Wahoooo!!! Today I completed the Standard Chartered Hong Kong (21km, half) Marathon. As with all of my runs, I enjoyed the run the whole time ;-) . Yes, it may hurt sometimes, but it’s all part of the exhilaration of running. It was great news as well that the half-marathon champion is a Pinoy. Still trying to track down his name. Go go go, Pilipinas!
I wanted to share some experiences about the run, especially in comparison to the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. I did the Singapore marathon (yes, 42Km of it) in December 2, 2007.
Singapore: flat; asphalt and concrete.
Hong Kong: “Urban Hilly” – This is how I describe having to go up the elevated highways, down (and up) the tunnels (yes, there were two tunnels!), and just when we thought we were all done with the uphill climbs there was just one more more climb towards the last 2kms before the finish line. Mostly asphalt. There were many instances of banked roads — runners with weak ankles better be careful.
By the way, the first 5 kilometers of the half-marathon were very cramped. At some points, we had only one lane for the thousands of runners. It was a challenge moving ahead or other runners. All the maneuvering can take a toll on the ankles and knees. Worse, it could lead to a collision with other runners.
Singapore: When I run the full mary in Singapore, I was running all the way until mid-day. It was gruelling in that way, the heat got to me and many runners.
Hong Kong: The weather was cool, between 18-22 degrees. The overcast skies worked very well for the runners of the Hong Kong Marathon. In fact it drizzled/rained the day before. On marathon day, it was just overcast with a little direct sunshine later in the morning. Perfect overcast for a morning run.
Singapore: Nice. The air was nice in Singapore. There were areas in the route where we were at seaside and it was all pleasant. Many parts of the route had lots of trees, like going through the park. That was all good.
Hong Kong: It was a very urban run. For the first 8 kilometers, the air was okay. But after the turning point, the exhaust of speeding vehicles on the opposite lane didn’t help much. The tunnel was surprisingly windy, which was good. But I couldn’t help but feel that the air wasn’t good for me. The air degraded at the last 7 or so kilometers when we were at Hong Kong island making our way through the snake-like bridges, while other motorists were speeding on the other bridges alongside the race route. The last 3 kilometers were at the seaside and the air wasn’t very pleasant.
Singapore: I loved the way the Singapore marathon took into consideration the friends and family who would be cheering in on. They provided pointers about good places for friends/family to cheer. I loved how there were school bands playing victory, inspiration songs. Most memorable was listening to a high school brass band playing the theme from “Rocky”. Wahoo! Water stations, bananas, power drinks, power gel drinks were all provided, including liniment.
Hong Kong: This was impressive. From online registration, distribution of racepacks, providing all the information prior to the race, baggage deposit (totally impressive!), cheering squads, water stations with clown costumes to cheer on the runners, sponge, liniment, marshalls, medics, photographers … the works! All impressive! I especially like how they collected runners’ baggage at the starting line, and made them available at the finish line. The distribution of bags was flawless.
In both my Singapore full marathon in 2007 and my Hong Kong half marathon, I enjoyed every minute of both runs! They had their own challenges. I learned different lessons for each run. I always ran with a smile. This Hong Kong run was a lot of fun because I had friends running too. Cheers to the Smart runners (SMS) and Pinoy Runners!
Congratulations to all finishers!
How to run a marathon: Push your heart forward and your feet will follow!
Proud Pinoy at the Hong Kong Marathon