Philippe Cosentino survived hot and humid conditions and a roller coaster of a course to lead home the 600 runners in the Clearwater Bay Annual Chase in Sai Kung yesterday. In doing so the Frenchman, who moved to Hong Kong two years ago, went four places better than last year by recording his first-ever win in a local road race, with a time of 38 minutes and two seconds. 'I think the other runners either forgot to wake up or just failed to turn up today,' said Cosentino, 32, who teaches French and Spanish at West Island School in Pokfulam. 'I found myself leading the race but I didn't really know what to do should I increase the pace or should I ease off? I just kept going.' The 10km race, which started and finished at Clearway Bay Marina, is well known among local runners as having one of the toughest courses, with energy-sapping hills almost from beginning to end. Women's race winner Charlotte Cutler was delighted with her win but vowed she would not return to defend her title next year. 'That was probably the hardest 10km race I've ever run,' Cutler said. 'It was certainly character-building stuff, but I can't see myself doing it again next year.' She ran 41.09 to win by just over a minute from training partner Jane Hodgskin. A 1km kids fun run also took place after the start of the main race with almost 100 toddlers taking part. Charitable proceeds from the event went to the Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF), and the club selected the slogan Run for the Earth to get their message across. Clearwater Bay Country Club committee chairman Casam Li said that rather than raise lots of money for the WWF, the club was trying to raise people's awareness of environmental issues. 'The number of people taking part in the race grows year by year, and so we appealed to the runners to become more aware of the need to protect the environment,' Mr Li said.