FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hong Kong Marathon - Recap
After two years of rehearsals and reversals, Julius Maisei of Kenya got it
right the third time, and won the 17th edition of the Standard Chartered
Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday morning, in 2.14.18.
Maisei had finished second here two years ago, and fourth, albeit just one
second behind the winner last year. But when he again found himself in
company with three kilometres to run, he took off in what would normally
have been described as a finishing sprint.
It was enough to carry him clear of his pursuers – colleague James Mbugua
and Ethiopian Deribe Robi – and despite having to relent the torrid pace in
the final kilometre, which provoked a few anxious looks back, Maisei has
built up a sufficient cushion to relax and come home ten seconds to the
good over Mbugua, who clocked 2.14.28 in second place, with Robi another
nine seconds adrift in third place, with 2.14.37.
The strong headwind for at least half of the out-and-back course, coupled
with the local policy of not employing pacemakers militated against fast
times, and although it was reasonably cool at 17C, Maisei said that the
humidity was again a factor. Nevertheless, the upshot was that a group of
close to 20 dawdled through the half in close to 68 minutes.
Robi was mostly responsible for leading the pack for much of the second
half, and contributing to its gradual break-up. But there were still a
dozen in contention at 32k, and it took Maisei and Mbugua joining the
Ethiopian at the front that rapidly reduced the contenders to a trio. And
just past the 39k mark, Maisei made his decisive move.
"I was getting stressed with so many people being in the group. I was
wondering when they were going to break up. I was feeling strong, but I
just didn't know about the others. At about 39 and a half, I could see the
40k marker, I decided to move. I thought if they catch me now, they deserve
to win". But it wasn't to be, and Maisei duly won the coveted increased
first prize of $57,000.
The headwind meant that Dereje Abera's course record of 2.11.27 from last
year was never remotely threatened; that was some consolation to the
Ethiopian, who suffered a calf sprain, and limped home just outside the top
But Maisei said that he thought pacemakers would have made a big difference
to the finishing time. "I think they could even do2.06, 2.07 here with
Incidentally, like Maisei, Mbugua has previous form here, third in 2011 and
now second; it remains to be seen, as he admitted ruefully whether he can
come back next year, and emulate Maisei.
Misiker Mekonnin Demissie had little trouble emulating herself in winning
the women's race, in 2.30.49, just over half a minute slower than the
course record 2.30.12 she set in winning last year.
The Ethiopian, who represented Bahrain as a youngster, before going to live
in New Mexico five years ago, was never really challenged for the victory.
She always looked in control, heading the pack, until she broke away at
"It was windy, it was very hard, because it was in the face a lot," she
said immediately after securing her $57,000. "I felt good, and confident,
and now I feel very happy".
As in the men's race, there were only two others in contention at in the
latter stages of the race. Demissie's compatriot Makda Harun got the better
of north Korean Kim Kum Ok, to finish second in 2.31.20. Kim finished third
in 2.32.21, but that also won her the concurrent 14th Asian Championships
title, thus emulating her victory the last time it was held in Hong Kong,
The favourite, Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, also won the men's Asian title. The
Mongolian clocked 2.17.56.
Place Bib No Name Country Time
1 103 Julius MAISEI KEN 2.14.18
2 102 James MBUGUA KEN 2.14.28
3 105 Deribe ROBI ETH 2.14.37
4 20922 Kennedy LILAN KEN 2.14.55
5 25054 Joseph Mwangi NGARE KEN 2.14.56
6 21292 Eliud CHEPTEI KEN 2.15.13
7 20927 Nelson Kirwa ROTICH KEN 2.15.17
8 104 Bellor YATOR KEN 2.15.49
9 107 Rachid KISRI MOR 2.15.57
10 101 Julius KARINGA KEN 2.16.22
1 205 Misiker Mekonin DEMISSIE ETH 2.30.49
2 203 Makda HARUN ETH 2.31.20
3 63 KIM Kum Ok DPR KOR 2.32.21
4 30203 Rose KOSGEI KEN 2.32.44
5 30202 Halima Hassen BERISO ETH 2.33.20
6 30200 Eunice Chebichi CHUMBA KEN 2.33.25