A Comparison between Hong Kong and Boston Marathon Posted on January 24, 2018

By Rameshon

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Picture 1 – We just completed the Hong Kong Marathon 2018 with several Athletes getting personal best times 

In 1994, I ran in the Singapore International Marathon and did a time of 2hr 34min 02sec. (Yvonne Danson, 2hr 34min, national record holder in Chiangmai SEA Games was selected to go to Boston Marathon and I was also selected to go for Boston Marathon 1995. 

The first prize for winning the Singapore International marathon was  a sponsorship deal for sports equipment from Brooks, on top of being selected for the Boston Marathon. Nike told me that they will give me $6000 worth of cash and $6000 worth of goods in kind as well and not to take Brooks offer, so that I don’t have to wear their products. I did not want any automatic sponsorship from Brooks as prize as I was already sponsored by Nike, at that time.

During that time, I, had this believe, and even now, to use my legs to do the talking, and not mere usage of words to get sponsorship. For me, action speak louder than words and sponsors just came to me requesting, and I did not use any form of effort to see them. In fact, I was very careful with sponsors, as to not bind me into things that make things very difficult. 

Ms Rina Loh, the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association secretary, as part of the Singapore International marathon race price, gave me the flight ticket to fly by myself to go to Boston. The hotels and others services were pre-paid. The only thing was not done by the SAAA  admin was that I was not registered. I had to do the payment by myself as it was already Saturday and the SAAA office was closed. I was stranded and did not know what to do. 

To get myself registered, I was pushy with the organisers and they finally gave me the 3hr 20min group,for start, for Boston Marathon. My plea, was to put me in front with the elite runners, 2hr 30min and below, was in vain. At that time, I was having a personal best time of 2hr 28min, which was done in 1993 Berlin Marathon. 

Anyway, I thought that it was good that the organisers gave me the green light to, at least, run with a reasonably good timing group of runners, but not the elite group. (It is good to take note here that in Physiological research, 2hr 30min and below has been classified as elite. I was very happy of the ability to get myself registered, even though I was severely disadvantaged by the lineup. During my stay in Boston, most of the time was spent by being alone.  

During the race, I realised that there were barricades on the left and the right and the road was narrow. The weather was cool before the Boston Marathon 1995 race. It was found that I was 50m from the start. 

The moment the race started, I realised that, the enthusiastic athletes, people beside me, were merely walking, instead of running. As I was aiming for a 2hr 25min, I had to zig-zag my way out of the crowd and nearly got myself elbowed, few times, as some were angry as I was frantically trying to move to the front of the slow running crowd. Everything was in vain. 

Once out of the crowd, at the 10km, my time was found to be 33min 20sec, and I felt comfortable. At the half way point, I did about 1hr 12min 30sec. However, the dodging and zig-zag running had taken the toll out of me and I had to slow down. At the last 30km, I was doing a pace which could still give me a 2hr 30min. I was terribly discouraged by this as it was not my target time. The initial frantic move to run to the front at the start had killed me and I finally got a cramp at the hamstring area and I was not able to run. At that point, I stopped and backed out of the race. The spectators were very helpful and they called the ambulance for me. 

Hence, it would be good to elaborate on terrain found in Boston, having run part of the Boston and Hong Kong Marathon race, I find that it is good idea to study the terrain of both country’s races. 

In Hong Kong Marathon, it is good to run, as the start is wide, as opposed to Boston Marathon. Hong Kong has many up and down hills just like Boston. However, in Boston, it was like a roller coaster ride going down hill for me. There hills in Boston, but it is not as bad as Hong Kong Marathon 2018. 

If one wants to get a very good personal best time, it is a good idea to do hill workout of a steady nature on a long stretch of hills. The only thing that is advisable on my part to advise is for people to teach the muscles to learn to run downwards. The cramps that I got has to do with lack of downhill running. I got myself very tired because of the muscles getting fatigued from running downhill. Hence, missing Boston Marathon is not an option for people who want to do a very good personal best time. The mantra for this is good planning by the athlete.

Having said that, it will be good to give my feedback For people who want to do a life time best, it  is to opt for Boston Marathon and not to miss it. To those who ran and did a personal best time in Hong Kong Marathon 2018, for me, means, good news awaits you!