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Julius Maisei and Misiker Demissie Win Hong Kong Marathon 2013

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The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013 concluded successfully on Sunday, delivering a fascinating race marked by fierce battles between the elite athletes and a record high number of runners taking part. [See: Pictures of the 2013 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon]

 Once the Honourable Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, had fired the starting-gun, thousands of Marathon runners simultaneously took their first steps of the 42.195km race.

Following its upgrade to Silver Label Road Race status by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013 attracted elite runners from 23 countries.

 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 in 2011 and 2012, albeit just few seconds 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 Kariuki Mbugua and Ethiopian Deribe Robi who respectively clocked 2:14:28 in second place and 2:14:37 in third place.

 "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 US$57,000.

Misiker 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. "It was windy, it was very hard, because it was in the face a lot," she said immediately after securing her US$57,000. "I felt good, and confident, and now I feel very happy."

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 Marathon Championships title, thus emulating her victory the last time it was held in Hong Kong, in 2008. Kumi Ogura of Japan finished second in the time of 2:35:02 while Kirghizistan runner Andreeva luliia followed in third place with 2:39:49.

In the men's race, the favourite, Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, from Mongolia, won the Asian title in a time of 2:17:56, almost two minutes and a half minute ahead of first runner up Anoley Petrov from Uzebekistan and four minutes and a half ahead of third runner up Janpanese runner Kenzo Kawabata.

Koyama Yuta of Japan won the men's Half Marathon race in 1:08:49. Followed by Hong Kong runner Kiprotich Thomas and Duenas John Philip of Philippines.

Hong Kong runner Yiu Kit Ching successfully defended her title finishing 1:20:47 in women's Half Marathon race. For the runners-up, Hodgskin Jane beat another Hong Kong runner Cheung Hoi Wah Sarah with less than a minute.

Defending champion Chan Ka Ho of Hong Kong finished second this year in the men's 10km, beaten by Australian Clinton Mackevkius while Tang Ho Fai also from Hong Kong followed in third place. In the women's race, Hong Kong runner Cheung Ting Yan won the champion while Yu Wing Hay and Kong Lai Ming are the runners up.

Also featured in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon are the Half Marathon and 3km Wheelchair race. Respectively, Fung Ying Ki and Cheng Yan Keung finished in first place.

Mr Benjamin Hung, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, said, "We are honoured to have been the title sponsor of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon for 17 consecutive years, and to have witnessed the event grow into one of the biggest sporting events in Hong Kong. With each step the runners take, they are helping to spread the four visions of the Marathon: "Green", "Health", "Unity" and "Charity". Their determination and persistence in running communicate a sense of positive energy to our wider Hong Kong society. I applaud everyone's efforts today, and am already looking forward next year."

Meanwhile, the 5th annual Leaders Cup attracted top decision-makers to put aside their work for the morning to take part in the 1.8km race, which was competitive yet filled with a spirit of fun. The participants spared no energy in their efforts to finish the race, while simultaneously enjoying every moment of this worthwhile charity event. The winner of the Cup, Mrs. Jennifer L. Harvey, Crown Worldwide Holdings Limited, once again proved herself to be not only a top decision maker, but also no mean athlete!

"Run for a Reason" is the global theme for all nine Standard Chartered Marathons held around the world. In this race, runners ran for a wide range of different but equally valuable reasons. Showing true strength of spirit despite their physical disabilities, wheelchair athletes took part in the 2nd 3km Wheelchair race and the Half Marathon Wheelchair Race, which was held for the first time. Paralympics Marathon medalist Henry Wanyoike and his guide Joseph Kibunja once again ran on behalf of charity to raise funds for "Seeing is Believing", one of the three beneficiaries of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon Charity Programme. The world's oldest marathon runner, 101 year-old Fauja Singh, completed his final race before retiring, in the process raising funds for the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled. Also contributing to the marathon spirit were the many DJs, guest singers and enthusiastic members of the public who supported the runners by their enthusiastic cheering.

See also: Pictures of the 2013 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, Hong Kong, Standard Chartered, Triathlon, Marathon, Hong Kong Marathon

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