ATHLETICS

Hong Kong ultra-runners to race 50km through streets of Central ... well, street to be exact

Runners taking part in ultramarathon will lap a stretch 25 times to complete 50km

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 February, 2015, 10:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 February, 2015, 9:31am

Runners will pound out an ultramarathon through the streets of Central next month ... well, street to be exact: participants have to go up and down a 1km-long section of Lung Wo Road 25 times for the 50km race.

Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association chairman Kwan Kee defended a route that seems somewhat monotonous: runners will start near IFC Two and head to the other end of Lung Wo Road near Citic Tower, then go back ... and forward ... and back ... and forward ...

"Using laps in ultramarathon races is common in other countries," said Kwan, who added that the race was just the starting point for ultra-distance races in the city, with 100km a long-term goal.

The HKAAA has long struggled to establish an attractive route through Hong Kong's streets for its flagship race, the Standard Chartered Marathon, and future ultramarathons seem unlikely to break that trend for now with road closures still proving to be a thorny issue.

"Given the difficulty to arrange closure of roads of that length, we will possibly make improvements by increasing the length of each lap in coming years," said Kwan.

The 50km race, co-organised by Rotary International District 3450, will be held on March 1, with a Rotary carnival at Tamar Park.

More than 300 runners have registered for the individual race while hundreds more would take part in the team relay said the HKAAA, with a limit for the first year of 1,000.

"This race is the first trial of this distance organised by our association," said Kwan, "Most of the runners applied through their running clubs. They should be well-trained and we will see if they can adapt to the distance."

Veteran and former champion cyclist Hung Chung-yam, 52, and half-marathon junior record holder Nestor Wong Wai-chung are the biggest names in the event.