When 60,000 runners turned out on a perfect February day, they created a new race record and made Hong Kong the largest marathon event in Asia.
Entries in all distances were filled last November three months before the starter's gun went off. Organisers had even increased entry quotas to accommodate demand.
Marathoners enjoyed the challenge of a route altered to follow Route 8 between Tsing Yi and Cheung Sha Wan, passing over the Stonecutters Bridge, a newly constructed Hong Kong landmark.
With a span of 1018m and 1596m long, the new bridge straddles the Rambler Channel and is one of the longest spanning cable bridges in the world.
Hong Kong Marathon has been sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank since 1997. The company also sponsors marathons in Bangkok, Dubai, Falkland Islands, Jersey, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Nairobi and Singapore.
For an event that attracted just 1000 runners 14 years ago, Hong Kong Marathon has come a long way. Over the years there have been many course changes and in 2008 the introduction of a 10km distance saw a huge increase in entries.
In recent years, the race has begun in Nathan Road, Kowloon, and ended across the harbour at Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island.
We know that most of you are established keen runners who have mastered fitness and training, but sometimes to get re-motivated it takes a little reminder of the basics. Also, you may have friends who are not runners that you'd like to share your passion for running with. Hopefully our Handy Hints section this month will motivate them too!
Weight loss is something that can happen naturally if you take up running. Apart from the fact that you're moving more and have increased your physical output, running requires the use of lots of muscle mass and the more muscle mass you use during exercise, the more calories you burn and as the largest muscles are in the lower body, running uses 60% of muscle mass. The only other exercise that beats running in calorie burning is Cross Country Skiing.
It is important to build up your fitness and stamina slowly and not to put your body under too much pressure too soon.
Running shoes are important for both fit and comfort. It's a good idea to visit a running store to find the right shoes for your particular feet and the level of running that you are at.
You should start off walking for several minutes, then jogging for less time, lessening the time you walk and increasing the time you jog over the weeks. Do each session 3 or 4 times a week. For example, during the first week, walk for 5 minutes, jog for 1 minute and walk for 5 minutes again. During the second week, walk for 4 minutes, jog for 2 minutes and then walk for 4 minutes again. These are approximate guidelines, but the overriding fact to remember here is to build up your stamina slowly.
YOU MUST CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING UP ANY EXERCISE.
Next issue we will be looking at running style; using your body correctly for maximum speed and strength and injury reduction.