Organisers bank on record entry
Organisers confirmed the 2006 Standard Chartered Marathon will be held on February 12, and predicted another record turnout for the event.
It comprises a marathon, half-marathon and 10km race, with up to 35,000 people - 4,000 more than last year - expected to take part this time.
Some of the city's top junior runners are likely to enter the 10km race, regarded as one of the most demanding courses over the distance because of its undulating nature.
In atrocious weather conditions last year, Ricco Chan Ye-ko won the boys' race in a time of 36 minutes. The La Salle College student finished ahead of Yung Chun-nam, of YCH Tung Chi Ying Memorial Secondary School (36.34 minutes), and his fellow-triathlon team member, Ivan Lo Ching-hin (37.08 minutes).
In the girls' race, Grace Ng Hei-man, a 14-year-old student at Good Hope School, finished in 40.29 minutes, ahead of Tania Mak So-ning (41.39 minutes) and Joyce Cheung Ting-yan (41.54 minutes).
Grace was also the fastest in the women's Open category.
The overall winner (Men's Open) in the 10k race was Boonchoo Jandacha, a police officer from Thailand, who clocked 33.44 minutes.
Organisers said overall prize money will rise from $500,000 this year to $770,000, with several extra prizes to be allocated to Hong Kong runners.
A special prize pool of more than $144,000 will be shared by the top three finishers - who are Hong Kong permanent residents - in the marathon, half-marathon and 10km race.
Even with last year's record numbers, many hopefuls were still turned away, convincing organisers to expand the entry field for 2006.
The event has become increasingly popular since 1,076 people ran in the first marathon in 1997. By 2001, the number of participants had grown to more than 10,000.
There is a special early bird registration fee of $270 for local runners until October 31. From November 1 until December 31, the fee will be $320.