No more runners – Hong Kong Marathon to limit entries to 74,000

Thousands of runners are expected to miss out again with the annual quota remaining the same for 2018, say organisers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2017, 7:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2017, 10:53pm

Thousands are expected to miss out from taking part in next year’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon after organisers decided not to increase the quota of runners, limiting the city’s biggest participatory annual event to 74,000 participants.

Organisers said more runners would not be allowed to take part in next year’s race with the 74,000 runner ceiling remaining the same as this year under the same three categories: marathon, half marathon and 10-kilometre run.

Registration for the January 21 event begins on Wednesday and closes on September 6, with results from the public ballot to be announced on September 21.

Almost 110,000 fans registered for the 2017 event but more than 30,000 applicants were rejected after the ballot, introduced for the first time in the event’s 21-year history under the same title sponsor.

“We cannot predict the final registration number but yes, a certain number of people would be disappointed if there are similar registration numbers for 2018,” said organising committee chairman William Ko Wai-lam on Tuesday.

“This is not what we want. As organisers, we always want more people to join and enjoy the marathon, but there is little we can do because we will be using the same route for the 2018 event and the duration of the event remains the same.

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“Of course, we can accommodate more fans if we had a better route or if we extended the event’s time span, but neither is easy to do. Hong Kong is a small area and it’s difficult to find another ideal 42.196-kilometre route that can be attractive to both runners and the organisers. If we want to extend the event’s duration, we need approval from authorities and also need to double the number of working staff, which at the moment stands at 2,000.”

Ko said they might review the situation if more people registered with the event.

However, marathon runners received some good news with organisers adding 1,000 more entries from this year, which reached 18,500. But the additional numbers came at the expense of the half marathon, which will be reduced to 20,500 entries.

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The 10km run remains at 35,000 and there will also be 20 entries for the 10km wheelchair race.

A new category will be set up under the 10km run a team event for two to eight runners, allowing for a maximum of 1,000 entries. No repetition for team and individual registration will be allowed.

Priority entries will be given if the runner meets a certain standard in the designated races to be held between January 2016 and July 2017.

The marathon and half marathon will both start along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, while the 10km run will still take place along the Island Eastern Corridor. The finish line for all races will remain at Victoria Park.