Runners training for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in February are clocking record times thanks to the Highways Department's apparent Run Fast Or Die programme, a campaign not to get Hong Kongers fit. Some of the measures the department has taken include: Bowen Road's assault course. New barriers make footpaths impossibly narrow. Passing runners must vault barriers, building often neglected upper body strength. The new barriers also make the road too narrow. Runners must sprint to avoid being knocked down, improving acceleration and stamina. Improve agility at Bisney Road. New crash barriers with bolts and other pointy bits exposed on the foothpath-side improve dodging and weaving skills. Prepare for the unexpected at the cyberport. The lights are usually out. The uneven footpath dissolves into gravel. Huge and low road signs require limbo-like skills. Cross train from the University of Hong Kong to Queen Mary Hospital where contractors have erected signs saying: 'Pedestrians please use the opposite pavement' - on both sides of the dual carriageway. One runner, breathless and trembling, thanked the Highways Department yesterday: 'On the foothpath, it used to take me seven minutes from Wah Fu to the top of Pokfulam Hill. Now that I have to run in the path of oncoming buses, I can do it in six.'