Yiu Kit-ching sets race record for Chung Hing Cup
The downpour that began just after the start of the Chung Hing Cup proved to be something of a bonus for Tommy S.Y. Lam.
Lam was not one of the 1,100 runners taking part in the 13th staging of the popular 10km event near Tsuen Wan, but one of 12 St John Ambulance members on duty to deal with various kinds of injury and mishap.
The boom in running has seen the number of athletic events expand rapidly over the past five years, with more competitions being staged in the hot summer months.
Events at this time of year often result in competitors ending up in hospital due to dehydration and heat stroke. However, yesterday's storm brought the temperature down to a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius, and no one succumbed to heat-related problems, although there were a few scraped knees and twisted ankles.
"In total, there are about 6,000 members of the St John in Hong Kong, including cadets, and most of us are volunteers," said Lam, a probationary ambulance officer with 20 years experience.
"Headquarters decides where we go each week, but with so many events to cover we could certainly use some new recruits. Today we also have to cover badminton, baseball and football events across the New Territories, and our Hong Kong Island and Kowloon divisions are also at full stretch."
Li Ho-tung, organiser of the Chung Hing Cup, said medical response facilities had to be guaranteed to be able to obtain a police permit to allow the race to go ahead
"We have a good relationship with St John because we are professional race organisers and we can provide them with the facilities they need to carry out their duties," Li said.
"The rain was helpful in cooling down the temperature this morning but it also brought on some new challenges because water pooled on some parts of the route and made it narrower.
"This led to some pushing and shoving, and one runner even called the police with his mobile phone to complain about another runner blocking him and not letting him past.
"As such, a police car arrived with sirens wailing, and two officers then drove off down the race route to sort out the situation.
"We also get quite a few runners from Shenzhen competing in our events as there are not many events staged over the border. This morning we had local runners complaining that the mainland runners were not disciplined and would not allow faster runners to overtake them."
Yiu Kit-ching took full advantage of the cooler conditions to knock 16 seconds off the women's course record set last year by Taiwan's You Ya-jyun.
Yiu crossed the line in 38 minutes and four seconds, 22 seconds ahead of Australian Jane Richards, who moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai just four months ago.
Taiwan's Chang Jui-sheng won the men's race in the modest time of 34:53.