The Hong Kong Island 10K City Race will go ahead this weekend in an event organisers say would test the waters for next year’s Hong Kong Marathon, the annual showpiece which in danger of being cancelled because of the social unrest that has rocked the city. The middle distance race, which will take place in Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and the Island Eastern Corridor on Sunday, covers part of the routes reserved for the annual marathon showpiece scheduled for February 9. “It can give us a reference [to the next year’s Hong Kong Marathon] as Sundays’ race will take place along some of the marathon routes on Island side,” said Hong Kong Amateur Athletics Association executive director Dennis Ng Yu-ho. “Of course, the scale of this weekend’s race is small compared to the marathon. If Sunday’s race can be completed without any major hiccups, we can have more confidence staging more events after that.” The official said the annual marathon showpiece was on schedule to take place even though Hong Kong has been shaken to its core by the anti-government protests for the past six months. “There are many considerations [needed for staging the marathon]. We’ll have to examine them as we approach the event date but everything is on schedule according to our plan,” he said. I’m relieved the World Cup is all over, says Sarah Lee after Hong Kong leg ends without incident The 10K City Race, the third race of its kind after making its debut in 2017, has attracted around 3,400 runners, about half of the number of participants who took part from the event’s first race. Competitors will race through a similar route for the 2019 race. “We can’t explain the reason why there’s been a reduced number in the number of participants,” said Simon Yeung Sai-mo, HKAAA senior vice-chairman and chairman of the organising committee of the 10K race. “But there are more long distance events being organised these days for runners to choose from. Our aim is always to provide more competitions so that more people can enjoy running.” The 10K race will start at the Convention Avenue in Wan Chai at 7.45am. Runners will pass through Marsh Road Flyover to Lockhart Road, Hennessy Road, Yee Wo Street, Island Eastern Corridor and return to Wan Chai. The race is expected to be completed in an hour. Road closures will begin at 2am on the morning of the race and traffic will reopen at 10.45am. Yeung said safety of the participants was top of their priorities. However, he doesn’t see the race being affected by the ongoing protests. “We start early in the morning and will finish it in an hour. There shouldn’t be any trouble as we had a similar 10K race in Tin Shui Wai in late October which took place in a more sensitive environment but it was completed smoothly,” said Yeung. “But if something unpredictable happens such as the sudden closure of Wan Chai MTR station to stop the runners from coming, we can’t do anything [about it] but call off the event.” Hong Kong player Lee Cheuk-yiu earns plaudits for ‘protest’ gesture at Hong Kong Open Yeung also said runners can race in any costume they wished so long as their identification number is properly displayed. The Civil Human Rights Front will stage a human rights rally at Victoria Park at 3pm but Yeung said the race will finish in Wan Chai “long before that” and are not expecting any problems. Special traffic and transport arrangements for the race can be found in the Transport Department website.