Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Recap of Standard Chartered Marathon 08

Finally got the time to write about my first marathon race!! Though it was two weeks ago, every single event happened that day was still very fresh in my memory!! Apparently, I was super hyper and excited that day!! =D

The 10km Race

My 10km race started at 5:40am in the morning at East Road Tunnel on Hong Kong Island. So I woke up around 5am and took MTR to Tin Hau. Mike was so nice to be up as early as I did and went with me to take picture of me starting!!

I was very impressed with his willingness and capability of getting up at 5am! ;)

Notice my big pair of panda eyes? Apparently I didn't sleep much the night before! (We are talking about someone who normally won't go to sleep until 3am here!!)

Tin Hau MTR station was already crowded with marathon runners around 5:15am. Crazy!

We saw this young guy with a giant afro and long legs at the exit of the MTR station, cheering for all the 10km runners!!

"What is your personal target for today? Do it and beat it!!!" He was great!! ^_^

Runners doing warm up and getting ready.

My full body "battle" look!!

Walking together with other runners towards the starting point. There were so many of them!!


Unfortunately this was also the cut-off point where Mike had to stop and couldn't proceed further, since he was not in the race. So he returned home and helped Julie get ready for her full marathon race.

Mike's sleepy self-taken portrait on his way back from Tin Hau. (Thank you so much, the poor sleepy baby!!)

The Experience and Result

The run was enjoyable, and it felt such a positive, healthy atmosphere, because you were running with so many other runners together!! Cheering for each other!

The route had many "sneaky uphill and downhill" sections, but overall, I'd say it's fairly easy (unlike the route that Julie was going to run!!)

My personal goal was to finish the whole 10km without stopping or walking. I achieved my goal, and and and, I even made my personal best time!! hehe~

I finished with 1 hr 1 min 10 sec!!!! Not bad for a first-timer, huh?! =D I was proud and happy with my result!! Definitely will do it again next year!!

Julie and Her Full Marathon

Another thing that made this marathon so enjoyable was that Julie flew to Hong Kong and participated in the full marathon too this year. She has been a marathon runner since high school. I really admired her passion for running!!

Her marathon started about 2 years later than mine in Tsim Sha Tsui. So she could see some daylight when she started, unlike the 10km runners who all had to struggle in the dark! ;)

A bunch of main roads at Tsim Sha Tsui were blocked off for this marathon.

The starting point for the half marathon and the full marathon.

The opening ceremony began with the royal marching band.

And followed was our beloved Hong Kong governor, Donald Tsang, accompanied with other high governor officials.

The "elite" runners invited from various other countries.

They got their own "priority" section in front of all the other normal runners, so they could do their warm ups leisurely in the spacious area without needing to cramp with others.

The "peasant" runners section behind the elite runners section. This was where Julie was stuck at.

Unlike the 10km race, spectators could actually get close to the marathon runners at the starting point and took pictures of them. (So unfair!!! -_-....)

Can you spot Julie's little head stuck with a bunch of Asian men's heads?! (tips: in the middle, towards the top)

Everyone was full of strong spirit!!

Racing their hand to cheer and show their readiness!

"1, 2, 3, GO!!!!!"

There were a few foreigners in shark suits on the side running in the marathon as well.

They dressed up in shark suits in order to raise people's awareness of shark's distinction!!

There was a girl among the shark's group, and they all finished the full marathon race with the suits!!! (clapping hands...)

So many spectators took pictures of the runners and cheered for them on the side!! It was such a great atmosphere!!

Lots of police and medics were on-duty to help with the event as well.

Almost 2 and a half hours later at the Destination...

Julie's targeted time was around 3 hours. So Mike and I started approaching the race destination point at Victoria Park around 11am. We really wanted to watch Julie cross the finish line and captured some great shots of her.

This was one of the roads in Causeway Bay on the way to the finish point. Normally this road would be crowded with people. But today it was all blocked off. Many slow half marathon runners were just passing by here. (They started half an hour before the full marathon)

Even the road was supposedly "blocked off", the police had to give in the some of the passers-by and let them cross the road while there were no runners coming. Crazy, huh?!

Getting closer to the finish line. More and more spectators were crowded on the sides to watch.

The finish line!! They moved the finish line from the normal Wanchai Convention Center area to Victoria Park this year, so that more people could cheer for the runners at the finish line. I thought it was a very good idea!! (Not to mention Victoria Park is a lot more convenient for us too, haha!~)

Cheerleaders, the Hong Kong teenage version.

"Look!! It's Julie!!!!"

"GO JULIE!!! GO JULIE!!! GO JULIE!!!" I shouted as loud as I could.

Having crossed the same finish line myself a few hours earlier, I knew how great it felt when you heard people cheering for you in these last few meters!!

Julie crossing the finish line!! And.... broke her own personal record!!! 2 hrs 56 min!!! Her old best time was a little bit over 3 hours!!!!

After Crossing the Finish Line

And she WON 2nd place at her category (adult female full marathon)!!!!

I was sooooooo happy for her!!

She was so happy as well!! Can you imagine it - flying from the States to Hong Kong just 2 days ago, haven't quite gotten over jetlag yet, but.... WON !!!

There would be a award ceremony in half an hour for the winners. We were so proud of and excited for her!!! Glamorous shots on stage!!!

She was even interviewed by ATV (the second largest local TV station in Hong Kong).

She was asked if she felt the pollution was bad today. "No, not really..." Julie answered positively.

I was standing on the side like a little fan watching her idol, while Mike took so many pictures of Julie being interviewed by the TV crew.

Many volunteers helped out with cleaning out the place and giving out food and water to runners in Victoria Park.

Korean fans for runners from their country?!

Award Ceremony

Helping Julie find the winners gathering spot, in preparation for the ceremony.

The area that I was in was actually a restricted, invitation-only area. Only winners and winners' friends and relatives could go in.

I felt so privileged. Hehe...

Presenting the Strongest Race on Earth awards. Winners were from, of course, Kenya.

"Second place of the 2008 Standard Chartered Marathon Female adult category is - Julie, from the United States!"


Julie on stage!!

She even got a nice trophy to take back to the States!!


"Julie, smile!!!"

I of course won't miss the opportunity to take pictures with our cute winner!!!

What an incredibly awesome day and unforgettable experience!!!

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