Online gremlins returned to haunt the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon website as users overwhelmed the system in a desperate bid to secure one of 17,000 half-marathon slots made available yesterday morning.
With the system taking registrations on a first-come, first-served basis, all places were snapped up within four hours. The site crashed intermittently, meaning some runners missed out on registering.
"The online application system experienced some technical challenges this morning due to the surge of runners wishing to register and this caused some delays in the system processing," William Ko Wai-lam, chairman of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2014 organising committee, said. "We apologise for any inconvenience caused."
An extra 2,000 places for the half-marathon were added from last year, with 22,500 slots available for the race, which will take place in February of next year.
A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association said more places were provided for the full marathon and half-marathon races as demand for longer races had increased.
Joseph Ng Sheung-yi, co-founder of local running group Harbour Runners, waited 45 minutes to complete his registration as the website repeatedly crashed. "It has always been stressful, especially the last few years with the growing number of people that want to do it," he said.
"While I appreciate the organisers putting on this event year after year, this system of application for a race is reflective of their attitude to 'just get the thing done as fast as possible'."
"The situation is far better than previous years … especially because they have different application periods for different races," said Keith Chan Wah-kwai of HKRunners.com "Tens of thousands of people visit the site at the same time, so some problems are unavoidable."