Chan romps home for third win
Chan Ka-ho blew away a top-quality field at Tai Mei Tuk yesterday to win the Mizuno Hong Kong Half Marathon for the third time in a row.
The Tai Po-based student has now made the event his own since four-time winner Mike Capper stopped competing locally in 2004.
Although Chan had a group of challengers to keep him honest right up to the 10-kilometre mark, he cranked up the pressure on the return leg of Bride's Pool Road to open up an unassailable lead over the 2,000-strong field.
'I was a minute faster at the 15km point [yesterday] than I was in last year's race, but my finishing time was just about the same,' said Chan, 23, who clocked one hour, 12 minutes and 41 seconds for his win. 'I had to work really hard over the [Plover Cove Reservoir] dam to maintain my lead but I was confident I would not be caught.'
Chan now finds himself in a quandary having won an all-expenses paid trip to the Osaka Marathon at the end of the month.
However, the date clashes with a bio-mechanics exam.
'I've never been to Japan before so I really want to make the trip,' added Chan. 'I'll try to get my exam rescheduled.'
Police officer Andy Naylor chased Chan all the way over the demanding 21.1km course, and despite sharing the lead right up to the 10km point, he had to settle for second.
'It was very competitive through the middle part of the race, but once Chan hit the dam he just took off,' said Naylor, who finished in 1:13:43.
Fellow police officer Lai Hok-yan was in the second pack, and half a minute down on the leaders through the Wu Kau Tang turning point, but ran a brilliant second half to finish just 13 seconds adrift of Naylor in third place.
The Hong Kong police force had a pretty good day all round with WPC Wong Siu-ping winning the women's race in a personal best of 1:25.00. The 40-year-old has also won a trip to Japan and is relishing the prospect of a return trip to the country, after placing fifth overall in the Lake Kawaguchi Marathon last November.
'Today's race was good for me and confirms that my training is well on track for the Hong Kong marathon in February,' said Wong, who is top of the HKAAA's female marathon rankings.
'I'm very excited to win the trip to Osaka, as the weather is usually very good at Japanese races and the organisation is generally excellent,' added Wong.
Fan Sui-ping placed second overall in the women's race almost two minutes behind Wong. Li Suet-fei faded over the last 5km to finish third in 1:27.17.