Sai Kung Mountain Marathon Report, 6 Mar 2011
6 March 2011
(Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong, overcast, 16-20 degrees)
The North Face King of the Hills Sai Kung Mountain Marathon – A Great Finale
A record Sai Kung crowd of nearly 450 runners started in perfect weather conditions in Sai Kung Country Park this morning.
Full Marathon – Champion Systems Dominates, but Davies the King
Soon-to-be-dad Stone Tsang has fully recovered from his injuries and enjoyed a second straight triumph (3:34:59). Stone ran neck and neck with Darren Benson (also recovering from ailments) for 3 hours before pulling away on the final big climb to the highest point on the course Tai Cham Koi (408 meters). Stone was pleased to win, but disappointed to be 7 minutes slower than his own course record set in 2006.
Darren held on to finish second as an expected challenge from William Davies never materialized. Instead, William reverted to his directionally-challenged ways, getting totally lost on a course he has completed several times. Though William finally finished well back this race, his overall results in the first 3 races (two firsts and a second place) secured him the coveted King of the Hills title this season.
Peter Lee was third across the line (4:01:26), but 7 minutes slower than his own male-40 course record set the previous year. Unfortunately, Peter only completed 2 races in the series and therefore cannot claim series honors. Michael Maddess finished shortly thereafter, setting a new male-45 course record (4:05:48) and locking up victory in the category for the series. Man Sung Keung was next across the line (5th overall, 2nd in the male-40 category).
Lucy Marriott blazed in next (4:18:46), breaking the female open course record by a ton and just missing Claire Price’s female course record. Lucy always claims to be exhausted at the end, but try telling that to 120 people she left trailing behind her. Nora Senn was the second female across the line and has won the age group for the series with her consistent performances (Lucy only completed 2 full marathons.)
Chan Kwok Keung made a triumphant return to KOTH with a win (4:22:18) in the male-50 category. KK is training for Marathon des Sables so probably thinks KOTH courses are a bit too short. Fellow M-50 Raymond Li Yiu Cheung was hot on KK’s heels, only a minute behind. This result was good enough for Raymond to wrap up victory in the age group for the series.
Chan Hoi Nam set another M-55 course record (4:34:21) and wrapped up the series title with three victories in 3 races. Claus Rolff gamely tried to follow but finished 5 minutes back, still securing second on the day and second in the M-55 category for the series.
Lo Yin Ngor won the female-40 race, ahead of Carolyn Kng with Dabera Yu happily claiming 3rd place and some North Face shopping coupons.
Half Marathon – Making Parr
Dan Parr went for broke from the start and then held on to win the half marathon (1:38:00, despite being passed by full marathoners Stone Tsang and Darren Benson along the way). It was nice to see Dan back running KOTH after a couple of year’s hiatus. Mark Western finished hot on Dan’s heels (1:40:06) to secure second place in the race and first in the M-40 category for the series.
Thomas Bellamy continued his jackpot or bust relationship with KOTH today. Today was a jackpot day with Tom finishing 3rd overall and second in the open category. Tom’s age group stat line for the series reads, 10th, 2nd, DNF, 2nd. Jan Littlewood finished next and secured just enough points to claim 2nd in the series, ahead of Tom. Recovering from a dislocated pelvis, Seth Fischer finished 5th on the day, but managed to secure the overall series title based upon his strong results earlier in the season.
Ami Arami finished second in the M-40 race (1:48:18), ahead of vastly improved Al Chalabi, who atoned for his poor HK Island performance.
Andrew Thomson (1:50:44) pushed hard to win the M-45 race and secure the series title. Wong Kwok Leung came in 2nd on the day, but did not complete enough races to claim a place in the series while Peter Faarbaek fnished 3rd on the day and 2nd overall in the series.
Before the race, Leung Ping told me that the HK race was an aberration and that he felt really good. Then he went out and proved it with a 1:50:54 to win both the M-50 race and the M-50 series title. In a title battle for 2nd and 3rd place, Chu Fu Loi beat Mark Leeper by 7 seconds, to come out ahead in both the race and the series.
Luk Yin Hung won the M-55 race (2:03:29) as well as the series title. Wong Kam Ming finished 2nd in both and Lee Man Wai 3rd in both the race and the series.
Yiu Kam Sang blazed through the course in 2:03:45 to win the inaugural M-60 race for this course. Wong Peter Chun Tong finished second, but secured the overall series title. Law Kwong Chow secured 2nd for the series by coming in 3rd today and Lam Ngok Kam fnished 4th to secure 3rd place in the series.
Claire Chapman stormed to a 1:54:46 finish to claim woman’s line honors. Claire also wrapped up second place in the series while Jeanette Holmes-Thomson watched lazily, having already won the first 3 races and locking up the series title.
Nadia Koucha set a new F-40 course record (2:02:51) and completed a clean sweep of the series. Meanwhile, Yeung Mei Lun showed no ill effects from an ankle injury in setting the F-50 course record (2:11:29).
Kudos also go to Frederikke Faarbaek, the youngest competitor in the race. 12-year old Miss Faarbaek danced through the course in 2:42.
With the series now over, all the remains is to acknowledge those who persevered over the KOTH season. The annual awards dinner will take place on Thursday, 31 March at L16 Restaurant in Hong Kong Park. (See www.seyonasia.com/koth for further details.) This is a great chance to meet up with trail friends in a social context and share some stories.
I would also like to thank again The North Face for their support in making KOTH possible this year, and Swire Coca-cola who has now provided drinks for KOTH for 13 years. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the fabulous marshals who have volunteered their time this series to make KOTH the outstanding community event and hardcore challenge that it is.