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Top Female Europeans compete in Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2004

Travel News Asia 5 January 2004

Two of the top female European marathoners will compete in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2004, to be held on Sunday 8 February, in bid of the champion title and winning purse of US$13,000.

Violetta Uryga of Poland and Denmark's Gitte Karlshoj will be running again in this year's race, after losing out to China's Sun Wei-wei last time. The Polish runner finished second in 2:39:51 in her first visit to Hong Kong while the Dane was two places behind her with a time of 2:41:46.

After capturing the runner-up in Hong Kong in February, Uryga took part in the Nagoya Marathon in Japan and achieved her personal best of 2:34:44. A month later, she won the Wroclaw Marathon in her home country, for the third consecutive time, in 2:39:27. Her extra-ordinary performances at these three races in three months provided a very strong evidence of the chance to win the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon this year.

Veteran runner Gitte Karlshoj is well known for her consistency. She has recorded strong performances in the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon, over the few years, finishing 11th in 2003 (2:40:52), 9th in 2002 (2:35:01), 13th in both 2000 (2:35:11) and 2001 (2:36:36). Despite of her fourth-placed finish in Hong Kong, she was crowned the 2003 Odense Marathon in Denmark with an excellent performance of 2:34:37 at the age of 44. She was also the winner of the 2000 and 2001 Odense Marathons with a respectable time of 2:35:39 and 2:32:40 respectively. Standard Chartered Marathon 2004 will be the best warm-up race for Karlshoj to get ready for the international Boston competition this April.

The Organizer has confirmed 40 international runners from 20 countries in the February race while local entries are as encouraging. Over 21,400 runners enrolled in the three races (marathon, half marathon and 10km race) and broke Hong Kong's highest participation record of 18,682 in advance of the entry deadline. The deadline of entry is set on 8 January 2004 and the quota is 22,000. Interested parties are suggested to submit their entry forms together with the HK$320 entry fee as soon as possible.

Local and international runners will assemble along Nathan Road for the start from 6:45am onwards on Sunday 8 February 2004 to showcase "The Hong Kong Spirit, The Marathon Spirit" to people in Hong Kong and around the world.

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