The Standard Chartered Marathon Hong Kong
Your face lit up the moment you woke up. You do your pre-race ritual, had your quick breakfast fix and started doning your race gear. You take your race pack and dump all the essentials inside, dropped your hotel card inside, and headed out of the hotel. From the comforting air-conditioned hotel temps, you exited the hotel and headed out, bare, to the race site. You feel cold, and began to chatter as the chilling temps in the morning begin to get you.
Step by step, you walked to the race site to deposit your baggage. Your pre-race attire is stripped, baggage is deposited and you queue for the portaloos in your race gear. You are shivering now and began to jog on the spot and move your limbs to generate heat, akin to other runners warming up and down Nathan road.
You walked to the start point and got yourself jammed up in the middle of the pack. You feel warmer with the bodies around you. For now…
The siren goes and you are off. The adrenaline within you goes off as you run past the starting line. You felt great off the blocks but the human jam forbids seamless overtaking. 4km in, you are running on the West Kowloon Highway and one last turn awaits you and you’ll be running on the expressway. The crowd eases now with the entire length of expressway available to you. The undulating terrain starts now. You head up the hilly highway and witness the awesome Stonecutters Bridge in sight, approximately 2km away. The gradient increases and lo and behold, you are running up the bridge. It is an L shaped design. Once you are done, a water point awaits you for conquering the first major obstacle in the marathon.
Next up, you enter the first tunnel on-route. You feel warm, air seemed thicker and you feel harder to run inside. When you are near to the exit, the temperature drops and you feel the cold chilly winds coming your way as you exited the tunnel.
Shortly after, you will reach the legendary Tsing Ma bridge. The bridge is uphill, and you will uturn in the middle of it.
You will then uturn into another bridge which is almost the same, uphill to and downhill fro.
These routes enable you to meet up with fellow runners whom you might know. You caught up with many of your friends, exchanging hi-fives, shouting HIs.
Your route brings you down-slope to the second tunnel of the route. Upon exiting the tunnel, you have ran 25km and your legs is starting to give way. You feel determined to charged through the entire route, refusing to give up.
Upon exiting the tunnel, you’ll be back on the highway, with ups and downs greeting you at every sight. You feel strong winds brushing past you and witness different runners running different paths of the highway. You will reach the West Kowloon Highway and there will be a water point there. You have now ran 30km of the route and you will see a pool of 21km runners merging with you. The lanes seemed packed now but its still all right. You used the 21km participants as your pacers and start drafting off them.
You continue your route for 4 more km before entering through a gate with massive supporters.
At 34km, you will enter into the final tunnel on-route. This tunnel is unique and is one of the highlights of the race. You run downhill for 1.5km before running uphill for 1.5km. You are exhausted now, but you cannot give up now. You exited the tunnel feeling extremely cold with strong, chilly headwinds coming your way.
After conquering the uphill climb, you go through a series of downhill and find yourself by a pier. You try your best to absorb the scenary and the supporters whom came down cheering for you. Your legs is giving way, but you trottle through as much as you can.
Your facial expression depicts the pain you have on your entire body, but you are still there, fighting your way through.
Your last obstacle comes crashing down on you. You saw a flyover with a steepness akin-ed to Upper Pierce. It is approximately 200m high but you are determined to get past it. You saw alot of runners walking up this challenge. You ran past it, and you saw the sign ‘Causeway-bay’. Surely the end is near.
You wind through Causeway-bay, a familiar shopping district. Looking up, you see residents cheering you. There are tons of supporters on either side of the road. You absorb their cheers, you smiled at the photographers, there is no giving up now, not for yourself, not for the supporters.
One final turn and the finishing line is in sight, you ran the final 195m on green platform and ran past the finishing line.
You did it! You completed the Hong Kong Marathon.
PS: Enjoy the cramps the following day. =\