The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon is one of the territory's most anticipated sporting events that has grown from its humble beginnings in 1997 with a mere 1,000 participants to a signature world-class event with 74,000 runners from over 90 countries competing on this iconic race that unfolds against the backdrop of our breathtaking skyline and harbour.
The Hong Kong Marathon has been awarded Gold Label status since the 2016 marathon and with total prize money of US$300,000 it is one of Asia's most prominent marathons.
It has become so popular that besides the 42-kilometer Marathon Route, extra events and routes have been added to accomodate the increasing number of interested applicants and running enthusiasts. For the 2018 Marathon there will be:
The 10K Run
The 10K Wheelchair Race
The 3K Wheelchair Race
Youth Dash - 2.2 km for ages 10-12 and 13-15
In addition a couple of non-competitive fun runs take place at the Central Harbourfront Event Space:
Family Run - 1 km for team participants 6 or above, each team should have at least one adult aged 18 or above
Love From Past Life Run - 400 m at least one participant aged 5 or below accompanied by at least one adult aged 18 or above
Hong Kong Marathon Course
The 42 km route is a tough one involving more than 100 metres in elevation ranging from 70 meters above sea level at the top of the bridges to 30 metres below sea level at the Western Harbour Tunnel and in addition, runners have the high humidity to contend with. The route takes the runners through two bridges, three tunnels and two highways.
The start line is in Nathan Road and Kimberley Road in Tsim Sha Tsui next to the Mira Hotel accross from Kowloon Park. The start zone and warm up zone is south from here along Nathan Road, followed by the waiting zones and bagagge deposit areas near the HK Cultural Centre, the Sheraton Hotel and the Peninsula.
The course takes you from the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui and bustling Mongkok to the vastness of the New Territories, over two magnificent bridges, Stonecutters Bridge and Ting Kau Bridge, with awesome views of the islands and harbour, and then doublebacks and heads under the Western Cross-Harbour Tunnel to rise up to the majestic Hong Kong skyline and ending in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.
If you want to watch near the start or finish areas, this is where that thrilling air of excitement and expectation is at its peak, but also where the crowds concentrate.
Hong Kong Marathon Runners on the Start Line - Nathan Road
To watch them near the start line you will have to be an early bird. Runners will be arriving before their start times of 6:10 am to 7:00 am, they will be assembling and warming up along Nathan Road south of the start point of the race.
You can watch and cheer them as they set off along Nathan Road at the Public Square Street Rest Garden in Yaumatei
and then as they turn West on Argyle Street
The area along Cherry Street in Mongkok, right outside Olympian City is an ideal location for photography, with both old and new architecture framing the area
The Western Harbour Tunnel Toll Plaza, by the bus stop, right before they reach the Hong Kong side.
In the Hong Kong side, the Central Harbourfront area offers some of the best vantage points to cheer the runners on their last stretches of the race and also provides stunning backdrops with the Skyline, the Harbour and the Observation Wheel on view. You need to be in the area by 7:00 - 7:30 am. Best spots to watch:
Along Lung Wo Road by the Central Harbourfront Event Space where later in the morning the Family Runs take place and has a great atmosphere
On the Marsh Road Flyover Footbridge
Near the finish line Lockhart Road, Hennessy Road and Sugar Streets will be oozing with excitement
The Public Viewing area set up at Victoria Park, entrance is through Gate 4, where you can watch the runners cross the finish line, but as you can expect, this area will be VERY crowded.
The entire course route is as follows (subject to change, look for street closures and roped off areas which will be clearly marked indicating the course): Race Start - Nathan Road by the Mira Hotel --> Northbound on Nathan Road --> Westbound on Argyle Street --> Westbound on Cherry Street --> Southbound on Lin Cheung Road --> Northbound on West Kowloon Highway --> Westbound on Tsing Sha Highway --> Over Stonecutters Bridge --> Westbound on Tsing Sha Highway --> Nam Wan Tunnel --> Northbound on Tsing Sha Highway --> Turnpoint at Tsing Ma Bridge --> Southbound on Tsing Sha Highway --> Turnpoint Northbound on Tsing Long Highway --> Northbound Ting Kau Bridge --> Turnpoint Ting Kau --> Southbound Ting Kau Bridge (right after the bridge is the half-way mark) --> Southbound on Cheung Tsing Highway --> Cheung Tsing Tunnel --> Southbound on Tsing Kwai Highway --> Southbound on West Kowloon Highway --> Southbound on Western Harbour Crossing Tunnel --> Round the Connaught Road West Flyover --> Eastbound on Man Po Street --> Eastbound on Yiu Sing Street --> Eastbound on Lung Wo Road --> Eastbound on Fenwick Pier Street --> Eastbound on Convention Avenue --> Loop around Expo Drive --> Eastbound on Convention Avenue --> Easbound on Hung Hing Road --> Southbound on the Marsh Road Flyover --> Eastbound on Lockhart Road --> Southbound on Percival Street --> Eastbound on Hennessy Road --> Eastbound on Yee Wo Street --> Eastbound on Sugar Street --> Finish Line - Victoria Park
Where to Stay?
You can choose to stay near the start in Tsim Sha Tsui or the end in Causeway Bay near Victoria Park, or anywhere in between as transportation in the city is quite efficient. In addition, on Race Day special arrangements are made with public transport service providers for earlier start hours, i.e. some MTR lines start running around 3:30 am 4:00 am with trains operating in 8 - 15 minute intervals. Similar arrangement is made for buses.
Here is a guide for Hong Kong Marathon hotels with top options for hotels near the start and finish, as well as top picks along the route. (Coming Soon)
Hong Kong Marathon 2018
When: Sunday, January 21st, 2018, starts 6:10 am
Start: Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui by the Mira Hotel
End: Victoria Park, Hong Kong Island
How Much: FREE for spectators!
More Info:www.hkmarathon.com/ and download the app for the latest on this year's course route, start times, set ups at start and finish lines, etc.