Keen rivalry between defending champion Yiu Kit-ching and American Michelle Lowry produced a thrilling race and fast times in the Asics 10km Challenge at Tin Shui Wai yesterday, with Yiu winning the women's race by just four seconds.
Yiu ran a tactical race and sat on Lowry's heels for most of the 10km. After the turnaround point at 5km, Yiu began to inject surges in the pace to which Lowry was able to respond and stay just ahead, until the final push to the finish line.
"I knew I had to shake her off before the 8km if I was to have any chance of winning," said Lowry. "Kit-ching is younger and intrinsically faster than me, and I may have been in the lead but she was in control of the race the whole way."
Yiu, a 24-year-old nurse, was delighted to make this her fourth consecutive victory in this race, and with a time of 36 minutes and 34 seconds, which is close to her best of 36:23, set at Disneyland last year.
Both women are now targeting marathons. Yiu has won an invitation to the Osaka International Marathon, but admits she will not be chasing a serious time for her debut appearance over the 42km distance.
Lowry, 35, and with a marathon best time of 2:50, is considering making this her final serious season competitive race and will be heading to the Boston Marathon next April, after warming up in the Hong Kong Marathon in February.
In the men's race, Gi ka-man made a successful defence of his title. Gi was happy to sit with a breakaway group to the halfway mark at the head of the 6,000-strong field, and was controlling the pace with Stefano Passarello and triathlete Ivan Lo Ching-hin. Gi applied a change of pace after the turnaround point that saw him leave his challengers in his wake, and he came home in a good time of 32:31, almost one minute ahead of Lo (33:28) and Passarello (33:39).