Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon
10km, 21km, 42km
Lotto system opens in September
The race takes place Sunday. 3rd week of February with registration in the days before. While there are charity entries available at a cost, upgrading / substitution etc is near impossible.
This is a very big race on the Asian circuit. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s quite something to behold. The SCHKM is filled with a number of long, slow challenging hills and hill-training is encouraged in your preparation.
The marathon runs starts on the famous Nathan road in Mong Kok before taking athletes out on the city’s massive bridges, through giant tunnels and along highways. These exposed sections deliver great views and gusts of wind; it actually gets quite cold up there, which is the opposite of the Tiger Balm-scented tunnels, which are extremely humid.
While the course is extremely well stocked with drinks, food and first aid stations, there is little-to-no support or cheering for most of it. The last few kilometers cruelly include a slow climb, but after this final tunnel (see the elevation chat – you go under the sea!) the vibe picks up and you are cheered and sung to all the way to the end.
The race has a 6-hour cutoff. The race begins in 3 different waves at 45-minute intervals; for those in the first wave, you’ll have longer than 6 hours to finish (unofficially). The result is a busy course of multiple paces. While the race is fairly quiet in terms of noise, it’s definitely not a lonely race.
Getting to and from the marathon start, finish and registration is easy as all points are very close to the MTR (metro). The city also puts on early trains for the runners.
This is a massive race – 76,000 people ran in 2019 – so be prepared for congestion.
The race costs $70 USD (2019) and includes a race t-shirt, huge amounts of course support, a goodie bag at the beginning and end, and the shiniest medal you’ve ever seen.
- Best place to stay for the start is between Mong Kok (cheap and “real” part of Hong Kong) and Tsim Sha Tsui (home of five-star hotels). The finish is 5 stations away from this, but quite manageable.
- Take in the sites from the bridges but expect to be shouted at by a marshal if you get close to the edge.
- The race takes place close to the Chinese New Year. This can be good: parades and celebrations, and bad: closed restaurants and shops. Nonetheless, it’s a great experience, so consider getting both events in the same trip.
Reviewer: Claire Mathieson