The 25,000 spots in the Hong Kong Marathon will be up for grabs as early as Friday, the event’s organiser has announced, adding that the prize money for runners who finish under three hours will be HK$10,000.

At a launch event on Tuesday, the Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates (HKAAA) said it had been liaising with the government and hoped to further boost the number of participants if the Covid-19 situation eases.

Hong Kong Marathon 2021 sport Covid-19 run Standard Chartered
Hong Kong Marathon 2021. Photo: GovHK.

The event, slated for February 12, almost did not go ahead, with the HKAAA announcing in mid-September it would axe the competition saying the government had failed to give approval in time amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Days later, it brought the race back and announced the rescheduling.

Registrations open

The organiser has allocated 6,000 places each for the marathon and the half-marathon, while the 10-kilometre race has 13,000 spots.

The online registration for the Challenge Entry will open on Friday, while the Public Ballot category will open on November 15.

Entry categoryRegistration period
Challenge EntryNov 4 – Nov 10
Guaranteed EntryNov 10 – Nov 14
Public BallotNov 15 – Nov 21
Disability EntreNov 15 – Dec 30
Charity EntryDec 13 – Dec 30

HKAAA Chairman Kwan Kee said he hoped “the epidemic will ease soon and more restrictions can be relaxed” to allow more spots in the popular running competition. Kwan added the association was working on inviting overseas elite runners to join the event.

Topped-up prize money

The marathon’s long-time sponsor Standard Chartered Bank also announced that “sub 3” runners, referring to men and women who clock a time of under three or three-and-a-half hours, respectively, will receive HK$10,000. The reward used to be just $1,000.

Hong Kong Marathon 2021 sport Covid-19 run
Hong Kong Marathon 2021. Photo: GovHK.

Only permanent residents of Hong Kong are eligible for the topped-up prize, with the organiser saying it hopes to “encourage local runners to achieve their personal best.”

All participants will also be given a special commemorative medal as the upcoming event will mark the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Marathon.

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Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.