Ngai Kang could not hold back his tears after finishing highest in the HKAAA registered men’s category of runners at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday. Twelve months after beginning a full-time training career, Ngai showed how much he has developed as he completed the course from Tsim Sha Tsui to Victoria Park. “This is only my third marathon and I am so grateful I can continue with such a convincing result,” said the 24 year-old. “Last year, no one took notice of me until I burst to the final, but it was a lot more difficult this time. “The pressure was piling up as I kept thinking throughout the race if I could maintain the same result. Fortunately it happened, but only after a long and tough battle with my two colleagues.” Can the Hong Kong Marathon be a fun run? Depends what you’re wearing Ngai and his two Hong Kong counterparts, Tsui Chi-kin and Wan Cheuk-hei, were in fierce contention for the best local runner title and eventually Ngai fenced off their challenge to finish in two hours, 31 minutes and 30 seconds. Tsui was second in 2:32.29, while third place went to Wan in 2:32.35. The result took more than a minute off Ngai’s 2017 record when he finished behind veteran runner Stenfano Passarello in 2:32.39, putting Ngai in second place among Hong Kong runners but first of local Chinese. He ran only his second marathon in November after he was selected to represent Hong Kong at the Asian Championship in Dongguan, China. Ngai finished in 15th place at the regional championship in 2:30.08, the best result among his three marathons, but the China course was different. As easy as 1-2-3? Chinese runners fill the podium for both men’s and women’s half at Hong Kong Marathon “I am still new to marathon running and there is plenty of room for improvement,” he said. “The victory, and the result will also boost my confidence as I prepare for the Asian Games this summer and qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Games.” There is no qualification required for the Asian Games but Ngai still needs to prove to the governing bodies he has a genuine medal chance, while qualification for the Tokyo Games starts in early 2019. “My 15th place at the Asian Championship may not be good enough to earn me a berth at the Asian Games and I still need to work hard,” he said. The best local women’s runner was Natasha Wong Tsz-yan, who topped the standings with a time of 2:55.18. The 22 year-old, who finished November’s Asian Championship in 2:49:54, said the high humidity affected her performance.