Q&A

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 2012, 12:00am
 

1Why do you get out of bed at 4am on a Sunday morning to join this slowly moving mass of humanity?

2 Because of road restrictions, organisers say the marathon has reached bursting point at 70,000 participants. How can the government do more to make the event even bigger and better?

JEFFREY SHUEN CHUN-KIT, 14, Ma On Shan, Form 3 student. 10km

Q1: I tried the 10km challenge group in 2010, but this time I chose to join my friends to run for a charity rather than a prize in the 10km race for the public. I have a medical certificate to prove I am fit enough to join the race (He is not born in 1995 or before, the minimum age requirement for the junior category). The charity (Sports for Hope Foundation) helps grass-roots teenagers unable to afford the cost of doing sports. I raised over HK$1,000 from my relatives and friends.

Q2: I started my race at 6.30am and I was the fastest guy of my group. Even though I attained my personal best time, the slower runners in the earlier groups were blocking my way. Before letting more people join, the organisers should think about how to ensure a smoother flow for runners.

FABRIZIO MERCHERI, 46, Central, manager of Prada. 10km

Q1: My 15-year-old son pushed me to join the 10km race to run with him. I have been here for almost seven years and I like running, but I don't know why I didn't join the race before.

Q2: I don't want to start my race at 5.30am. It's so dark and I couldn't see any scenic view of Hong Kong clearly, not even after I crossed the finish. The government needs to extend the time for road closures and start the race later. Come on, it's just one day in a year. The public should understand and people who drive should take a break for this iconic event.

COCO CHOI PUI-YAN, 17, Southern District, Form 6 student and first runner-up of Half-Marathon Challenge (women's junior).

Q1: I ran the 10km race last year, but I really wanted to try running cross the harbour. The expectation and excitement helped me overcome the pain of having to wake up at 3.45am.

Q2: The government should promote long-distance running. Organisers could also add 5km or 8km races, so the finish time for runners would be shorter and the start time can be pushed to later in the morning. Many people don't want to get up at midnight to run and the shorter races can attract more runners. When the majority of Hong Kong citizens start running, no one would object to most of the day - or even a whole day - of road closures.

DIANA THUMB, over 25, Causeway Bay, civil servant. Half-Marathon Challenge

Q1: I have the desire to wake up early to challenge myself. I ran the 10km last year, the half-marathon challenge today and next year I will run the full marathon.

Q2: The organisers should look at the route and maybe adopt multi-starting points on the same course, so the time will still be sufficient for runners to complete the whole course even if more people join next year.

LIBBY VAUGHAN, she said she was 'old', Southern District, director of an NGO. 10km

Q1: I just started my training in September last year. I have a very good coach who inspires me and encourages me to get up early. My husband is probably still in bed!

Q2: Yes, definitely they should allow children to join. My son is 9 and he is running way better than me. We went to Cambodia for a 10km race in December 2010, but he can't join today's race. The organisers should allow children to run with parents. More water is also needed as stations ran out for the later groups.

AJMAL VICTOR SAMUEL, 46, Western District, businessman. Marathon (wheelchair)

Q1: I have been fighting for five years for wheelchair races. I caught a bad flu last week, but I still got out of my bed automatically when the time came. This is such an important day for me since my dream finally came true. The course is really tough for wheelchair athletes and I couldn't finish the race after reaching about 37km. I was a few minutes late at the checkpoint. But I still feel joy for disabled athletes to finally have a chance to join this major event.

Q2: I have been in Hong Kong for more than 20 years and I know there are many disabled athletes who have the desire to show their talent in sports events. It's the same case for athletes without disabilities. There is a simple logic of supply and demand. The demand is increasing and why is the government not increasing the supply? They should extend the closure of roads to let more runners join next year. And wheelchair athletes can have a longer time for completion, too.

CHEN YA-FEN, 21, Taipei, university student and Taiwan's athletics team member. Full Marathon Challenge

Q1: I heard the marathon course was very tough. And this time my national team sent me here and I experienced the 'up and down' track. The tunnel is really long and it tested my determination. The race is a good lesson for the future of my career.

Q2: This is an easy problem to solve. Run the 10km and half marathon races on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday. That means less pressure on runners and everybody can join then.

ANTHONY LEUNG, 30+, Hong Kong Island, insurance industry. Full Marathon Challenge

Q1: I came here early and ran in the shark costume. My friends wore this costume for the past three years and for the fourth year, it's my turn. I have a slower time this year though the costume is not heavy. The key point is to raise awareness that eating shark's fin soup can cause extinction of this fish. I had many positive messages along the road and I also gave them the shark-shaped bookmarks to remind people to stop eating this dish.

Q2: Quality should rule over quantity. I can see the improvements in recent years, but the course needs changing and it should cover more roads in the heart of the city. More people can then be exposed to the race and encouraged to join.

Zhao Cui Qin, 42, Hebei, mainland government executive officer. Full Marathon Challenge

Q1: The start time is early for those used to running other marathons, specially in the mainland. Usually the races start at 8am or 9am, but Hong Kong's early start favours me. I like to train at 6am regularly, so this is not a tough day for me.

Q2: They should swap the order of the marathon and half marathon. This is a usual practice in other races. I don't mind if we start at 5am in the future.

Ng On-yee, 22, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong snooker team athlete. 10km

Q1: I had a later start compared to last year's 10km race. I was thrilled and couldn't wait. My boyfriend also ran with me this time. He is faster than me, but he pretends that he needs to stop and have some rest so I can catch up. I really want to run faster than him, he is my moving target.

Q2: Increasing more time slots will help. After observing the course, I think they can add some groups for the 10km runs.

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