Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2011

Event:Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

Venue:Hong Kong,starting in Nathan Rd,ending in Victoria Park.


Date:20th February 2011 (Sunday)

**The outside view of Hong Kong Airport after I arrived.It was dark and gloomy.There was no sunlight at 10.30am.The temperature was about 14 celcius.**

This is my first oversea marathon excluding Singapore Marathon.There were 5 of us leaving Seremban at 4.00am to catch the first Airasia flight to Hong Kong on Friday 18th Feb 2011.Steve did not managed to join us due to work and some personal issues.Francis took the later flight.

Immediately after arrival,we took the MTR straight to Causeway Bay to collect our running bibs.

**This was the bibs collection area.Very quiet and not much of activity.I was expecting something grand and "happening"as this SCHKM supposed to be a big sporting event in Hong Kong.Too bad they did not organised an EXPO for oversea runners.**

**Bibs collection was very fast and efficient.Everything was over in less than 5 minutes.No queue,no problems.Very good!!The green bag was the deposit bag on the race day.Other kind of bags were not allowed.Lau was collecting for Steve and Francis.**

**The contents in our running bag:the number,a T-Shirt,a SCHKM souvenir and runner's guide.Very simple.No goodies?**

**Banners of SCHKM and videos promotion were all over Hong Kong including the MTR stations. This SCHKM video was frequently shown in MTR stations:**

**The workers were seen preparing this venue for the race day (not in this picture...many went for lunch break,I presumed).This was where all marathoners would finished their race.The ground was wet as it was raining earlier.**

We had lunch nearby before going to our hotel.

**Checking into our hotel-The Kowloon Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.A big hotel but with small rooms.Location was very good and strategic for travellers.**

**Later we went out window shopping in Mongkok Area.Plenty of items to choose.Plenty of choices**

**A popular place would be shops selling shoes-so many choices.Some are very colourful and attractive.**

**After dinner we decided to check out the starting point for the Sunday race,so we walked along Nathan Rd from Mongkok to Tsim Sha Tsui.The distance was not so far but it looked very far on the map.It was cold and windy at night.**

**After walking,we were hungry again-probably due to the cold weather.We had supper with Francis who have just arrived at about 7.30pm**

**Red beans plus ??.I am not much into foods and eating so do not know much about foods.What I know is,it was expensive for this supper compared to Malaysian standard and the place was cramped.**
**Next morning,our "tour guide"Francis brought us for Dim Shum nearby.We just followed as he knew more of Hong Kong than anyone of us.The breakfast was good and not so expensive**

**After breakfast,Francis went off to meet up with his relatives while the rest of us went shopping at Citygate Tung Chung.Later Lau and wife together with Lim and Heng decided to get blessing from Buddha.So they went off to see Buddha in Lantau Island.I continued my shopping -bought some jackets and shoes for my family members.**

**We gathered again in the evening for carbo loading in a restaurant in Central area.Francis bought us to the restaurant famous for roasted goose-**

**Good foods and nice restaurant.A bit pricey since it has received many awards for it's foods.Worth trying once.

**After dinner,walking around Lan Kwai Fong observing the saturday night life of Hongkie and the "mat sallehs".
Then we went back to the hotel to rest before the big day.

**As usual,can't sleep well before a race.I woke up at 4.00am and this probably disturbed my roommate,Lim who has set his alarm clock at 4.45am.Took a shower and we were ready by 5.30am.We went across the road from our hotel to snap this photo.Look at the spelling mistake on the board!**
**Group photo after depositing our bags into the trucks (seen at the background).The place was packed with runners but the workers were very efficient.The trucks would transport runners' bags to the finishing point on Hong Kong Island.Francis and Lim went off to the starting line as their race was scheduled at 6.20am while Lau,Heng and myself strolled around while waiting for our starting at 6.4am**
**The race started in Nathan Rd,TST with runners headed away from the city initially.There were 3 bridges to conquered.
The climb along the bridges were not so tough as I expected.It was a comfortable run along the bridges except for occasionally cold breeze on the bridges.
**Runners had to run through 3 tunnels along the route.The tunnels were about 1-2km long.A new different experience as I have never run through a tunnel before.

