HK marathon tells spec­ta­tors: No drones

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

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.

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