Hong Kong Marathon

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Hong Kong Marathon
Hong Kong Marathon in West Kowloon, 2007
Date January / February
Location Hong Kong
Event type Road
Distance Marathon, Half marathon and 10 km
Primary sponsor Standard Chartered Bank
Established 1997
Official site Hong Kong Marathon

The Hong Kong Marathon (香港馬拉松), sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, is an annual marathon race held in January or February in Hong Kong. In addition to the full marathon, a 10 km run and a half marathon are also held. Around 70,000 runners take part each year across all events.

High levels of humidity and a difficult course make finishing times for the Hong Kong Marathon comparatively slower than other large marathons. The course records were both set in 2012 by Ethiopians: Dejere Abera has the men's record of 2:11:27 hours while Misiker Demissie holds the women's record of 2:30:12 hours.[1]

Hong Kong Marathon was first granted as IAAF Bronze Label road race by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Year 2012 race, and it was upgraded as IAAF Silver Label road race in Year 2013 race,[2] and continued to keep this rating in Year 2014 and Year 2015 race.

The Hong Kong Marathon has hosted the Asian Marathon Championship race on four occasions (2002, 2008, 2013 and 2015).[3][4]

The (20th) Hong Kong Marathon (2016) had the first Official Theme Song of the race - Life And Marathon (人生馬拉松) sung by Hong Kong singer Eason Chan, being recorded on his newest album Getting Ready (準備中) released on July 10, 2015, and Eason was formally invited to participate on this race with being granted "Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon VIP Pass" by Standard Chartered Bank and Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association.[5]


The race traces its history back to 1997, when it was launched as the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Marathon by the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association. The route was between Sheung Shui and Shenzhen.[6] The race endured organisational difficulties due to a lack of funding and was not held from 1989 to 1991. After two further editions, the race was again suspended from 1994 to 1996.[3] Standard Chartered Bank stepped in as a title sponsor for the 1997 race and it garnered a field of 1,000 runners.[6] The relaunch of the race saw increased participation from top-level East African runners – the men's race has been won by either a Kenyan or Ethiopian runner for all but two years from 1997 to 2012.[3]

The 1998 marathon established a new course, starting at Tsing Ma Bridge and ending at the newly finished Hong Kong International Airport on Chek Lap Kok. The total entrants increased to 6,000 participants. For 1999, the race was moved to urban areas for the first time, starting in Central, ending at Sham Shui Po Sports Ground, with 7,000 participants. The route was altered again in 2000, as it started from Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, and ended at the Sham Shui Po Sports Ground. The half-marathon was added, alongside the already-existing full marathon and 10 km race.[6]

The Hong Kong Marathon in 2006, taken on West Kowloon Highway at Olympic Station. Significant air pollution was observed on that day.

In 2001 the number of participants exceeded 10,000. The race course started from Nathan Road, then out to West Kowloon, onto West Kowloon Highway, followed by Cheung Tsing Tunnel, Tsing Ma Bridge, Ting Kau Bridge, then going all the way back into Western Harbour Crossing, ending at Golden Bauhina Plaza in Wan Chai North.[6]

The race was incorporated as one of the four legs of the Standard Chartered-sponsored The Greatest Race on Earth in 2005.

In 2006 the marathon was held on 12 February, with a prize fund of US$100,000. Almost 40,000 joined the Marathon. Two fainted during the race and one died on 14 February, resulting in the competition's first fatality. Reflecting this, first-aid services were introduced for the 2007 edition, but weather conditions seriously affected the runners. A record-breaking number of 6249 participants took part, 16.7% of whom experienced injury. Hot weather sent 35 participants to hospital, including one young runner who died.[7]


In 2008 the marathon was held on 17 February, participated by some 42,000 runners, of which over 30,000 joined the 10 km event. (Originally 49,000 had signed up but 7,000 of them did not turn up.)[8]

