After my first international half-marathon in Singapore last Dec 2011, I have been planning to join the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. Around October 2012, the registration opened online. Without a thought, I registered for the 21K right away because I read from blogs that the slots are usually filled up by hours! True enough, when I check the site after a week of my registration, the 42K and 21K categories were all filled up and are closed. Wow.
This is my first time to be in Hong Kong. I know, shame. A month before the actual race, I was not yet prepared physically because I was too preoccupied with work, and I have no time to run either in the gym or early morning in a small park near my place.
But my spirit is very much willing, that I need to prepare and I have to find a way to condition myself for the race. I only started doing serious runs latter part of January, with barely a month preparation.
I heard that by February, Hong Kong weather is still cold. That makes me bothered because this is the first time that I will be running in a cold environment. Manila and the one in Singapore before are warm, and humid, so I don’t have that much adjustment. To think that the HK Marathon has a cut off of 3H:10M for 21KM category.
When I arrived in Hong Kong the day prior for the event, it is indeed cold. The temperature is 16 degrees Celsius, that is the lowest temperature in an air conditioning unit in Manila. For someone who came from the tropics like me, that IS cold. The bad part is, I did not bring at least a wind breaker with me. I bring a jacket, but that’s just a traveling jacket. My anti-cold jacket for the actual race, I don’t have.
So I have to check the forecast weather for the following day. Good thing, it will be 22 degrees Celsius. It is a manageable temperature to run. And the other good thing is, my scheduled start time is 9.10am so the sun is already out. Problem solved.
I make it a point that the place I am staying in Hong Kong should be walking distance from the starting line of the marathon. The starting line is in Nathan Road, Kowloon area. So during the marathon day, all I have to do is walk from my place to the starting line. Very convenient.
There are a total of 72,752 runners in various categories. Full marathon runners alone, there are 13,638 participants. For my category of half marathon (21K), there are 20,604 runners. In fact, we were group into three batches during the event so as not to clog the road. For 10K runners, there are 38,510. That’s a lot of runners!!!
What I like about the Chinese Hong Kong people is that they are very warm and enjoyable runners. They are noisy which makes the whole experience energetic and memorable. I remember the part where we have to pass through an underground tunnel (Western Harbour Tunnel), and everybody is shouting inside which makes the whole enclosed tunnel reverberates with a unison sound. I had unexplainable, goosebumps. Ang saya-saya!!!
For the last two kilometers, the audience along the side streets are all cheering for us runners which keeps you going until the finish line—even if you feel all the pain in the legs and thighs.
When I saw the word “FINISH LINE” meters away, it was mixture of emotions. But the overriding feeling is that of joy, happiness, and a little emotional which you want to cry. It must be the endorphins released during the run. But whatever it is, this Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013 is one memorable experience I will never forget.