Event History

The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, started in 1997, with a record of entries achieved in each year. Now it has become a signature international sporting event in Hong Kong and was recognised as a “Brand Hong Kong Event” by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.

The 25th Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon attracted some 500 overseas runners, including the line-up of 13 elite runners, following the easing of the Covid measures in Hong Kong. With the return of overseas runners, this ‘M’ Mark mega sports event made a roaring comeback to the city. Among the 37,000 registered runners, 34,783 runners showed up at the Start, with the overall attendance rate achieving a record high of 94%.

To celebrate the 25th edition of the race, title sponsor Standard Chartered Hong Kong has additionally raised the prize money of the 25th Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon to support local runners. Under the ‘Special Incentive Award for Marathon’ for the Marathon Challenge category, permanent Hong Kong residents who cross the finish line under 3 hours (sub 3) for men or under 3 hours 30 minutes for women (sub 3:30) will each take home a special incentive award of HKD10,000. A total of 217 local challengers were encouraged and crowned as Mr. or Ms. Thousand PUBLIC Super, with 151 men and 66 women respectively, also a record high in the event history.
Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, which was suspended due to the COVID-19 in 2020, had returned with physical races on 24 October 2021. It was the first large-scale sports event in Hong Kong since the pandemic.
To comply with the government epidemic prevention measures, all runners participated in the physical race required to receive the government-approved COVID-19 vaccine and conduct a Nucleic acid test for COVID-19 within 72 hours before race.

In addition, to encourage more runners to participate in this annual distance running event under the pandemic, Virtual Run had been introduced for the Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10KM races, which was successfully completed from 25 October to 14 November 2021. Runners were required to record their runs using the official app. Runners had been given an e-certificate, a medal and a commemorative T-shirt after verification of their running records.
Personalised bibs were introduced for the first time in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2019 to enhance runners’ race experience. All runners could choose to print their first name on their bibs to make the bibs as mementos.
In addition, all participants who finished the race within the time limit, were given a finisher medal and marathon finishers could also engrave their names or a personalized message on their medal for free.

On the other hand, with an aim to provide runners with more convenience and promote a green marathon, runners’ pack collection letter and exclusive e-coupons were sent to runners by electronic means. A mobile app for the Event was launched which provided access to the digital race handbook and other race related information.
Continuing as an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2018 came to a successful conclusion on 21 January. The overall race quota was increased to 74,000 and a record number of 11,000 overseas athletes participated in this year’s race. In the Women’s Marathon, the top three women runners, who are all from Ethiopia, smashing the course record of Women Marathon set in 2012, while Gulume Tollesa Chala, the defending champion of last year, succeeded the championship with a time of 2:29:36.

In addition to the main races, a 1km Family Run was established and the Youth Dash was resumed. Another new initiative, the Public Ballot Entry (Team) was added to the 10km Run this year, allowing runners to form their own group and enjoy the marathon with their family and friends. The “Charity Entry” quota, introduced last year, was doubled in 2018 and attracted 600 local and overseas athletes to compete and raise funds for the official marathon charities.
Marking its second consecutive year being recognised as a Gold Label Road Race by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2017 successfully concluded on 12 February. The new public ballot registration system had achieved a great success and eliminated various restrictions which hindered runners from joining this major event in Hong Kong.

The launch of the Live Tracking feature in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon App was widely welcomed as this instant feature enabled participants to check their progress and share their achievements via social media platforms.
As the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2016 celebrates its 20th anniversary with 74,000 runners, the event concluded successfully on 17 January and was upgraded as an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold Label Road Race. 16 Gold Label runners were invited to Hong Kong to compete in the Marathon.

In addition, the Marathon and Half Marathon route was also revamped, using an extension of Nathan Road (the main road) leading to Argyle Street for the first time. The new arrangements were well received by the participants as it provided a better running experience in the first 3 km after the Start, offered more space for spectators and organised cheering groups.
The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2015 successfully concluded on 25 January. Several new initiatives were introduced to the event this year, including a pilot race "Youth Dash" which attracted 500 teenagers. Priority Entry was also launched to offer qualified 2014 runners a priority registration.

For the first time in the marathon history, the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) was broadcasted live to all participants during the event. There was also a new extension of route prior to Finish - running along Hennessy Road, Yee Wo Street and turned into Sugar Street before finishing at Victoria Park, enhancing the overall race experience. This urban route was welcomed by participants, as it could accommodate more spectators cheering the runners before the Finish.
Maintained its status as a Silver Label Race by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2014 successfully concluded on 16 February, with the total of 73,000 participants which again hit a record high, making this the largest race ever in the event history. With the increase in the prize money, up to US$300,000, more overseas elite runners, coming from over 60 countries and regions, were attracted to compete in the event. Wheelchair Races (3km and a pilot 10km Wheelchair Race) continued this year to further promote the sport to people with different abilities and to foster social harmony.
Following its upgrade to Silver Label Road Race status by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013 successfully concluded on 24 February. In addition, as the Asian Marathon Championships was concurrently held this year again, elite athletes from over 44 Asian countries and regions were invited to take part in the Marathon, making the 2013 event more eagerly anticipated than ever. Following the success in the pilot Marathon Wheelchair Race in 2012, the Half Marathon Wheelchair Race was introduced for the first time this year.
Recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a Bronze Label event, the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2012 successfully concluded on 5 February, with a record-breaking figure of 70,000 participants. The fifteen-year-old Men’s Marathon race record was beaten by 7 runners including the 2012 champion Dereje Ali, from Ethiopia, in one of the most exciting finishes in the history of the event in a time of 2:11:27. The ten-year-old Women’s Marathon race record was also broken by Misiker Demissie, another Ethiopian, in a time of 2:30:12.

