There is no surer sign that Hong Kong is moving beyond the Covid-19 pandemic than the resumption of major sporting events. The running of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon and associated races on Sunday marks an important moment for the city. Apart from being a joyous, uplifting occasion for participants and spectators, it represents the normality lacking since restrictions were imposed 20 months ago. If the measures continue to quickly catch and quash cases, there is every reason to expect a greater pace of reopening. The annual marathon was cancelled last year due to the pandemic and it is back with tight restrictions. For the first time since 1997, there will be no overseas runners and the number of participants has been reduced by 75 per cent from 2019 levels to 18,500. Those competing have to be fully vaccinated, test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of running and wear a mask before and after their event. The requirements are stricter than those for the recently held London and Boston marathons, being in keeping with Hong Kong’s zero-tolerance approach to the coronavirus. A trouble-free running of the marathon, half-marathon and 10km events would offer hope for other postponed events. Organisers of the Cyclothon, the city’s biggest cycling festival, plan its return next month, and those behind the cross-harbour swim are in talks with officials for a December 12 comeback. The rugby sevens, to have been held from November 5 to 7 but postponed for a second year running, have been rescheduled for April 1 to 3. Beyond sports, the book fair was held in July with 830,000 visitors and seven trade fairs will take place simultaneously with half the usual capacity from next Wednesday. Hong Kong Marathon prize fund slashed, with no overseas runners Hong Kong’s vaccination rate is approaching 70 per cent and there has been only one confirmed local infection for two months. Physical activity is important for health and mental well-being and especially so during the pandemic due to the listlessness, stress, anxiety and depression the restrictions have caused for some Hongkongers. Tough quarantine requirements mean most are reluctant to travel out of the city. Resuming major local sporting and recreational events provides an invaluable outlet; authorities should do their best to enable their return.