Baluk steps up game to score first veteran win
Tuen Mun-based athlete Dana Baluk surprised herself with victory in the opening leg of the Athletic Veterans of Hong Kong Adidas Reservoir Series at Aberdeen yesterday, while in the men's overall event a photo finish decided the winner.
'I've competed in several Reservoir races before, but this is my first race win,' said a delighted Baluk (pictured), who placed second last year at Tai Lam Chung. 'The 12-kilometre course is quite demanding but is also very scenic, so it was a very enjoyable race.
'I normally train for the Trailwalker at this time of the year, but my intended team fell apart so I'm not participating at all this year,' added Baluk, who ran in the women's 40-44 age group and clocked 58 minutes and 33 seconds for her win.
Tracy Tory finished second as the only other woman to break the one-hour mark, and recorded a time of 59:36, while Chan Pui-shan placed third in 1:00:03.
In the men's event, training partners Cheng Wai-lee and Lee Chung-wing set a blistering early pace and were well clear of the field when they reached the first water stop at Aberdeen Reservoir Road near the 3km mark.
The runners were still locked together on the final descent to the finish line and crossed together in a time of 48:39, more than two minutes clear of third-place finisher Lo Tak-fai (50:56).
Former Hong Kong cross country international Cheng, who works as a postman, was judged by race officials to have edged out his friend and training partner by the smallest of margins on the finish line.
'It was a tough call but Cheng crossed the line very slightly ahead of Lee,' said race director Patrick Ford.