Yesterday I took part in the Hong Kong Marathon. Even at the slower end of the field, it's a good challenge and something that I hope to be able to continue for a good many year yet.
In spite of the challenges of the course, the race organisers have made a few improvements over the years - including adequate water stops and a more interesting course (although still suffering from lack of crowd support on most of the route).
This year, they managed to get a couple of things badly wrong. The first (and lesser) issue was to drastically reduce the number of portable toilets on Hankow Road. The combination of more runners and fewer facilities produced the predictable result of a lot of needlessly long queues and a number of people relieving themselves in nearby alleys.
The more significant issue was the timing of the 8:30 half marathon start. This guaranteed that the fat part of the bell curve of full marathon runners ran into the back of the half marathon field at around the 28 km mark and had to spend much of the rest of the race ducking and weaving through much slower runners (and many walkers). At times I was forced to walk because I couldn't find a gap.
An obvious blunder that any competent race organiser should have avoided.
No wonder the race has such a bad reputation.
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