Message from the Chair – Jan 2020

Dear AVOHK Members

I do hope you all had an enjoyable Chinese New Year. AVOHK wish you and your families good health and good fortune in the year of the Rat. With the coronavirus causing concern this is not a great start to the New Year but as the song goes “Things can only get better”.

AVOHK’s biggest event of the year, the 2020 AVOHK Gammon China Coast Marathon and Half Marathon, was held on Sunday, 19th January 2020, in Sai Kung Country Park. There is a race report in this month’s newsletter but here is a short summary. Approximately 400 runners toed the starting line in the marathon and 600 in the Half Marathon. We were blessed with glorious fresh weather at the start, almost ideal running conditions. Harry Loasby, I believe competing in his first marathon, led the runners home in a fast time of 2 hr 42 min 57 sec with Amy Mumford, the first lady, in 3 hr 32 min. In the Half marathon, first home was Ed Gumbley in 1 hr 17 min with Caitriona Jennings leading the ladies home in 1 hr 22 min. Caitriona competed for Ireland at the 2012 Olympics and has a personal best marathon time of 2 hr 36 min. The day was made even more special by our 2 Rats (Big Rat Mike Featherstone and Baby Rat Cecil, both kept the runners entertained and we received no complaints from the AFCD. The full results are on the AVOHK website A short video of the event is on YouTube at

The 4th and final race of the 2019/20 AVOHK Reservoir Series is due to take place at Shing Mun Reservoir on Saturday, 15th February 2020. Given the current situation with the coronavirus, we will review the situation on Monday, 10th February 2020. It would be great if we can stick with the schedule and wrap the series up per the original date but we will have to wait and see. This information has gone out to all runners who have entered for the 4th Race.

2020 Round-the-Island Time Trial will be held on Sunday, 11th October 2020. We have provisional approval from AFCD to hold the event and expect full approval shortly. Entry details will be out around July timeframe. A big thank you to Dave Smith for again volunteering as Race Director. This is an event that requires quite a few volunteers to man and resource checkpoints. There will be the customary RTI buffet dinner and prize giving and we are in the process of looking for a suitable venue.

Malcolm Phillips 5K race will be held at 4pm on Sat 9th May 2020 starting at the Pagoda on Bowen Road. This is a great way to remember our dear friend Malcolm who left us in 2006. Malcolm was long standing member of both AVOHK and the HKLRRC. This is an age-graded race, so not necessarily the first runner home wins. A big thank you to Race Directors Elaine Hall and Derek Irwin for again taking up the challenge. Entry details out shortly.

A very early notice and a date for your diary that the AVOHK Annual General Meeting will be held at Café 8 at 7pm on Thursday, 11th June 2020. It would be appreciated if members can make a special effort to attend this important meeting where AVOHK’s business of the day will be discussed and also the AVOHK Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards are presented. It is great opportunity to meet Club members in a social setting and what better venue than Café 8.

In this month’s newsletter, please do take note of the overseas calendar (Vets Vade Mecum). There are some wonderful Masters meets to attend, including the World Masters in Toronto in July. Mention is made of Yuko Gordon who represented Hong Kong at the 1984 Olympics. Yuko is based in UK these days and last year ran a 3 hr 19 min marathon at the age of 68. As usual there a few tacky and difficult to understand remarks from Railbird but he does dig out some interesting athletic information from the cyberworld. There is a report (again) on that shoe (Vaporfly), Bill Purves writes about “The First Walks”, articles on shooting at the Commonwealth games, the health benefits of going to the Cinema and something called plogging(!!!), the cancellation of the Hong Kong Marathon and supportive comments from the running community. Club member Bhoovarahan Desikan was due to complete his 100th marathon. There is a very fitting article on the passing of Sir Peter Snell – a Kiwi and an athletic legend. AVOHK Honorary Life Member Rod Dixon and fellow Olympian spoke at his memorial.

February’s Social run will take place on Wednesday, 5th February 2020, starting at 7pm. Further details inside the newsletter. The organizer is Frank Riehm, 9423 5422.

Special mention to Club member Rex Whittle who turned 80 recently and joins John Fowler in a unique club. Rex was 2nd in his age group at the 2020 AVOHK Gammon ½ marathon.

Yours in Running

Colin Whittington