Thomas Kiprotich failed in his bid to retain the men's title in the Coca-Cola Running Fun 10-kilometre race yesterday but was delighted to be beaten by his elder cousin, Robert Kilagat.
The two Kenyan runners set at a blistering pace and were 50 metres clear of the chasing pack by the time they cleared the 1km mark on the Ma On Shan Promenade. The pair pressed on at speed to the turnaround mark at 4.5km, at which point Kilagat pulled away to assume the outright lead.
He crossed the line in a new course record of 31 minutes and five seconds, 25 seconds clear of Kiprotich and 35 seconds ahead of third-placed Gi Ka-man.
"I could have gone faster today but I ran into the runners at the back of the field on the way home," said 31-year-old Kilagat, who lives in Eldoret, home to many of Kenya's finest distance runners. "I'm still pleased with my time as it was hot and very humid out there," added Kilogat. "I ran a marathon in China last week but did not finish as I didn't feel well, so it was good to run well today.
"As far as the course goes, it's fantastic - flat and fast with incredible views of the ocean and beautiful mountains beyond."
Kilagat, who has a 10km personal best time of 29:37, will now go to Malaysia for a half marathon event before returning to Hong Kong for his flight back to Kenya.
Yiu Kit-ching successfully defended her title in the women's race despite a strong challenge from Michelle Lowry, who went out fast with the aid of a pace maker.
Tai Po-based Yiu, a registered nurse, emerged the winner after a strong run on the homeward journey and crossed the line in 38:17, exactly half a minute clear of Lowry. Jane Hodgskin placed third in 40:48.
Lance Wright, general manager of race sponsor Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong, was on hand to see the 2,600 runners take on the challenge.
"Our original plan was to host a race for 10,000 runners, but we feel we have exactly the right balance with a flat and fast course in one of the most scenic locations in Hong Kong," said Wright.