Defending men's champion Chan Ka-ho threw caution to the wind in claiming victory in the 10km Hong Kong Cross-Country Championship at Wan Tsai in Sai Kung Country Park yesterday. Last year the 22-year-old student retained his crown without taking a step as the event was cancelled due to a typhoon signal. Yesterday he was content to let Tsuen Wan AC teammate Gi Ka-man set the pace for the first two 2.5km laps before stepping on the gas and taking the lead as the field began to wilt in the oppressive heat. Chan clocked 38 minutes for his successful defence while Gi came in 43 seconds adrift. 'Before the race I decided to run hard on the downhill sections,' said Chan, who also won the 10km Chung Hing Cup in August. 'It was a risky decision as the trail was very uneven on parts of the downhill sections and there were a lot of loose rocks in places.' Gi was nursing a month-long ankle injury yesterday, so challenging Chan on the steep downhill sections was never part of the plan. Road runner Kirk Sabean (39:04) was placed third overall in the men's event and won the men's senior's category ahead of marathon runner Gunnar Rethfeldt (40:12). Former British international cross-country runner Bob Shorrock was a creditable third in 40:36. Leung Ying-suet placed first as expected in the women's 10km race while Rachel Sproston ran a well-paced race to finish in second overall and to beat Chan Kit-yee into third. Leung, 26, crossed the line in 46:11 to Sproston's 47:44. Chan came home in 48:50.