Clinton Mackevicius claims 10km men's title at Hong Kong Marathon
Spurred on by the memory of his recently deceased mother, roving Australian architect Clinton Mackevicius stormed to victory in the 10km men's elite race.
"This was for my mum, who passed away last week," said Mackevicius after repelling the challenge from last year's champion, top Hong Kong runner Chan Ka-ho, to emerge with a winning time of 31 minutes and 54 seconds.
"It is slow by Australian standards. Back home many people run it in 28 minutes. But I'm pleased. I have been coming to Hong Kong on and off for the past three years and to win this prestigious race is a huge honour," Mackevicius said.
The growing profile of the Hong Kong Marathon has made this a target in Australia, according to Mackevicius, who finished 39 seconds in front of Chan. In third place was Stefano Passarello with a time of 32:48.
"A number of my mates decided to take part in this event - they are running in the marathon - so I also decided to go for it [10km]. The decision was made easier as my girlfriend lives here. But though I won, it is certainly not my best time."
A total of 38,000 runners entered the 10km race, which had six starts. Mackevicius, 34, dominated the race on the Island Eastern Corridor from the outset but had to push hard in the latter stages.
"It was very windy, especially over the first five kilometres and I had an extremely slow time at the turnaround," said Mackevicius. A better back stretch enabled the former Australian athletic representative - a winner of the 1,500m gold medal at the 2001 East Asian Games in Osaka - to take control and then complete victory.
He left local ace Chan in his wake. Chan admitted he was never in with a chance. "It looked as if he was having a training run over the first five kilometres before he went for it. It was difficult trying to keep up," said Chan, a regular participant at the event.
"I have run for the past 11 years. I have done the full marathon three times, the half-marathon seven times and now this is my third 10-kilometre race. I won it last year but had no chance today," said Chan.