A top Hong Kong Marathon official has called for the public to be more sensitive to the needs of runners at next week's showpiece following moves by the government to clamp down on noise levels at major races.
Kwan Kee, chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, said yesterday that the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon would once again implement stringent rules to reduce noise pollution especially at the start of the popular 10-kilometre races, which this year have drawn a record 38,000 participants.
"But we have to respect others [the public] and not make too much of a noise. People will still be sleeping when our first races get underway and we will have to remember that. A balance must be struck but we hope the public can also be tolerant towards us," Kwan said.
Last week, organisers of the annual Fat Choi Run at The Peak told the 900 runners who had turned up to keep noise levels down. Organisers of that race stated that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department had made restricting noise levels during the 7.5-kilometre race a prerequisite towards granting permission for the race to go ahead in the future.
"But we cannot say it is wrong. We will have more than 30,000 people running along the Island Eastern Corridor next Sunday and we will try to keep noise levels down. There will be signs placed prominently to tell the runners that, our public announcement systems will be facing towards the sea, there won't be any firecrackers at the start of the race and neither will there be a starting gun," Kwan said.
More than 72,000 people have entered this year's race, the largest number being in the 10km event, which will have five starts, the earliest at 5.30am. A record 13,500 runners will take part in the marathon, while 20,500 have entered the half-marathon, both of which will start on Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. There will also be 35 entries in the three-kilometre wheelchair race. All the races will end at Victoria Park.