Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

Runner fights for her life after collapsing in Hong Kong Marathon

Ethiopians claim the two big prizes as 74,000 compete in perfect conditions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 9:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 February, 2017, 4:06am

A woman was fighting for her life in hospital on Sunday after taking part in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.

The Hospital Authority said the 52-year-old was in critical condition in Ruttonjee Hospital, Wan Chai. Two men, aged 46 and 23, were also initially listed as critical but later improved to “serious”.

It is believed the woman collapsed at the finishing line in Victoria Park at around 9am, having completed the 10km race. There were 27 reports of hospital admissions – 12 had been discharged by 2pm.

Some 74,000 runners enjoyed perfect conditions in the 21st edition of the race, with Ethiopians winning the main events in both the men’s and women’s categories.

The pleasant weather was a stark contrast to last year, when a bitterly cold downpour prompted many entrants to opt for a lie-in instead.

Ethiopia’s Melaku Belachew dances for joy after smashing course record at Hong Kong Marathon

This year Bizuneh Melaku Belachew broke the course record in the men’s marathon, finishing in two hours 10 minutes and 31 seconds. He danced for joy at the finishing line with Julius Kipyego of Kenya, who came second.

“Last year was very bad,” joked Belachew of the miserable conditions in which he came eighth, “but I feel very good today.”

He took home to Addis Ababa a cheque for about US$65,000, plus a bonus for finishing in under two hours and 12 minutes.

His fellow Ethiopian Gulume Tollesa Chala won the women’s prize in two hours, 33 minutes and 39 seconds.

Popular local runner Chan Ka-ho won the men’s 10km, with his wife ­– Hong Kong Olympic marathon runner Christy Yiu Kit-ching – cheering him on from the television commentary box.

She chose not compete as the couple are trying for their first child.

“Hopefully we can train him or her up to be a future Hong Kong Olympian, like their mother,” Gi joked.

Wong Tai Sin teacher Mabel Lui Wai-man won the women’s 10km. “I just started my job and only train one or two times a week, so it’s a real surprise,” she said

The men’s half-marathon was won by mainland China’s Wang Kun, while You Ya-jyun from Taiwan triumphed in the women’s race.

On a lighter note, one couple ran in their wedding clothes ahead of their marriage ceremony, while a competitor dressed as Spiderman was one of the most popular targets for photographers.

Canto-pop star Stephanie Cheng and television anchor Elaine Tang Yuk-ling were among celebrities taking part.

A new initiative this year was a short “family run” from Wan Chai to Victoria Park, Causeway Bay.