The 10 km race took place at Island Eastern Corridor instead of Western Harbour Crossing like previous years. The race track started from City Garden in North Point, and ran eastwards until Shau Kei Wan, where it made a U-turn, back along westbound IEC and ended at Victoria Park, near the western terminus of the IEC. Due to the proximity of Island Eastern Corridor from residential blocks such as those at City Garden, and also the early starting time of the races (05:10 to 06:40), residents complained about noises as loud as 60dB. The organizer, however, stated that it hopes to use IEC again for the 2009 Marathon, since it successfully alleviated the problem of large numbers of runners rushing into Western Harbour Crossing, which made breathing difficult within the tunnel. The new route was welcomed by the participants, saying that it was better than the old one.[8][9][10]

The full and half marathon's race tracks remained generally the same, starting from Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, then going out to West Kowloon using Austin Road, followed by West Kowloon Highway and Tsing Kwai Highway, where half-marathoners turn back. Full-marathoners continue through Cheung Ching Tunnel, then do a return trip each on Tsing Ma Bridge and Ting Kau Bridge. Competitors then ran back all the way to West Kowloon, joining half-marathoners again at Kwai Chung, and into Western Harbour Crossing. The finishing point, however, was changed to Victoria Park instead of the Golden Bauhina Plaza in Wan Chai North. This arrangement was welcomed by elite athletes, citing that it would improve their performance. Japanese runner Koichioro Fukuoka won the full marathon in 2:16:50, ending Kenya's four year domination of the event.[8][9][11]


Amateur runners on Lockhart Road at the 2011 edition.

The race for 2009 took place on 8 February, with the courses for all events remaining the same as the previous year. About 55,000 people enrolled, among which 51,272 runners turned up (of which 31,000 were of the 10 km event, 7000 in full marathon), breaking previous records. The prize pool was US$100,000, with the winner getting US$20,000. Kenyan runner Cyprian Kiogora Mwobi won the full marathon in 2:14:57, setting a new course record. The women's title was won by Winnie Frida Kwamboka Nyansikera, also Kenyan, in 2:41:25.[12][13]

The finishing rate this year was 98%. The injury count was 394, of which 16 were sent to the hospital (including a case due to a temperature), down from 31 in 2008. 5000 runners requested massage due to cramps. Blind students participated in the 10 km race with escort by their teachers. The relative humidity that day was high at 60%-85%, making the race less comfortable. The inclination on the course was also a subject of complaint.[14][15]

Two runners were found using identical number bibs with the number "4", and this spurred discussion. The number belonged to the Hong Kong delegate, Lau Kwong-man. Several days later, his coach, Ng Fai-yeung, admitted that he took one bib (Lau got two bibs for being an invited runner, one in front and one on rear) from Lau, wore it and accompanied Leung Yuen-fan, another teammate, in the race. The event committee delivered its verdict on 12 February with reference to the scandal, disqualifying Lau and Leung from the race. The HKAAA has considered holding a disciplinary hearing on the matter.[16][17]


The Hong Kong Marathon in 2012, the crowd near the finishing line in Victoria Park.

The 2010 race saw Cyprian Kiogara Mwobi become the first man to defend his title in Hong Kong, and only the second person to do so after Yuko Gordon won the women's races in 1983 and 1984.[3]

At the 2011 edition, held on 20 February, Nelson Kirwa Rotich won the men's elite race in a time of 2:16.00 hours. However, it was the women's elite race that proved to be the high point of that year's events: young Kenyan runner Janet Rono failed to gain a position within the invited foreign athletes and she chose to fund her own journey and participation for the event. The move paid off as she won the race in a new women's course record time of 2:33:42, erasing Irina Bogachova's ten-year-old mark.[18]

The route was modified in the 2012 race to pass through the Central Piers and the newly reclaimed areas around the Tamar site. Ethiopians set new course records for both men's and women's races: Dejere Abera for the men's record with 2:11:27 hours and Misiker Demissie for the women's record with 2:30:12 hours. The wheelchair race was resumed after 14 years of hiatus, with full marathon and 3 km courses.[19] The second fatality in the competition's history occurred that year, when a 26-year-old male half marathon runner fell unconscious after he passed the finish line, and announced dead after he was sent to hospital.[20]

