Organisers of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon events want to expand the quota for the February 28 races after being swamped with entries.
Only three weeks after applications opened, the 60,000 quota, which represents an increase of 5,000 places on the previous year, has been filled, setting a record in the event's 13-year history. It took more than 11/2 months last year before the 55,000 quota was reached for the three races - the 10-kilometre, half marathon and marathon.
'We were caught by surprise,' said Kwan Kee, chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association. 'As there are still requests coming into our office, we will have to hold discussions with government departments about the possibility of increasing the quota.'
Kwan said it would still be possible to increase the quota if they could extend the cut-off time of 2pm, when the roads were reopened.
'We hope to sort all these things out with the police and transport department as soon as possible, but the safety of the participants remains our priority,' he said.
Kwan admitted organisers thought they might have been pushing their luck by offering another 5,000 places this year. 'But the response has been amazing. This proves we have gained more and more support from the community,' he said.
He attributed the overwhelming response to the growing popularity of the event as well as the growing emphasis on health among the general public.