Unusual end to Fat Choi run draws criticism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 February, 2008, 12:00am

Rats, mice, and even the Beijing Olympic mascots turned out for the 27th 8km Mizuno Fat Choi Race at Victoria Peak yesterday.

The 700 runners were not deterred by the bitterly cold winds that ripped across Victoria Peak, as most turned out simply to celebrate the first road race of the Year of the Rat.

However, many runners were disappointed that the traditional finishing point at Mount Austin Park could not be used for the prize-giving and post-event activities due to snail-pace construction work that has been going on for more than a year.

'I don't understand it as the park was dug up when we ran this race last year,' said one runner from Sha Tin. 'The Sports Institute was knocked down and an equestrian centre built in about the same time it's taken the government to half renovate this tiny park.'

Race director Sheila Purves was less than satisfied with the arrangements which meant that the award ceremony had to be staged on the podium of the Peak Galleria among a throng of visiting mainland tourists, many of whom wondered what the fuss was all about.

'The LCSD issued us a permit to use the park but when we made a site visit last week we saw that it was completely unusable for an event of our size,' Purves said.

Choi Tat-ming enjoyed his first New Year outing by claiming victory in the men's race in a time of 25 minutes and nine seconds, one place ahead of Wong Tin-yau, who took the runner-up spot in 25:27. Martin Kennard placed third in 25:33.

Fan Sui-ping won the women's race in 29:07. Defending champion Chan Kit-yee finished second.