish.

Ng also warned runners not to adorn their running gear with political slogans.

Asked whether runners would be allowed to wear slogans such as "Hong Kong add oil," which got a runner banned in 2021, he said "we hope there won't be political elements. We may reserve the right to ban runners who violate the rules."

Transport Department senior officer Ann Wong On-yu said temporary road closures on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon and the New Territories will be implemented from 11.30 pm on Saturday until

4.30 pm on Sunday.

The southbound sections of the West Kowloon Highway and Western Harbour Crossing will be closed at 12.45 am on Sunday, Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui at 1.40 am, Lin Cheung Road at 2.30 am, and Cherry Street and Argyle Street at 3.45 am.

Haiphong, Peking, Middle, Ashley and Hankow roads will close at 4 am, and Nathan Road between Argyle Street and Austin Road at 4.30 am.

People in the vicinity of Mong Kok, Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui are advised to use the MTR.

Eastbound Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay will be closed and most public transport services along the street will be diverted to Percival and Pennington streets and Leighton Road on the race day.

The Kowloon-bound section of Tuen Mun Highway will be closed at 11.30 pm on Saturday, with more closures to follow on Cheung Tsing Highway, Cheung Tsing Tunnel and Nam Wan Tunnel for the full marathon.

Closed roads citywide will gradually reopen starting 1.15 pm on Sunday.