Five promising distant runners are racing towards personal goals at the finish line

Five promising distant runners are racing towards personal goals at the finish line

A group of young runners say that Sunday's junior race at the Hong Kong Marathon will feel like little more than a stroll in the park

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(From left) Kitty Chan, Anna Hung, Wilson Kwok, Oscar Cheung and Felix Wong are all in the running.
(From left) Kitty Chan, Anna Hung, Wilson Kwok, Oscar Cheung and Felix Wong are all in the running.
Photo: Edmond So

You have to be at least 16 to take part in the 10km and half-marathon races at Sunday's Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, but that hasn't stopped a group of younger students from getting in on the action.

The students from YCH Law Chan Chor Si College will take part in a 2.2km youth dash, and should make light work of it. Form Three students Anna Hung Ho-in, Oscar Cheung Ka-chun, Wilson Kwok Wah-lung and Felix Wong Yat-him, and Form Two student Kitty Chan Yuen-ching are all part of their school's cross-country team. They are already used to completing longer distances in training and competitions.

"It should be more relaxing than our other races. I need to finish 6.8km at inter-school races. This time, the course is not hilly, so it's easier," says Oscar, who also plays football for the school team. To him, the 2.2km race will be even less demanding than a match.

The special race will start at around noon at Wan Chai Sports Ground, passing Marsh Road, Lockhart Road and Great George Street, before crossing the finish line at Victoria Park. A total of 500 students from about 90 schools will take part.

Unlike previous junior races, no medals will be awarded to the top finishers. But runners will get a certificate if they can complete the course in 30 minutes or less. The organisers want to nurture the next generation of distance runners, hoping they will take part in the main events when they are older.

Oscar, 14, and Anna, also 14, are the group's best hopes of finishing among the fastest pack. They each won prizes in the Inter-School Division Two Cross Country Competition.

Oscar says he will carefully prepare for the race. He previously made the mistake of not eating enough before a run.

"Last year I competed in the All-Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Cross Country Tournament," he says. "I fainted after crossing the finish line and was admitted to hospital. I only had a hamburger that morning, and it didn't provide enough energy. This time I will eat the right amount."

Anna, meanwhile, is looking forward to using the race as an opportunity to learn from the best. "It will be an occasion to race against those talented runners from schools participating in the Division One cross-country competitions," she says.

The runners said that since Hong Kong team coach Cheuk Kin-san started coaching their school team a few months ago, the popularity of distance running has increased. More members have joined, and they hope taking part in Sunday's race will attract even more new blood.

Cheuk said even though the students are not the best runners in Hong Kong, they have shown a great passion for distance running.

"As well as school training, they also take part in night runs organised by different sports brands," says Cheuk.

"They are active in smaller-scale competitions so that they experience the atmosphere of a real race."

Their PE teacher, Chan Yuk-kwan, also thinks the students have a bright future.

"We don't know the standard of runners out there," says Chan. "But our students have a good foundation for running. I believe the experience, together with the flat course, will give us some advantage."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
They're going the distance

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