Nurse Christy Yiu claims women's half-marathon in Hong Kong
Nurse reveals how adequate rest ahead of the race helped her cement a hat-trick of titles
Christy Yiu Kit-ching made it a hat-trick of victories in the women's half-marathon but still walked from the course shaking her head and claiming she had got her race plan wrong.
"I'm not really as happy as I should be," said Yiu, who won in a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 47 seconds. "I wanted to beat 1:20, so I went out and I was aggressive from the start. But I just went too fast at the beginning and that affected my time at the end. I was getting tired."
Yiu's comments reveal the kind of fierce determination that has made her one of the city's top runners and the 25-year-old certainly wasn't outwardly showing any ill effects as she crossed the line ahead of Hong Kong-based Australian Jane Hodgskin (1:25:11) and Hong Kong's Sarah Cheung Hoi-wah (1:25:57).
"I'm still happy - I am always happy when I win - but I really could have done better," said Yiu, whose finishing time was the third-fastest she had run for the distance - and the third time in a row she had won the event after victories in 2011 and 2012.
Yiu, who spends her working hours as a nurse, revealed she had taken a week's annual leave surrounding the event - and she had used it wisely.
"I have been getting plenty of sleep," she said. "Being a nurse means I work shifts so sometimes it is hard to properly prepare for events. So I got a lot of rest and I hope I can get some more now as we had an early start this morning."
While the women's half-marathon runners hit the road in darkness at around 6am when conditions were cool, Yiu said the field didn't have everything go their way. "When we hit the last five kilometres we ran right into a wind, a big wind," said Yiu. "It made it difficult. We had just come up the hill and straight into the wind. But everyone faced it. We are all out there running in the same conditions."
Yiu has been in the thick of the finishes throughout the local road racing series this season - in particular through her rivalry with Michelle Lowry as the pair swap first- and second-place finishes - and the Pacers Athletic Club runner said she had been working on amping up her fitness levels with an eye on the East Asian Games in Tianjin in October.
Yiu provided plenty of thrills for local fans as Hong Kong hosted the 2009 East Asian Games, picking up bronze medals in both the 1,500m and the 3,000m steeplechase but said she was a totally different athlete coming in to the 2013 edition.
"I was very young back then and I have learned a lot over these past years," said Yiu. "You learn from experience and from racing. This time I'll be focusing on the 3,000 steeplechase and it's a very different event. You have to develop a completely different technique to get over the jumps and the training is different to other event - you have to be stronger.
"But I am feeling confident about my running and today will give me confidence that I can be ready when October comes."
For the past 12 months, Yiu has been leading by example, alongside partner and fellow runner Chan Ka-ho (who finished second in yesterday's 10km event), after the couple formed their own running club, called Love and Care.
"We get together with people and teach them how to run faster, how to keep fit and how to avoid injury," said Yiu. "You can see here today that there are more and more people who want to run in Hong Kong and people are looking at fitness more so we wanted to help."