**The best part of the race was near the ending point-the last 1km was filled up with supporters and spectators cheering runners.However I saw policemen unable to control the crowds and allowed some of the spectators to cross the road.It is dangerous to runners as both runners and spectators can collide with each other.

**Picture taken after I collected my bag.The camera battery was low as I forgot to recharge it the night before.I bought along the camera and my handphone in my deposited bag and it was safe.Wasted the golden opportunity to snap lots of pictures after the race due to my carelessness.**
Personally I don't find this SCHKM difficult.It was easier than initially thought.The elevations and the gradients were a bit exaggerated.I think the cold weather helps lots of runners to do their personal best.It was a "NO SWEAT" race as I told Lim and Francis after the race.No sweat means minimal sweating due to cold weather,not to boast that it was an easy race.

**Baggage collection areas-volunteers were very efficient.They saw me walking toward them and they already got my bag ready by the time I reached them.I got my bag in less than 1 minute!I still remember waited for almost 1 hour for my bag during last year Standard Chartered KL Marathon.

The good things about SCHKM:
1)well organised event-from collection of bibs to the finish,everything went on smoothly.
2)cold nice weather-good for running.Initially I was very worried of the cold weather but now I am more convinced that it is better to run in cold temperature compared to our hot Malaysia weather.

3)The supporters were great at the last 1km.Massive crowd of spectators.
4)Distance markers at every km!!Never see this happening in Malaysia.
**Once you leave the finishing area,runners were not allowed to re-enter again.Many friends and relatives were seen waiting outside the finishing area.**
The Not So Good things about SCHKM:
1)Not enough bananas-I was given a quarter of a banana.They cut the bananas to smaller pieces,I wondered why?
2)No energy bar.Lucky I bought along my own gel.Lim got a piece of Zip Cadbury wafer.I guess the earlier marathoners who started at 6.20am had taken most of the energy bar and the bananas.
3)Only one small lane for runners (half of the road) along the Central area (I am not sure of the exact location).The other half lane was opened to traffic.Many runners were seen walking up the fly-over thus blocking the way for other runners.
4)The human jam after 28km where half marathoners joined up with full marathoners.Both shared the same route up to the finishing point.
5)Not enough portable toilets along the route.The weather was cold.The urge to pee started at about 5km and I had to hold on while looking for toilets but each time I past by toilets, there were many runners queuing up to use them.In order not to waste time,I continue running until 17km when the urge was too great....TAK BOLEH TAHAN I had to make a quick decision,either do as the elite do or pee at the roadside.I chose to pee by the roadside,couldn't bother about other runners.Can't do the elite way.Ha..ha..ha...

**While waiting for Lau and Heng,we took a picture with our medal.Look at how proud was Lim...he did very very well,cutting off about 41 minutes from his last marathon and this SCHKM is only his 2nd marathon.This guy is full of potential.Watch out,more personal best to come from Lim.Francis did well too despite having injury to his knee and he is going to do another marathon in Tokyo one week after SCHKM.Superman!!

If you wonder what are all the numbers,I summarized it as below;
overall position 707
gender positon 639
category positon 639
category MMR1
race number M0272
official time 4:20:33
nett time 4:20:11
10km time 1:00:56
half way time 2:02:35
Overall:A good event.One should give it a try at least once.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2011-Seremban Group Results

The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2011 results for the Seremban group (unofficial):
1)Francis 3h 28min
2)Myself 4h 21min PB
3)Lim 4h 25min PB
4)Lau 4h 34min PB
5)Heng 4h 38min
The official results will be only available by tomorrow.Will do a write up of our few days stay in a cold,wet and gloomy weather of Hong Kong later.