Former winner well-prepared to regain 10km title

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 February, 2011, 12:00am

The early starting times of Sunday's annual Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon always make it tough for runners. Young Post talks to Mark Ryan, champion of the 10-kilometre challenge in 2009, about proper ways to get one's body and mind ready for the race. The event kicks off with the 10km challenge, which starts at 5.15am in Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Ryan says the key is to have enough food and a thorough warm-up before running.

'The day before, I will have a big dinner rich in carbohydrates and will go to bed at around 9pm,' he says. 'I will wake up at two in the morning to eat a couple of bananas, and drink water. By the time I get to the starting point, the food will be digested and be able to supply me with energy. Before the start, I will keep my legs as warm as possible without getting tired.'

Like many other types of sports, running is about finding the right rhythm. Ryan says: 'For me, the first four kilometres is to find my pace. After [that], usually, the top runners separate from the others. At the 6km mark, runners begin to feel fatigue and lose concentration. A runner should not worry about others and continue to run at their own pace.

'Over the final two kilometres, I will try to run at a faster pace to make a push to the finish line. It is always an advantage to have a quick start in 10km races because there isn't a lot of room to catch up later.'

Ryan has been training twice a day, six days a week in the past month to fine-tune his condition. 'I cover around 100 kilometres a week. I will run on a treadmill in the morning and run on hills around The Peak in the evening,' he says.

'Last year, there was too much pressure with a lot of predictions and questions from the media and people around me. [That] led to me not being able to complete the race. This year I feel very relaxed and I just want to enjoy running. I expect to [clock] less than 33 minutes.'

Sunday's event involves 65,000 runners in the 10km challenge, half marathon (21.1km) and full marathon (42.2km), which all end at Victoria Park, Causeway Bay.