Hong Kong marathon sprints to half-million milestone
The milestone enrolment of half a million runners since the inception of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon has been reached, but the race is over for those who have yet to register for next year's event, as the record 70,000 quota has been filled.
'We are delighted once again with the response to the entry registration which once again goes to prove the growing popularity of running in Hong Kong, and that this event has become one of the most anticipated sporting events in Asia,' said William Ko Wai-lam, chairman of the marathon's organising committee.
Standard Chartered, which has supported the event since 1997, is also delighted that the record 70,000 runners registered for the marathon, half-marathon and 10-kilometre runs has helped the event pass the 500,000-participant mark.
'[These milestones] in our 16th year of sponsorship align with our aspirations for the Hong Kong marathon. We have always been keen to develop every aspect of the marathon for the benefit of Hong Kong, and hope that runners, their families and supporters will join our community spirit through our theme 'Run for a Reason',' said Fern Ngai, head of corporate affairs at the bank. 'In addition, we hope that we will be able to add another record this year through our Marathon Charity Programme, by surpassing the HK$3.6 million amount raised in 2011. As an added incentive, the top 100 fundraisers can guarantee themselves a place in the 2013 marathon.'
The quota for the February 5 marathon rose by 3,000 to 13,000, while that of the half-marathon was raised by 2,000 to 20,000. The 10km entries remain at 37,000. For the first time next year, wheelchair races will be staged.
There will be a full marathon race for about 20 entries and a 3km race for another 30 entries.
In an effort to attract more top overseas runners, organisers have also increased the prize money by almost 50 per cent to US$227,000, with the marathon champion taking home US$50,000.
'There was an overwhelming response from the general public when we opened the registration in October. Like other popular international marathons, demand far exceeds capacity, and while we have tried our best to fulfil all requests, unfortunately we are not able to accommodate everyone. We will continue to review and improve our processes and hope that those who missed out this year will be able to participate in the future,' Ko said.
The number of months that beginners need to train and prepare adequately to run a full marathon