Sweeteners of HK$10,000 cash awards lie in wait for 25,000 runners taking part in the Standard Chartered marathon in February.
In announcing the HK$10,000 "special incentive award" yesterday, the organizer also said registration for ballot drawing will open on November 15 and overseas elite athletes are invited to join for the first time since the Covid
All runners in the February 12 event will get a commemorative medal to celebrate the event's 25th edition.
The HK$10,000 "special incentive award" will be given to male runners who finish the full marathon in under three hours, and under 3 hours for women.
The government has been asked to increase the 25,000 enrolment quota if the situation changes on the epidemic front.
Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates chairman Kwan Kee said the aim is to invite six men and six women from overseas to join the race now that the SAR has scrapped hotel quarantines for arrivals.
The last marathon saw 15,700 run in October 2021 after the 2020 race was canceled. Before the pandemic, over 70,000 took part annually across all events.
From November 15 to 21, runners aged 20 or above can register through a public ballot on the flagship event's website. If applicant numbers exceed the quota, places will be allocated through a ballot system.
Applicants eligible for guaranteed entry, including those who had successfully registered for the 2020 race, will be given priority in reserve quotas from November 10 to 14.
Traditional race routes will be adopted with both the 42-kilometer marathon and half-marathon starting on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, while the 10km race will begin at the Island Eastern Corridor, with all races finishing at Victoria Park.
Runners must meet the latest "vaccine
pass" requirement and submit a health declaration before collecting their pack as well as have a picture of a negative result in a rapid test on the day of the event.
Those rules are in stark contrast to Singapore's for a marathon next month.
But, on the Singapore race, in which 50,000 are taking part, Kwan said: "The association and the government have a common goal, and that is to organize this flagship event well. The two places face different circumstances so they can't be compared."
Virginia Lo Ying-chiu, who won the women's 10km event last year, said she will be competing in her first full marathon.
"I hope to break the local record. It's been cooler and drier these days," she said.
Wong Kai-lok, winner of last year's 42km full marathon, said: "I am confident that my training in Australia has greatly strengthened my abilities. I hope I can break the local record next year."
He also urged the government to further relax entry requirements so that more overseas runners can take part.