Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 Things to Worry About HK Marathon


Unlike in the Philippines where we don't usually have a cut off time for long races (21km and 42km races) or if we do, there is usually some leniency from race organizers to allow the runners to keep on going BEYOND the cut off time, the Hong Kong Marathon has a cut off time and it is strictly enforced.

The cut off time isn't just for the finish line but it is also situated in different parts of the course. That means that you can't go too slow at the start and make up for lost time at the second part because you may not even reach the second part before the net comes up. Yes, the net!!!
A net is put up across the road as a barricade, once the cut off time is reached and runners who arrived after the net is put up on the road are NOT ALLOWED to continue and must board the shuttle bus all the way to the finish line!

That means no finisher medals and no names in the official results! This is the worst fear among runners joining this race (and rightly so)!


Running a marathon within a prescribed cut off time is hard enough. What more if the course is 90% hilly?! From what I read in another blog, it was uphill the first 40km! Many consider this as Asia's hardest marathon! Too bad I found out about this ONLY after I registered and paid for my entry fee!


As a runner in the Philippines, I am used to seeing a water station every 2.5km. For me, that is the perfect distance to re-hydrate and replenish lost liquids. This applies for 10km, 21km and 42km road races with 21km and 42km races even giving out bananas and sports gel mid-way.

So, it was a shock to me when I found out that the Hong Kong Marathon has hydration areas every 5km only! And although there would be sports drinks, and even some food at the second part of the course, its distance is still 5km from each other! And that's a long distance especially after you have been running for more than 3-4 hours and feel the thirst already!

So, cut-off time, hills and water stations every 5km mark only...

Why am I joining this race again?


Tune in now for the Katy Perry song of the same name! Finished? Now, resume reading...

For the full marathon, the gun start is at 7:15am so if you are aiming to finish below the cut-off time, you should be able to cross the finish line before 1:15pm. Yes, right in the middle of midday heat! There could be a possible sun burnt skin afterwards so put on your sunblock lotions before the race starts.

Not sure how shaded the run course would be but as it is passing by different city bridges, I don't expect much shade there. The heat is my own personal Kryptonite in any road race. Much harder for me here given reason #3!

But maybe, this is a better approach as temperature in Hong Kong during this time ranges from 10 -15 degrees Celsius! Cold weather takes a longer time for your muscles to warm up and harder for you to move.

To summarize, it will be a freezing, chilly start but a sun burnt finish with a strict cut-off time, on a hilly route and with limited hydration areas! Did I miss anything?


You are just one of 70,000 runners sharing the same road. I don't know the % of 42km runners here but I am sure it would still be quite crowded running this race. Expect additional energy to be wasted in weaving and getting around people and longer lines at the hydration areas. Expect to overtake some people and to be overtaken by a lot of people.

So, it's a mix weather race with a strict cut-off time, on a hilly route, with limited hydration areas and with 69,999 other runners.

What more can I say except:

BRING IT... ON !!!!

LUKE 1:37 - For nothing is impossible with GOD !

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