Elite runners ready to brave the cold and rain in Hong Kong Marathon
Kenyan ace says racing in adverse conditions will be a new experience for him but it will not affect his performance on race day
Top runners competing in Sunday’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon remained undeterred that they might have to run in potentially the worst ever conditions for the race.
The Hong Kong Observatory has forecast cold and wet weather for Hong Kong’s biggest sporting event by participation with temperatures hitting a low of about 15 degrees on race day.
Add the rain and wind, and it could potentially be a spoiler for some 74,000 who are expected to line up for the 10k, half marathon and marathon.
But that didn’t seem to bother some of the favourites for the 42-kilometre race, who witnessed conditions for themselves at Tsim Sha Tsui’s harbourfront before meeting the press.
“This is the first time I am in Hong Kong. My friends told me it was going to be hot and sunny in Hong Kong but now it’s a different case,” said Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono, whose personal best of two hours nine minutes and 39 seconds makes him favourite in the men’s race.
“If it rains really heavily on the day, it may slow our time,” he said. “But I am still confident that I would win if I can keep my strength throughout the race. I am prepared, I think bad weather or the ups-and-downs [elevated] course will not affect me.”
One of Cherono’s biggest threat in the IAAF Gold Label – the HK Marathon has been given Gold Label status for the first time – is Gemada Feyera, who won the Hong Kong Marathon two years ago.
The Ethiopian ace also arrived in Hong Kong but said he was unclear whether he would be fit to run because of a nagging injury.
“I missed last year’s race because of injuries. I have a bad right knee. If I am okay on the day, I really want to run. It’s fifty-fifty,” said Fevera.
In the women’s race, Letebrhan Haylay Gebreselasea, also from Ethiopia, is one of the favourites to win.
She finished fourth last year and was unperturbed by the weather, saying: “I might wear a track suit during the race,” she said.