Get your shoes dusted! The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon is returning to Hong Kong on January 21, 2024. The marathon is one of the major sporting events in the city. Being popular among both overseas and local runners, organisers and participants have elevated expectations. It will return to pre COVID-19 levels, with the event now accepting up to 74,000 runners.
The marathon will also be coinciding with the 19th Asian Marathon Championships where top runners from around 45 regions will be competing. This is the first time that the bi-annual championships are taking place in Hong Kong since the pandemic. Hong Kong will be hosting the event for the fifth time in 2024.
The annual sporting event is back, bigger than ever
Last year’s marathon saw more than 34,000 runners, boasting an overall attendance of 94 per cent. With the scrapping of social distancing rules and the face mask mandate, organisers are hopeful that this year’s edition will achieve record-high numbers. Participants can choose between three categories: the marathon (22,000 runners), the half marathon (21,500 runners), and the 10 km (30,500 runners). A team of two to ten runners can apply for the 10km event.
Applications are now open until September 7 at 7 pm. Those who were accepted for the 2020 event but didn’t participate are guaranteed entry for the upcoming edition. Meanwhile, the open ballot will start from September 5 and run until October 5. Registrations for the disability entry will run from September 21 to December 8.
The marathon and half marathon routes will start at Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui and go all the way to Victoria Park. Meanwhile, the 10 km run will begin at the Island Eastern Corridor and will end at Victoria Park. Runners from Hong Kong who complete the marathon in under three hours (men) and three and a half hours (women) will receive HKD 10,000 as a cash prize.
Sportswear brand adidas will be the official apparel sponsor, designing and providing runners’ T-shirts and event marshals’ outerwear.
Hong Kong is emerging as an international events hub
With Hong Kong hosting the two events simultaneously, organisers are positive about the city’s reputation as an events hub. “The race set for January will provide ample time for attracting more international athletes to participate. We hope the cool weather will elevate the runner’s performance and favour better results,” said Kwan Kee, Chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Affiliates.
He added, “The inclusion of the Asian Marathon Championships not only adds international flavour. It also enhances Hong Kong as a centre for mega international events”.
Organised by the Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates, the Standard Chartered Marathon is the city’s largest annual sporting event. Pre-pandemic, it attracted over 78,000 local and overseas participants every year. Since 1997, Standard Chartered has been the title sponsor and also hosts marathons in six other cities such as Taipei, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.
We can’t wait for the event.
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(Hero image credit: Calum Lau, featured image credit: Standard Chartered)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong