Organisers of the Sun Hung Kai Properties 10K Championships have yet to receive official government approval, but racers have already flocked to register for the January 2023 race, with Challenge group runners already oversubscribed. The annual event was cancelled in August after last-minute Covid-19 restrictions limited the number of runners to 500 just days before the event. A total of 3,000 slots have now been targeted for the race in Tin Shui Wai on January 8, with 500 reserved for elite runners in the Challenger group. Organisers received more than 550 applicants between November 11 and 15, with the best 500 to be accepted on their submitted results. Non-Challenge group registrations will begin on Tuesday. “We opened the entry application for the Challenge race last week, though we are still waiting for Department of Health approval,” Dennis Ng Yu-ho, executive director of Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates (HKAAA), said. “We spoke with the relevant government parties since October, and they verbally said no problem. We hope they can confirm with us within this month, our main concern is the 500 runner restriction can be lifted,” Ng said. The race will start with 500 elite runners from 7:30am, followed by a non-Challenge group in a rolling group format between 7:35 and 8:00am with 500 runners in each group. With relaxed measures seen at recent events including the Hong Kong Masters snooker tournament and the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Ng was “optimistic” the event would go ahead as planned. Hong Kong to host Asian windsurfing championships next month “To be safe, we do not involve any transaction on the registration fees at the moment. We will proceed with it once we get black-and-white from the government,” Ng said. Covid-19 prevented the race from taking place in 2020 and just 1,500 runners took part last year, compared to 6,000 in 2019. All participants must meet the most recent Vaccine Pass requirements and take the HKAAA-approved PCR test within 48 hours of the race. Runners must also perform a Rapid Antigen Test on race day. Crystal Vut Tsz-ying, the defending women’s champion, confirmed her participation and expressed her desire to “run her best” in the January event. “It will be my first competition in 2023, and it will also give me a good chance to test my training in the months leading up to the Hong Kong Marathon in February,” said Vut, a primary schoolteacher who will also run the Standard Chartered half marathon. Vincent Lam, who won the Hong Kong Half Marathon Challenge last month, has also confirmed his participation in the Hong Kong 10K.