Plodding along at the back of the field

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am

Everyone's a winner, even the last man running at yesterday's marathon - policeman Li Ying-man.

The 48-year-old station sergeant at the Wan Chai Police Headquarters, was the last person - the 4,785th - to cross the finish line in the gruelling marathon. He was simply thrilled to have finished the race.

'I'm so happy that I just made the cut-off mark before they started taking runners from the road,' Li said. 'I saw many people behind me who were stopped and told to get on to the buses. I'm just relieved to finish the race.'

He escaped the long arm of the organisers who placed a time limit of 51/2 hours for the marathon. A total of 818 laggards were picked up by buses so that the highways could be re-opened to traffic.

Li was applauded all the way to the finish line as he finished in five hours, 29 minutes and 39 seconds.

'I was slow. In 2006, I finished in four hours and 20 minutes. Last year I took part in the half-marathon but decided to get back to the full distance this time. Unfortunately, I couldn't train as much as I wanted to because of work,' said Li.

'I knew I was the last person and I was determined to finish the race. It was great coming in to Causeway Bay and hearing the crowds cheering me. I don't think I could have finished the race, if not for them.'

Li says he will be back next year. 'Hopefully I will do better. I will make sure I train more,' he smiled.