27 June 2019
Yip Lun-ming has participated in many marathon events both here and abroad. Photo: Facebook
Yip Lun-ming has participated in many marathon events both here and abroad. Photo: Facebook

Hong Kong’s oldest marathon runner dies at 93

Yip Lun-ming, Hong Kong’s beloved marathon man, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 93.

While fellow runners mourned the loss of such a colorful personality who was well known to runners young and old, they hit out at the The Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association (HKAAA) and the organizer of Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon for failing to honor Yip for his outstanding contributions to long-distance running.

Yip, a regular feature in races ranging from 5 kilometers up to full marathon, once said he would keep on running if he could live up to 100 years. Unfortunately, Yip had not been running since 2008 and was in and out of the hospital frequently over the last few years. He almost spent the entire 2014 in a hospital bed.

At an elderly home in Chai Wan where Yip spent three years, a nurse recalled how she would joke with Yip, offering to take him out on his wheel chair to the corridor so he could relive the fond memories of running on the Eastern Corridor during marathon events.

In a statement on Sunday, William Ko, chairman of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon organizing committee, paid tribute to Yip’s contributions to the athletic community, noting that his exploits in distance running encouraged a large number of young people to join the sport.

Ko stressed both the HKAAA and himself held Yip in high esteem and offered condolences to his family.

Ko said the HKAAA would need to discuss internally to see if any ceremony would be held to pay tribute to Yip at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon next month.

Yip passed away on the same date he was born 93 years ago. Born to a man from Fujian and a Japanese mother, Yip started his athletic training at the age of seven in mainland China.

In 1949 he was one of the 36 survivors when luxury passenger ocean liner Taiping sank after a collision with another vessel en route to Taiwan. More than 1,000 people lost their lives in the tragedy.

Partly to keep the memory of the deceased alive, Yip decided to take up running, and as a result, he made a name for himself in the sport. His many victories included winning the gold medal in the Olympic marathon race for seniors in South Africa in 1997.

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