The 2013 edition was held on 23 February and Julius Maisei (2:14:18) and Misiker Demissie (2:30:49) won the elite races.[21]

The 2014 races were won by two Ethiopian athletes who self-funded to enter the race. Feyera Gemeda and Rehima Kedir won the men's and women's races in 2:15:05 and 2:34:53 hours, respectively.[22]

A 24-year-old male Ng Cheuk-yue from the 2015 race died of an unknown cause in a hospital after a heart attack[23] and then head injury just one hundred metres away from the finish line. A 49-year-old male runner is currently in a hospital after falling ill at the Tsing Ma Bridge.[24][25] Ethiopian runner Sentayehu Merga Ejigu won the men's race with two hours, thirteen minutes, and forty-six seconds; North Korean runner Kim Hye-gyong won the woman's race with two hours, thirty-one minutes, and forty-six seconds.[26] Thirty more people were hospitalised: three serious, nineteen stable, and eight discharged.[26]

Past winners[edit]

Key:   Course record   Asian Marathon Championship race

Hong Kong Shenzhen Marathon[edit]

Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
1981  Yoshinobu Kitayama (JPN) 2:19:43  Kathryn Binns (GBR) 2:45:38
1982  Andy Holden (GBR) 2:17:43  Winnie Lai-Chu Ng (HKG) 2:50:09
1983  James Dingwall (GBR) 2:15:48  Yuko Gordon (HKG) 2:48:08
1984  Graeme Kennedy (AUS) 2:17:27  Yuko Gordon (HKG) 2:42:35
1985  Alain Lazare (NCL) 2:18:34  Asha Agarwal (IND) 2:44:51
1986  Shu-chun Zhu (CHN) 2:15:08  Yan-min Wen (CHN) 2:36:55
1987  Richard Mannen (CAN) 2:20:51  Ju-an Li (CHN) 2:37:35
1988  Cai Shang-yan (CHN) 2:23:27  Xiu-xia Li (CHN) 2:41:31
1989–1991 Race suspended
1992  Pan Shao-kui (CHN) 2:20:54  Hong Wang (CHN) 2:45:44
1993  Peter Handcock (NZL) 2:18:34  Zina Marchant (GBR) 2:41:20
1994–1996 Race suspended

Standard Chartered era[edit]

Ethiopia's Dire Tune won the 2006 women's race and later went on to win the Boston Marathon.
Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
1997[27][28]  Bashir Hussain (GBR) 2:25:34  Bev Lucas (AUS) 2:52:07
1998  Belaye Wolashe (ETH) 2:13:09  Alina Ivanova (RUS) 2:39:26
1999  Charles Tangus (KEN) 2:17:00  Zheng Guixia (CHN) 2:36:52
2000  Henry Cherono (KEN) 2:21:09  Irina Safarova (RUS) 2:46:59
2001  Dube Jillo (ETH) 2:23:21  Irina Bogacheva (KGZ) 2:33:43
2002  Benjamin Mutua (KEN) 2:16:07  Zhang Shujing (CHN) 2:36:27
2003  Tendai Chimusasa (ZIM) 2:18:11  Sun Weiwei (CHN) 2:38:55
2004  Thomas Migwi (KEN) 2:17:17  Gitte Karlshøj (DEN) 2:42:19
2005  Samson Loywapet (KEN) 2:15:21  Dai Yanyan (CHN) 2:34:41
2006  Simon Kipruto (KEN) 2:14:18  Dire Tune (ETH) 2:35:15
2007  Steven Kamar (KEN) 2:17:03  Rose Nyangacha (KEN) 2:38:19
2008  Koichiro Fukuoka (JPN) 2:16:50  Kim Kum-ok (PRK) 2:36:43
2009  Cyprian Mwobi (KEN) 2:14:57  Winfrida Nyansikera (KEN) 2:41:25
2010  Cyprian Mwobi (KEN) 2:20:12  Triyaningsih (INA) 2:47:35
2011  Nelson Rotich (KEN) 2:16:00  Janet Rono (KEN) 2:33:42
2012  Dejere Abera (ETH) 2:11:27  Misiker Demissie (ETH) 2:30:12
2013  Julius Masei (KEN) 2:14:18  Misiker Demissie (ETH) 2:30:49
2014  Feyera Gemeda (ETH) 2:15:05  Rehima Kedir (ETH) 2:34:53
2015  Sentayehu Merga (ETH) 2:13:00  Kim Hye-gyong (PRK) 2:31:46
2016[29]  Mike Mutai (KEN) 2:12:12  Letebrhan Gebreslasea (ETH) 2:36:51
2017  Melaku Belachew (ETH) 2:10:31  Gulume Tollesa (ETH) 2:33:39

