Chinese University student Yip Tung-hoi held off a determined challenge from Lau Yiu-fun to win the 28th staging of the Thaiquain Cup at Pak Tam Chung yesterday.
The pair ran close together at the bottom of the final hill, but Yip powered his way to the finish line for victory in a time of 38 minutes and 14 seconds, five seconds ahead of Lau.
Yip was at or near the head of the 1,000-strong field for much of the 10-kilometre race, which was set over a scenic but very tough course that featured several steep hills.
With the mercury well above the 30 degree Celsius mark by the time the race started at 9am, most of the runners were cautious and were happy to settle for a slower time than they would otherwise run over the 10km distance.
However sensing victory, Yip threw caution to the wind and sprinted the final hill to deny Lau the win. "This was my first ever outright race win," said an ecstatic Yip, 24. "I've had lots of age group wins, but today was different. My first ever outright win feels very special indeed."
Yip is in the final year of a sports science degree and revealed that he will try to secure a job in the disciplined services after graduation, with the immigration department being his preferred option.
Veteran athlete Angelina Kong won the women's race ahead of Tong Ka-yan and Christine Wang. Tai Po-based Kong posted a winning time of 43:56 to Tong's 44:36. Wang was a distant third in 47:08.