Marathon organisers consider new route to cope with demand
Organisers of the Hong Kong International Marathon are seriously considering an alternative route for the annual extravanganza to cope with the ever-growing number of participants, Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association chairman Kwan Kee said yesterday.
Speaking at a prize presentation for the event, Kwan said the organisers would be discussing the matter with related government bodies soon, but no date had been set.
'Our aim is to allow more people to participate in the annual event as distance running is always good for the community,' he said. 'But our hands are tied as the existing route is packed with runners and we cannot allow more participants.
'We have received a lot of feedback from the participants after the event this year, saying they want a new route which can accommodate more runners.'
The quota of 65,000 entries this year was filled in just over two weeks, setting a record in the 15-year history of the race.
'The existing marathon route has been used for more than five years and the 10km route for three years,' Kwan said. 'We always review the route so that more runners can join.
'Another way to meet the growing demand is to extend the closing time for the event. We will discuss with the authorities to see if there are better options for next year.'
He said runners had proposed holding the race in Sha Tin, along the Tolo harbour highway, or in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, where there are more flat roads.
'These suggestions will be tabled for discussion, but we know there are a lot of concerns from the authorities before we can start a new route,' Kwan said. 'We may stick to the same route in the end, but it remains our intention to get more participants for the event.'
Meanwhile, HK$219,000 was awarded to all 2011 event winners who are permanent residents of Hong Kong.