HK marathon tells spectators: No drones
Spectators at Sunday’s Hong Kong marathon have been urged not to put runners in danger by flying drones at one of the city’s biggest sporting events.
Three people were arrested at the Hong Kong Formula E race in October for allegedly operating drones and marathon organizers are keen to avoid a repeat.
With thousands expected to line the 42.195-kilometer route, bosses appealed to people not to bring drones.
“We ask people not to do it because it’s really dangerous for the runners,” said William Ko, chairman of the organizing committee, on Friday.
“Once runners realize there’s a drone there, automatically they want to wave and slow down and then there are people from behind coming into them.”
Ko added a television helicopter would alert police to any incidents. He also asked runners not to stop for selfies, which were blamed in 2013 for a string of accidents.
The route in the densely populated city, which has little flat land, hugs the coast and much of it follows expressways that offer little chance for spectators to gather.
The race ducks underneath the famous harbor in a road tunnel before ending on Hong Kong Island.
But Ko said the route now included more sections on city streets with pavements and said residents were embracing the marathon, now billed as the city’s largest participatory sports event.
However, Ko admitted there was little chance road closures could be extended to the evening like they were in leading marathons such as London’s.
Fine weather is forecast for Sunday and defending champion Mike Kiprotich Mutai of Kenya said he was targeting a time below 2 hours and 10 minutes – a full two minutes faster than his 2016 time.
The women’s 2016 champion, Ethiopia’s Letbrhan Haylay Gebreslasea, who recorded a time of 2:36:51 last year, will also be defending her title.