More than 64,000 people joined the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday, an event that saw organizers make extra arrangements to ensure the well-being and safety of the runners.
According to officials, a total of 64,700 people, or 86 percent of those who had registered for the long-distance run, showed up for the Marathon this year.
That represented an increase of more than 2,000 in the runner number compared to the annual event last year.
After being criticized for inadequate medical facilities in previous races, organizers made sure that the standby medical professionals as well as first aid stations were boosted significantly in 2019.
In the race yesterday, a total of 29 people had to be taken to hospital, as of 4.30 pm, after the runners complained of breathing difficulties, or suffered leg sprains or collapsed during the event.
While most of them were later discharged, two of them were said to be in serious condition, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The Marathon event, which saw Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor officiate at the starting ceremony on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, forced temporary closures of roads, including the Central-Wan Chai Bypass which saw its first-stage opening last month and is set to be fully commissioned this coming Sunday.
Coroner Wong Wai-kuen said in January that a booklet on tips for runners was not given out early enough for them to make proper preparations for the event, and also pointed out that the print used for the health warnings given was too small.
The remarks came after a Coroner’s Court concluded an inquest into the 2015 death of a runner.
Participating in the annual Marathon on Jan. 25, 2015, a 24-year-old Hongkonger named Ng Cheuk-yue suffered a heart attack and collapsed 100 meters from the finishing line in the 10-kilometer race.
To prevent similar tragedies from happening again, the organizer this year set up 44 medical and first aid stations along the routes covered by the event, compared to 42 a year ago.
There were also as many as 200 automated external defibrillators (AEDs), more than double that seen last year, with about 900 doctors and nurses forming mobile medical teams equipped with the AEDs to be ready for those in need.
As for the results of the latest marathon race, Barnabas Kiptum from Kenya set a new record in this year’s men’s full marathon. His time of two hours 9 minutes and 20 seconds eclipsed the previous record set in 2012.
The women’s full marathon was won by Volha Mazuronak of Belarus, whose time of two hours 26 minutes and 13 seconds was also a record.
Hanniel Chow Hon-nip, a 21-year-old student of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, claimed the title as the fastest local male runner in the full marathon.
Natasha Wong Tsz-yan was the fastest local female runner in the full marathon. She also triumphed in the same race last year as the fastest local female runner in the event.
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