Monday, February 28, 2011

Stanchart HK Marathon 2011 - 20 Feb 2011

Left for HK on 17 Feb 2011 (which is Chap Goh May) the 15th day of the 1st month of Year of The Rabbit.  Flying CX instead of AA although its slightly more expensive, but you get the comfort plus the  quality of in-flight food and drinks.  Before leaving HK, weather over there was expected to be cold in the range of 13C to 15C with windy condition.

Arrived at KLIA and check-in, and was informed that the CX flight will be delayed for 50mins due to misty and foggy condition in HK.  There you go, and those running the Sunday race will be expecting a cool to cold weather running condition,  Shud be ideal for Malaysian runners.

Flight time was around 3.5hrs and landing was smooth even with a very foggy visibility.  Bravo to the captain and crew handling the jetplane. It was indeed chilly when I got off from the plane, and a light jacket is needed,  Put on my old faithful NorthFace jacket, cleared custom/immigration and pickup my baggage.  Its almost 11pm when I am done with all these.  Instead of taking the Airport Express over to Kowloon, I opted for the CityFlyers Airport bus that will take me directly to my destination ie Dragon Hostel in Mongkok.  It just cost me HKD33 compare to Airport Express which is HKD90.  Took me ard 40mins to reach Mongkok stop and another 5mins to look for Dragon Hostel.  Its ard 12 midnite now, and Mongkok is still so vibrant, shops and roadside stalls were still operating.  No wonder HK is a city that never stops.  The pungent smell of the Fried SMELLY Tofu is all over the place!!!

Located  inside the Sincere House, the reception was at the 7th floor of the building.  Got myself check-in in no time.  The person on the night shift by the name of Kelvin was really helpful.  Brought me to a very little tiny room which I think is about 5ft by 7ft the most.  Will be staying a nite in this tiny pigeon hole before moving out to a twin bed room when Azhar arrive from Macau tomorrow. Despite being very small and tiny, the room is very clean including the bedsheets, pillows and blankets....and thats what I wanted.   Had a shower, and was already craving for a both of hot plain porridge and yau char koay.  Hop down to the streets and in no time, found a stall that sells hot porridge which operate 24hrs!!!!   Thats what I need in a 13C weather condition.  Time to SLEEEEEP.

Had morning breakfast with Lawrence Leong and Yen Erl gang at a Dim Sum restaurant located on the 3rd floor of Grand Tower Plaza along Nathan Road.  After breakfast all of us adjourned to the bib collection center at Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. 

After that the day was more of a Free & Easy, strolling along the streets of HK, as well as some shopping malls.  The following day was the same too.  Both Lawrence, Carol Chan and myself opt for a walk from Mongkok to TST. 

Along the way was telling them about the steamed milk with ginger juice.  Will look for the stall and get them to try it when we are on the way back to our hostel at the later part of the day. On our way back managed to find the store and all of us had our first steamed milk for the day.

Had dinner with Azhar and Cynthia, and rest early for the nite in preparation for tomorrow race.  Woke up at 4am, got my business done and have my regular oats with soy milk as my breakfast.  Then its of to the starting point at TST.  Took the MTR with Lawrence, and with 10mins we are there.  Deposited our baggage and look for the rest for some pre-race photos before starting the race.

Weather was cold and chiller in the range of 12c to 13C.  Some runners were seen with disposable raincoat over their body to keep warm.  The first wave for marathon starts at 6.20am followed  by the second wave which is 6.45am.  Most of us were in the second wave and we walked towards the starting point when the time is almost there.

BANG.....and out we go.  There was a slight drizzle when we started the race, although its bearable and the weather is just nice for a great run.  After running for almost 40 mins, we reached the Stoncutter bridge. 

I was running much slower to enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding and the bridges linking all the highways.  It was breathtaking as this is the only way to experience it by running the marathon.  On a normal day, u can only drive pass the bridge.  And from the Stonecutter Bridge we crossed over to the famous Tsing Mah Bridge.

After enjoying myself and taking pix with all the running friends, I increase my pace to try and catch up for some lost time.  From the 21k point onwards, I up my pace and start going faster.  The running momentum was good and legs was feeling as fresh as I had just started.  Couple with the great cooling weather, the body doesnt seems to feel tired.  Just keep going and going, and manage to overtook some of my friends who were most of the time in front of me from the very beginning.  The target was to finish with a sub5 time and I will be very happy with it.

My pace was getting faster and faster, and at one moment heard someone yelling at me...."Hei, u are running a 5.15min pace"  Turn around and it was one of my running buddy that I am overtaking.  I told him I am covering for lost time....hehehe.  Seeya at the fnishing point, I yelled back and I go again.

These 2 Japanese running bunnies have always been in front of me from the very beginning of the race and eventually I caught up with them and overtook them at ard the 28k mark if I remembered correctly.  Pix courtesy of Wendy Ming Huey.

Soon  I was entering the Western Harbour Tunnel, and this stretch is one of the hardest as the evelvation is like a V shape, ie -30m under sea level and then up again to 50m.  Not only that, we will have to connect to the highway ramp along Shuen Tak Building towards the city in HK Island.  By now the road became narrow and also coupled with the 2nd wave of half marathon runners.  The road waas practical packed with runners and I have to zig zag my way to move faster and avoiding the crowd to slow me down.

As I inched closer to Causeway Bay, saw the 41k mark at Marsh Road, and I know its the final stretch to finishing my 52nd marathon and my 1st for Year 2011.

Ran and ran and ran, will the crowd and supporters yelling Jaiyou, Jiayou, Jiayou.  This makes you want to run faster and then suddenly I saw Maybel (Sifu Terence wife) running slowly alone.  She must be feeling tired and I urged her to join me to finish the race.  Both of us up the tempo abit and start to take a much faster strides towards the end.

Took the corner into Victoria Park and stride towards the finishing point.  With hands raised up, I complete my first marathon for the year in a time of 4hr 41mins.  Nothing to shout about the timing  but I am totally satisfied with the run and the joy of able to run and complete another marathon.

Withe the confidence of the great organisation of the race plus the great support along the marathon route, I guess the organiser themselves had done a great job to ensure the particpants are enjoying the every moment of the event.  I believed they will continue to strive harder and have another great race next year in 2012.  Till then and I will see you in Stanchart HK Marathon 2012.

Post race pictures with running friends at The Arena Of Stars.

Pictures courtesy from Sifu Terence, Wendy Ming Huey, Scientist Runner, Dannie Choong, Khairul, Long Run HK Running Group


Anonymous said...

Now you make me wanna go back in 2012. Well done on your fast time, Choi. Alvin

C-CUBE said...

Alvin, lets go back again in 2012. 4h 41mins is not a fast time, and i wasnt thinking of doing a fast time either. If I want a fast time, i wud hv tekan kuat2 fr the very beginning. Only switching on the turbo fr 23k onwards.