Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Tough Slog!

Waiting for runners in Heat 2 to start their race just as dawn breaks
I went to bed early, but pre-race jitters resulted in not enough sleep sleep for the 10K run as part of the Standard Chartered Marathon.

My race was third of five heats, as I had grumbled a year earlier about being in the second heat at 6.45am.

This time though, I was able to take the MTR from Kennedy Town to Tin Hau which made the stress of getting there pretty much stress-free, and there weren't the hordes of people like there were last year crowded in the station.

Getting to the starting line in Fortress Hill
However, I thought I was prepared for the race, and watched the weather conditions. Yesterday was very windy and so I thought I'd better be ready with leggings to go under my shorts.

But as soon as I walked out of my building I realized I was going to be too warm -- the temperature was far from cool, but by then it was too late to go back up to change...

At least I wasn't like other runners in the second heat who were still getting to the starting line when their race had already started! Apart from that everything was pretty much as it was before, though the starting point was several metres further east than the previous two years.

It was dark when I arrived at the starting check point and by the time 7.15am rolled around, the sun was already up. And when I began to run, I got hot very quickly, probably because of the leggings. I removed my light jacket and tied it around my waist, but even then that didn't help cool things down much.

For me the run was quite the slog -- I was already getting tired by the 4km mark, sweating profusely! It was not good -- breathing heavily and trying desperately to keep pace with others. I started off OK, but soon petered out to the point where I stopped four times along the route for a few minutes to catch my breath.

Perhaps another challenge was having so many runners squeezed into the lanes because one lane had to be reserved at all times for emergency vehicles. That made it at times difficult to pass people who were walking or stopped suddenly. Runners had to be aware of what was going on at all times.

As I walked, seeing so many people on the highway reminded me of the Umbrella Movement -- except this one was approved and planned by the authorities! It was only a few months ago we could freely wander around the streets...

A man carries an Umbrella Movement banner as he runs!
When I approached Causeway Bay and past the 9km mark, I started to pick up the pace in one last push. As I slowly climbed up the ramp that took us to Victoria Park, I heard a woman scream and a thud as I looked back down to see a young guy who had fallen face down onto the road. Luckily first aid staff were very close by, but one had to wonder if he fell because of an accident or of exhaustion?

Throughout the race I tried hard to push myself and to keep going, but maybe mentally I wasn't psyched up? I tried to make up for it at the end, in the last stretch, trying to run as fast as I could to the finish line even though I could feel my heart might leap out of my chest from working so hard.

I could hear big cheers as I approached the finish -- were they for us? No -- there was a marathoner who was crossing the finish line next to us...

Boy was I glad that was over! I looked at my timer on my iPhone to see that I was only off my previous time by over two minutes. It wasn't as bad as I had assumed, which makes me wonder if I started off too quickly.

Nevertheless, I was just relieved it was done and made my way home.

Post Script -- It was reported today (January 26) that the young man I saw collapse 100 metres from the finish line passed away in hospital. He was 24 years old.


  1. Congrats on completing the race! It sounds like an ordeal rather than fun -- and yet I have this feeling you're going to do this again next year! ;)

    1. Hi YTSL thanks! Yeah it was a tough one this year! We'll have to see about next year...!