The Full Marathon Wheelchair Event and 3km Wheelchair Event were introduced for the first time this year. The change of route in Central District provided the magnificent scenery of Victoria Harbour as well as the new Central Government Offices.
With the theme of “Join the Race, Share the Spirit", the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2011 successfully concluded on 20 February, and set a new record of 65,000 entrants. The early start times of the Full Marathon provided runners with a more favourable environment of better air quality, which as a result to achieve better times. The total prize money of the 2011 event was raised to US$150,000, placing the Standard Chartered Marathon as one of the Asia's most prominent marathons and attracted more local and overseas elite runners to join the race.
With a record of over 60,000 runners, the annual Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon was successfully held on 28 February 2010. For the first time the Full Marathon was run on Stonecutters Bridge (Route 8 between Tsing Yi and Cheung Sha Wan). One additional 10km race was held to cope with the increase of entries. Such arrangements proved to be effective as runners had more space to run on along the courses. The District Councils Challenge Cup, Leaders Cup, Discipline Forced Cups and the Most Supportive Group Award were also held with overwhelming supports and participations from various sectors of the Hong Kong community.
In response to the increase in participation over the past years, the entry quota for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2009 was raised to 55,000 to allow more runners to participate in this major sporting event in Hong Kong. To further enhance the event, new categories were added in the event, including the District Councils Challenge Cup, The Best Costume Award, and most notably the newly introduced Leaders Cup - a race featuring senior executives, community leaders and celebrities competing in a 2km course. The Best Costume Award aimed to promote running in a healthy living environment.
The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2008 experienced a new Finish at Victoria Park, for the first time. The 10km race was held on the Island Eastern Corridor while both Full and Half Marathon adopted the same route but with a new extension from Wanchai to Causeway Bay, offering all participants a brand-new race experience. Such arrangement enabled more spectators to watch the event in the last 1km and cheer for the runners and their friends at the last stretch of the marathon race course. The total number of participants reached over 50,000, and marked another record of entries.

The 11th Asian Marathon Championships was held concurrently with over 13 Asian countries / regions took part in this event.
Two special race categories, namely the 10th Anniversary Handover Cup and Media Challenge Cup, were launched in Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2007. To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Handover of Hong Kong to China, a 10th Anniversary Handover Cup was presented and 18 District Councils were invited to form teams to compete for this special trophy. Another new initiative, the Media Challenge Cup, was also introduced in 2007 and media were invited to take part. With the support from District Councils, media and general public, the number of total entries increased to 43,956, breaking the record of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon once again this year.
The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2006 was staged on 12 February 2006, with a total of 40,174 entries. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon since its inaugural race in 1997. In celebration of this milestone, Standard Chartered Hong Kong offered a special prize money of over HK$144,000 to local runners in the event this year. Once again, Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon served as the finale of "The Greatest Race on Earth" (GROE), the international marathon challenge held in four different cities around the world. Hong Kong Team came second in North East Asia Region of the GROE in this year challenge!
The record of entries of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon broke through once again in this year as it has attracted 31,330 runners to participate in the event! This year, Standard Chartered launched the "The Greatest Race on Earth", a challenging virtual relay race across their four established marathons in Hong Kong, Singapore, Nairobi and Mumbai. It was an honour for Hong Kong to be positioned as the final race of this series, in which attracted over 60 elite international marathon runners to compete.
The number of entries this year increased to over 24,000 runners. The weather on the race day was the coldest in the event history, it imposed tough challenges to runners, volunteers, supporting organisations and the organiser.
Celebrating 150th Anniversary of Standard Chartered Bank, the prize money was topped up to US100,000. The number of runners in 2003 was 18,500 and it was 18 times of the number in the inaugural race in 1997.
With the success of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in the past 5 years, Hong Kong hosted the 8th Asian Marathon Championships at the same time. 24 Asian countries / regions participated in the event with other runners from over 60 countries. Time Bonus and Asian Best Times Awards were introduced. Japan and China won the Men and Women Asian titles respectively. Total number of participants has reached a record high of over 13,000 runners.
2001 marked a significant year of breakthrough for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. Using Nathan Road, one of the oldest roads on Kowloon, as the start of the race, the race course stretched through two tunnels (Cheung Tsing & Western Harbour) and two bridges (Tsing Ma and Ting Kau), and finished at Golden Bauhinia Square, location of the handover ceremony of Hong Kong. The number of runners broke through the 10,000 barriers this year.
The Standard Chartered Marathon in this year featured a special harbourfront start, with runners taking their marks in the shadow of the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. Following the start, the course covered some of Kowloon's most famous landmarks, including the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, numeral iconic real estates, and the Ting Kau Bridge, and finished at the Sham Shui Po Sports Ground. This year, the event was categorised in 3 different distances, including the marathon, half marathon and 10km, for the first time. As a result, it marked another record for number of entries.
Moving the Marathon into the heart of city, the race started in Central District on Hong Kong Island on Chater Road and finished at Sham Shui Po Sports Ground on Kowloon side. Running through the Western Harbour Tunnel and Cheung Tsing Tunnels for the first time, the number of runners increased to nearly 7,000.
Marking of a super structure ever built in Hong Kong, the Marathon took place in the newly built Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, with the Start on the Tsing Ma Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world, and ended on the Airport runway. The scenic route this year has attracted over 6,000 participants.
The inaugural Standard Chartered Marathon, running from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China, was staged as a cross-border race, as a symbolic event celebrating the return of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China. Starting in Sheung Shui in Hong Kong, running through the border of Huanggang into Shenzhen, China, the race attracted over 1,000 entries, drawing at the time a large international field of runners ever invited to a distance running event in Hong Kong.

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