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Butcher, Pat (2012-02-05). Course records tumble in Hong Kong. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-02-05.
  2. ^ IAAF Silver Label Road Races, IAAF Official Website, Retrieved on 2013-02-21
  3. ^ a b c d Civai, Franco (2011-03-11). Hong Kong Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2012-02-05.
  4. ^ 14th Asian Marathon Championships, IAAF Official Website, Retrieved on 2013-02-21
  5. ^ The 2015 Cantonese Album of Eason Chan "Getting Ready" Release Party, PlayMusic, 2015-07-08
  6. ^ a b c d Exhibition on marathon in Victoria Park, February 2008, by the organizer of the Marathon
  7. ^ "迫爆馬拉松 青年中暑危殆 6249人不適". 明報. 2007-03-04. 
  8. ^ a b c "馬拉松噪音超標居民投訴". Ming Pao. 2008-02-18. 
  9. ^ a b "New Route for 2008 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon". ASIATravelTips.com. 
  10. ^ "四萬人跑馬拉松破紀錄". Sing Tao Daily. 2008-02-18. 
  11. ^ "渣馬新賽道跑手畀滿分 跑入鬧市長直路助創佳績". Ming Pao. 2007-02-28. 
  12. ^ Chui, Timothy (9 February 2009). "Pain and glory as 51,272 hit the streets". The Standard. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2009. 
  13. ^ 渣打馬拉松人數創新高 (in Chinese). Hong Kong Daily News. 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  14. ^ 跑馬拉松受傷增倍半 (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  15. ^ 香 港 馬 拉 松 5000 多 人 抽 筋 16 人 送 院 (in Chinese). RTHK. 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  16. ^ 馬拉松「造假」兩選手取消成績 (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  17. ^ 兩個4號馬拉松爆造假 (in Chinese). Oriental Daily News. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  18. ^ Butcher, Pat (2011-02-20). Rono surprises in Hong Kong. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
  19. ^ 國際輪椅選手:港賽道最難 (in Chinese). Ming Pao. 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  20. ^ 濕熱馬拉松跑死人 (in Chinese). The Sun (Hong Kong). 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  21. ^ February 2013 Results. AIMS. Retrieved on 2013-03-17.
  22. ^ Butcher, Pat (2014-02-16). Ethiopian enterprise pays dividends in Hong Kong. IAAF. Retrieved on 2014-02-23.
  23. ^ Lau, Kenneth (27 January 2015). "Runner, 24, loses race for life." The Standard. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  24. ^ Louie, Lobo (26 January 2015). "Marathon runner succumbs to injuries." RTHK. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  25. ^ Chan, Samuel (26 January 2015). "Hong Kong marathon runner, 24, dies after collapsing 100m from finishing line." South China Morning Post. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  26. ^ a b Lau, Kenneth (26 January 2015). "Marathon tears and triumphs." The Standard. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  27. ^ 1997 Results. Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. Retrieved on 2012-02-05.
  28. ^ NB: The ARRS website lists have Kenya's Nicolas Kioko (2:16:13) and China's Gui-xia Zheng (2:31:33) as the 1997 winners, but this conflicts with the official website.
  29. ^ Butcher, Pat (2016-01-17). Mutai defies downpour to triumph in Hong Kong. IAAF. Retrieved on 2016-01-17.
List of winners

External links[edit]