The Hong Kong marathon took place on Sunday with 34,783 people braving the humidity and occasional drizzle.

Photo: Hong Kong marathon.

Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba from Kenya won the men’s marathon with a time of two hours, 10 minutes and 47 seconds, whilst Fantu Eticha Jimma of Ethiopia crossed the women’s finish line with a time of two hours, 27 minutes and 50 seconds.

Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba from Kenya won the men’s marathon with a time of 2:10:47. Photo: Hong Kong marathon.

Both won US$30,000, with Jimma also winning an extra US$10,000 for finishing below the 2 hours, 28 minute target time.

Photo: Hong Kong marathon.

“The race it was very hard for me. In fact, it was very humid. But I think it was difficult for everyone. We were trying to run under 2:10, but we didn’t manage… but for the result, it was good,” Kipchumba told reporters, according to RTHK.

Chief Executive John Lee (centre). Photo: John Lee, via Facebook.

Chief Executive John Lee opened the race, saying on Facebook that he looked forward to leading and promoting more socio-economic activities as Covid regulations were relaxed.

2023 Hong Kong marathon winners – click to view.

Marathon Men’s Overal

  1. Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba, Kenya, 2:10:47
  2. Yizengaw Limenih Getachew, Ethiopia, 2:11:25
  3. Senbeta Geza Tadesse, Ethiopia, 2:11:59

Marathon Men’s (HKAAA Registered Athletes)

  1. Gi Ka Man, Hong Kong, 2:24:45
  2. Wong Wan Chun, Hong Kong, 2:25:59
  3. Cheung Yiu Leung, Hong Kong, 2:26:03

Marathon Women’s Overall

1 Fantu Eticha Jimma, Ethiopia, 2:27:50
2 Biyadgilgn Sinke,Dessie, Ethiopia, 2:34:46
3 Gadise Negasa, Ethiopia 2:48:05

Marathon Women’s (HKAAA Registered Athletes)

  1. Wong Cheuk Ning, Hong Kong, 2:50:02
  2. Szeto Shiu Yan, Leanne Hong Kong, 2:59:27
  3. Wong Wing Yin, Hong Kong, 2:59:43

According to the Hospital Authority, 30 runners were hospitalised, with several in a critical condition.

Rainbow banner

During the 2021 run, police cracked down on those wearing slogans deemed to be political, including a tattoo. During Sunday’s race, one group of LGBT+ advocates, who were cheering on the athletes from the pavement, were told to remove a pride banner from the roadside railings.

Photo: Dennis Philipse.

“Unfortunately, the marshall decided that the rainbow flag had to be taken down; she couldn’t explain why,” Philipse told HKFP.” We didn’t want to do it. She [told] the police, who came with a team of 11 people and had conversations with us. They took one of our volunteer’s personal details.”

Photo: Dennis Philipse.

He said a police officer then told them to “take the flags off the metal rack immediately. Otherwise, it would become an issue.” The supporters then held the flags in their hands.

Philipse added that other groups appeared to be able to display banners without interference.

In response to HKFP, a police spokesperson said: “Police received a report at 8:30am on February 12 that someone hung two banners over the railings on Man Yiu Street near Central Pier in Central. After investigation, the concerned banners were not permitted to display on the roadside by the relevant department according to section 104A of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132). “

Meanwhile, one runner tweeted that participants were given government anti-terrorism merchandise.

Another tweeted that runners received a “Team Hong Kong China” cap.

Sunday saw a record attendance of 94 per cent of registered runners.

The marathon was axed in 2020 and 2022 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.