Unicef charity run raises over HK$9 million for expectant mothers
Kenyan Kiprotich wins the men's half marathon event while American Lowry claims the women's
Charity was the big winner at the Unicef Half Marathon and 10km race yesterday with more than HK$9 million raised to buy Aids testing equipment for mothers-to-be in the developing world.
The record amount of cash was matched by a record number of runners - in excess of 13,200 - for the seventh staging of the event, which took place at Hong Kong Disneyland, on Lantau Island.
A host of celebrities and politicians were drafted in by the organisers, including Chinese volleyball star Zhao Ruirui and Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who handed out souvenirs to people, most of whom didn't actually compete in the event.
A perfect temperature for distance running was offset by heavy rain as the first of the five starts for the 21.1-km run got under way in total darkness at 6.15am.
Thomas Kiprotich claimed his fifth straight victory in the men's race in a time of one hour, 12 minutes and one second, finishing a whopping three minutes clear of second-placed Wun Yiu-cheong. Chan Kwok-hang placed third overall in 1:16:14.
The Kenyan athlete complained of feeling unwell before the race but showed few signs of illness once the starter's gun brought the race to life.
Michelle Lowry won the women's event, ignoring the soggy and sometimes windy conditions to post a personal best time for the half marathon of 1:19:44. And as if tackling 21.1kms in the rain wasn't enough for one day, the American runner then switched race numbers and went back to the start line to compete in the 3km fun run with her three children.
"I'm absolutely thrilled with a lifetime best today, particularly in the wet and windy conditions," Lowry, 35, said. "I could have done without the 3km fun run with the boys, however!"
Chow Chi-ngan also posted a personal best time of 1:22:51 in finishing second in the women's race, and was followed home in third by veteran runner Angelina Kong, who crossed the line in 1:27:27.
Defending champion Gi Ka-man retained his title in the men's elite 10km event in a slightly quicker time (32:52) than he ran in last year's warm and dry conditions.
Stefano Passarello came in second, more than a minute adrift of Gi, while Brendan Kean placed third in 33:59.
In the absence of defending champion Yiu Kit-ching, who was on international marathon duty in Osaka, Mok Chi-ling claimed her first major road race victory by winning the women's 10km in 40:28.