Gemeda Feyera wins Hong Kong Marathon as 64,000 runners take to the streets

16 February, 2014,

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Gemeda Feyera of Ethiopia wins the men’s marathon at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday morning. Photos: K.Y. Cheng, Nora Tam, Felix Wong

Gemeda Feyera of Ethiopia raced clear to win the men’s marathon at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday morning.

Feyera finished in 2:15.05, beating compatriot Abdisa Bedada Sori (2:15.11) and Elisha Kiprop Barno of Kenya (2:15.12).

Twenty-three runners were sent to hospital, with nine discharged by 11:30am.

“I’m thrilled for I only started running marathons four years ago and this is the biggest win of my career,” said Feyera, who will take home a purse of US$65,000.

“That is enough to change our lives,” said second-placed Bedada, a close friend of Feyera with both hailing from the city of Addis Ababa. “I tried to push forward and beat him but my legs were not willing. My hamstrings were hurting.”

Ethiopian runners filled the frame in the women’s marathon, with Rehima Kedir denying Misiker Demissie’s bid to win the event for the third year in a row as she took the race in 2:34.53.

A sea of runners compete in the10kmDemissie, who only arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday after missing her scheduled flight from her training base in the United States, came home in 2:35:05, with Gemechu Debellu third in 2:35.18.

Chinese student Wang Kun outduelled Kawarai Tsukasa of Japan in the run to the line to take the honours in the men’s half-marathon.

After swapping the lead throughout the race, the 21-year-old shifted up a gear in the dying stages to win in 1:09.08. Tsukasa finished in 1:09.26, with Australian McIntyre Klarie third in 1:11.55.

ln the women’s half marathon, Hong Kong-based Australian Jane Richards took first in 1:26:05, followed by Karen Hung Shee-yeung (1:26:25) and Sarah Cheung Hoi-wah (1:26:59).

The marathon was again bursting at the seams again with 73,201 runners from more than 40 countries registered to take part, but the number of no-shows – believed to be at least 8,000  – was expected to be even greater this year because of the cold and windy conditions. An estimated 64,000 took part, braving temperatures of around 12-14 degrees Celsius.

Entries for the marathon were 14,379, the half marathon 22,798 and the 10km races 36,024.

Rogele Rehima Kedir wins the women’s marathon in 2:34.53. It was an all-Ethiopia finish, with Misiker Demissie second (2:35.05) and Debellu Shitaye Gemechu third (2:35.18)

Clinton Mackevicius was the first major winner of the morning, returning to Hong Kong on the first anniversary of the death of his mother to win the men’s 10-kilometre race.

“It was nice to come back and defend my title as it was also a special day for me,” said Mackevicius, who won in a time of 32 minutes and 22 seconds.

It was more than two minutes slower than his winning time last year but the Australian was still pleased that at 35 he was able to hold off “the talented young bucks in Hong Kong”.

“There is so much talent around here and I came up against a few this morning. It is nice to think that I can still hold my own,” laughed Mackevicius. “But my time was slower today due to the conditions which were very windy.”

The conditions were perfect for this runner in a shark suit. Photo: SCMPHong Kong triathlete Ivan Lo Ching-hin pushed Mackevicius all the way after former national triathlete Daniel Lee Chi-wo had set the pace early, leading for the first three kilometres. Lo finished second overall in 32:59, while Lee faded to come in sixth in 33:21.

The women’s overall category was won by Christy Yiu Kit-ching in 36:14, with Fan Ka-king behind her in 39:14. Priscilla Siu Wai-yue was third in 39:37.

An 800-strong medical care team, including about 100 doctors and nurses, were on hand to treat runners.

Representing the government at the start line was Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying turned down the invitation. He denied his unprecedented decision was down to a political beef with title sponsor Standard Chartered Bank. The city’s chief executive has officiated at every marathon since the handover, and Leung did the honours for the first time last year.

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