Shorter is sweeter for Mabel Lui as she salutes in Hong Kong 10km Challenge

The 24-year-old posts a personal best time while defending champion Wang Kun takes out the men’s race ahead of former winner Gi Ka-man

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 7:21pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 10:41pm

Mabel Lui Wai-man was thinking only about the challenges of her new job when the starter’s gun brought the Asics Hong Kong 10km Challenge to life at Tin Shui Wai on Sunday, but just 39 minutes and six seconds later she crossed the line in a personal best time to celebrate her first ever race victory.

The 24-year-old from Choi Hung recently started work as a PE teacher in Wong Tai Sin, where she also teaches English and general studies.

“My preferred distance is the half marathon, but having recently started working full time I’m a little bit stressed out and I don’t have the time to train, so I changed to the 10km distance,” Lui said.

Lui commented that she was simply aiming to break the 40-minute mark, but said she didn’t expect to win the race as her personal best time for the distance previously stood at 39:46.

She said she now plans to run the same distance in the Standard Chartered Marathon event next spring, but predicted that she would need to run at least three minutes faster to win that race too.

Celebrations for Sunday’s race, which featured a whopping 6,000 runners, were somewhat short-lived as Lui had to go home to mark exam papers.

“I’ve got lots of marking to do, and I also need to set homework for tomorrow’s lessons,” she said. “I don’t really have time to celebrate.”

Tong Ka-ying (39:33) and Vut Tsz-ying (39:52) placed second and third in the women’s race, and along with Lui were the only female athletes to break the 40-minute mark.

Former champion Gi Ka-man did not quite have enough in the tank to overhaul defending men’s champion Wang Kun, but was pleased enough with his runner-up comeback performance after numerous injuries to his leg to say that he is on track to hit his target time of 2:30 in next month’s Fukuoka Marathon.

“It’s been a long time since I was pain free so it was really good to enjoy the race today,” said Gi, who won here in both 2011 (32:29) and 2012 (32:31).

At that time Gi also set Hong Kong records for the 15km distance (48:15) and the half marathon (1:06:39), both of which he still holds today.

At 31 Gi still has the opportunity to run fast times and to set more records, if only he can remain injury free.

His time of 33 minutes yesterday was 26 seconds behind Wang, who lives and works in Macau.