Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Air that Runners Breathe

I read the following report with interest on “Runner critical after Hong Kong Marathon” (Sunday 4 March 2007) sent to me by a runner’s friend. It is quite similar to “A runner should not blame the running shoes for poor cushioning when one sustains leg injury in running.”

Another runner showed concern about the coming SMART Tunnel 14km run on this Sunday 11 March. Obviously, he is concern with the air that runners breathe while running in the tunnel. Other runners are concerned with the echo of footsteps that might be offensive on runners’ eardrums.

Another runner commented that he read in the registration form that participants with health conditions such as heart or asthmatic illness are not encouraged to take park in this event.

I say that it is important that the organizer switches on the ventilation system in the tunnel. Otherwise, the runners are breathing in stale air, which is not the way running should be.

Nevertheless, having that one-in-a-life-time chance to run there in commemorating the opening of SMART tunnel overshadows all other minor concerns.

Jason Lee, one of the Pacesetters Club photographers, will be taking photos at the run, including runners in running action in the tunnel. It is a slightly different ball game as it involves flash photography in action shots.

I have a pre-planed activity on the same Sunday – trekking up Pine Hills in Fraser’s Hill with Wendy and Group. This is a series of planned trekking trips in preparation for the 17-day trekking trip to Nepal on 23 May 2007.

I wish all runners a memorable and enjoyable run. Whatever is the condition in the SMART tunnel – whether good or bad – will definitely leave an imprint in a runner’s memory that the story is good for years to come.


Runner critical after HK marathon

HONG KONG - One runner was in critical condition on Sunday after tens of thousands braved steamy conditions and pollution warnings to take part in the annual Hong Kong marathon.

'There is one male patient whose condition is critical,' a Hospital Authority spokeswoman said. Five other patients were in a stable or satisfactory condition, she said.

Organising committee chairman William Ko earlier said the male runner was 'considered rather serious' but did not have further details. Thirty-four people needed hospital treatment, he added.

A 53-year-old man collapsed and died and about 5,000 needed medical treatment during last year's race, which took place in high levels of pollution.

Ko hit back at one leading expert who warned athletes were risking serious heart problems by running in Hong Kong's notorious smog.

'That to me was a negative approach,' he said. 'Our positive approach is very simple - we advised to have better training and better preparation for the race.

'This year the situation was miles better than last year.' Pollution levels hovered at medium to high according to Hong Kong's air pollution index, which green groups have criticised for being out of date.

Relative humidity reached 95 per cent in temperatures of about 25 degrees Celsius.

A record 43,956 runners entered the 10km, half-marathon and marathon events. Kenyan athletes finished first, second and third in both the men’s and women's marathons.

Steven Loruo Kamar won the men's event in 2:17.03 sec and Rose Kembo Nyangacha was the fastest woman in 2:38.19.

Worsening air pollution has become a key political and social issue in the southern Chinese territory bordering Guangdong, one of the mainland’s major industrial areas. – AFP

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