Standard Chartered chief executive Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng yesterday called on 7.2 million people to embrace the Hong Kong Marathon , saying small opposing minorities with big voices would soon be silenced - and even "embarrassed" - by a city on the run. With a marathon bursting at the seams and restrictions on road closures and opposition to route changes, only small improvements have been made for today's 19th edition of the event, including Hennessy Road being used for the finishing burst to Victoria Park. But Hung believes the "tipping point" has been reached where the "pros" outweigh the "cons" and the marathon will eventually establish itself as an iconic street circuit - "the best in Asia and one of the best in the world". This is something magical and I don't think people realise what an asset we have ...and whether we are leveraging it enough Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng "Hong Kong people can dictate to a great extent the future of the path it takes," he said. "But there is growing recognition and a growing part of the population want it to be bigger and better. When application quotas [for 73,000 spots] are filled in three to four hours that sends a powerful message. "This is something magical and I don't think people realise what an asset we have - or we collectively have - and whether we are leveraging it enough. "The government will be guided by the sentiment of Hong Kong. The government and police have done a lot, but more can be done. And I'm optimistic," said Hung, who was one of the event's creators 19 years ago. He admitted there were still "tension points" where the marathon intruded on people's lives and was a "nuisance", but they were trying to educate everyone - especially "the little old lady who has to go shopping for groceries in Causeway Bay or TST" - to look at the event through a "different lens". "Small minorities get a disproportionate amount of voice. This is a rare event that can bond people together. "It's a marathon for Hong Kong and I hope Hong Kong recognises this as a unique opportunity. But it's up to us how to make this event bigger and better. At the end of the day there are trade-offs," he said. Bigger is having more runners by convincing authorities to open the roads for longer. Better is adding a carnival-like atmosphere with music and entertainment for fans. Hong Kong people can dictate to a great extent the future of the path [the marathon] takes Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng But above all is the desired change in route, allowing the marathon to take in Hong Kong's iconic landmarks with a street circuit showcasing the city to the world. That means changing the people's DNA, their habits and lifestyles, says Hung. "Twenty years ago there was one national sport on a Saturday in Hong Kong - making money. It's in Hong Kong's DNA. In other cities in the world, sport is a core part of peoples' lives when it comes to Saturdays and Sundays. Life converges around a sporting event. In Hong Kong, it's about eating and shopping. "But we have created a convergence point with the marathon. And I simply don't think there is any event where people converge like this. Life converges around a sporting event. In Hong Kong, it's about eating and shopping Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng "It is a positive thing, it's a physical thing, it's a spiritual thing, it is a mental thing and it is also the best kind of atmosphere for Hong Kong, which we so lack. "Hong Kong is a very vibrant can-do place, but we manage ourselves into becoming our biggest enemies sometimes by being negative, being critical. "The marathon spirit is a unique blend that we should be leveraging because Hong Kong needs positivity."