Veteran Clinton Mackevicius holds off young bucks
Australian, 35, marks one-year anniversary of mother's death with successful defence of title
It took just 32 minutes and 22 seconds for an emotional Clinton Mackevicius to mark the one-year anniversary of his mother's death by retaining the overall title in the men's 10 kilometre race.
"It was nice to come back and defend my title as it was also a special day for me," said Mackevicius.
It was more than two minutes slower than his winning time last year, but the Australian was still pleased that at 35 he was able to hold off "the talented young bucks in Hong Kong".
Hong Kong youngsters Ivan Lo Ching-hin and Donald Mak Yun-leung pushed Mackevicius hard, but he had too much experience to give up his title.
"There is so much talent around here and I came up against a few this morning. It is nice to think that I can still hold my own," laughed Mackevicius.
"But my time was slower today due to the conditions, which were very windy."
Triathlete Lo pushed Mackevicius all the way after former national triathlete Daniel Lee Chi-wo led for the first three kilometres. Lo finished second overall in 32:59; Mak was third in 33:07, while Lee faded to finish sixth in 33:21.
Hong Kong's showpiece event was a good excuse for Lo to return home.
Lo, who will spearhead Hong Kong's bid for a triathlon medal at September's Asian Games in Incheon, is based in New Zealand where he is training, but made a quick visit to test himself in the run category.
"I have been based in Christchurch for the past six weeks, but decided to come home for this race. I'm returning on Tuesday and it is nice to finish second behind a guy like Clinton, who is obviously a very experienced runner," Lo said.
Apart from missing home-cooked food, Lo also has to undergo other tribulations while training in New Zealand. Two years ago, he was in Christchurch when the 7.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the city forcing him to "jump out of the window".
He experienced another one recently - "nothing compared to the last one" - but feels his overseas stay is paying off.
"I'm a much stronger runner now and this will help me in my triathlon. Winning a medal is crucial this year at the Asian Games and I'm happy at my progress," said the 25-year-old Lo.
Despite the buffeting wind on the Island Eastern Corridor course, Mackevicius set a fast pace with Lo hanging on.
"I accelerated past him at the five kilometre mark and led for the next two kilometres, but he overtook me after that and pulled away. He was too strong in the end," Lo said.
Mak, a City University of Hong Kong student, was happy despite finishing a second slower than last year.
"I run just as a hobby and as such I'm happy to finish third fastest. I had hoped to improve my time, but just failed. I had never run faster than 33:07 this year, so in that sense I'm pleased," said the 21-year-old.