I refer to the report on the forthcoming Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon headlined, 'Fears for marathon runners' health in tunnel crossing' (South China Morning Post, November 9), which requires clarification.
The report said that the tunnel tube of the Western Harbour Tunnel used for the marathon in February, would only be closed down five to 15 minutes before the runners entered.
In fact, the southbound tube of the tunnel will be closed to vehicular traffic from 10pm the night before the race. Runners will have exclusive use of the southbound tube from 7.15am till about 9am when the last runners are expected.
There will be plenty of time for the air within the tunnel to be flushed out and for fresh air to be re-circulated many times over before the race. The Western Harbour Tunnel has one of the best tunnel ventilation and air quality monitoring systems in Hong Kong. A total of 36 axial fans are installed in the two ventilation buildings located on both sides of the tunnel. Environmental sensors are also installed to monitor air quality.
It was decided to run the 1999 event through the tunnel, after careful consideration of the options. It was felt it was important to start the event in the heart of Hong Kong. The marathon's organising committee was determined to let runners enjoy the excitement of running through the downtown area and to allow Hong Kong residents the chance to cheer on friends, relatives and the international stars who will be taking part.
This has been made possible with the generous co-operation of the Western Harbour Tunnel Company.
I invite runners to take up the challenge and take part in what will be a safe, healthy, world-class running event.
WILLIAM KO Chairman Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association