Benson lifts Mount Butler Race trophy despite finishing second

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 4:32am

Defending champion Darren Benson took home the winner's trophy in yesterday's 37th staging of the HKDRC-Asics Mount Butler Race, despite placing second to Chan Ka-ho.

This anomaly occurred because Chan, who crossed the finish line in 57 minutes and 11 seconds for the 15-kilometre event, had entered the team competition and, as a result, was not eligible for the overall first prize.

Benson crossed the line in 57:39, more than two minutes slower than his winning time of last year.

"I think it's slightly odd that the overall winner doesn't get to take home the first prize," said Benson. "As far as I'm concerned he won the race and I came second, so it doesn't feel right that I should take home the winner's trophy."

Benson has notched up several distance race victories over the past couple of years, including a number of adventure race wins, as well as victory in the gruelling China Coast Marathon.

He failed in his bid to break the 2:30 mark in the Tokyo Marathon last month, coming home in a disappointing 2:33, but was looking forward to defending his title at Wong Nai Chung Gap yesterday, and was leading Chan until the latter part of the race.

"The Mount Butler Race is actually my favourite race in Hong Kong," added the 37-year-old Australian commercial property consultant. "It's a very challenging course, but is run through some of the most spectacular scenery in Hong Kong.

"My preparation for the race got slightly side-tracked as I went to the Sevens on Friday night, and although I aimed to be home by 10pm I ended up in Lan Kwai Fong and eventually got home at 3am.

"I stayed at home yesterday as it would have been far too aggressive to go back to the rugby, but I will certainly be there this afternoon to see the final."

Chan's girlfriend, Yiu Kit-ching, romped home to victory the women's race in a modest time of 1:05:50, and was followed home by Clare Chapman, who clocked 1:10:44.