Triple happiness for 10km champ as friends win, too
Winning is always great, but joining his sweetheart and his good friend on the winners' podium provided triple happiness for Chan Ka-ho, champion in the 10-kilometre race.
'I am over the moon, as this is my first win in the 10km, 11 years after I first joined the Hong Kong Marathon,' the final-year Baptist University student said.
'But today is wonderful, as it's not only me who stands on the highest block on the medal podium. My girlfriend [Christy Yiu Kit-ching, whom he met six years ago] and my good friend [Gi Ka-man, with whom he grew up in long-distance running] also made it in the half-marathon. It's like triple happiness.'
'They may have been the favourites to win their races, but I wasn't,' Chan said. 'I had expected only a top-three finish, as there was a tough opponent from Australia and also defending champion Mark Ryan. But the overseas runner could not make the race because of a calf injury, while Ryan had a poor start, leaving me to fight against a former triathlete throughout the race.'
Chan, who ran the 10km once before in 2001, crossed the finish line in 32 minutes and 45 seconds, followed by Lo Ching-hin in 33:12. Third place went to American Barclay-Grundler Curtis in 33:34.
'It's just perfect and I hope to challenge the Hong Kong best time of 31:17,' Chan said. 'I was occupied by a placement job as a teacher, as I am in the final year of my physical education course, making me busy and tired. But I was fortunate to have the Chinese New Year as a timely break to get back in peak form.'
After 2001, Chan moved to the half-marathon until 2008, the year he won. He then stepped up to the marathon, but with little joy.
'Perhaps I still need more time to build my endurance level, and that's why I decided to go back to the 10km this year. It's a smart move, isn't it?'
Chan, 27, was urged by well-wishers to marry his girlfriend as soon as possible, but he said that was for the future.
'I have plans to marry her, but now I prefer a big buffet to dine with Christy to celebrate our victories,' he said. 'It's not easy to both win on the same day in a big event like the Hong Kong Marathon.'