Knowledge Exchange

Preparation, Passion, and Perseverance: Steps to Complete the Full Marathon

Samantha Pei (Class of 2019)

The Hong Kong Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, can trace its history back 40 years to Sek Kong in 1981 and since those humble beginnings, it has grown to become one of the flagship races in the region welcoming thousands of local and overseas runners every edition. Each year the marathon is the largest participatory sporting event in Hong Kong and it prides itself on representing Hong Kong’s determination and community spirit.

This year, the race was held on Sunday, 24th October 2021 with the special privilege of being Hong Kong’s first major mass participatory sporting event since the pandemic started. With many eager racers keen to return to this special race the event welcomed a total of 18,500 participants across the marathon, half-marathon, and 10KM distances.

Today we chat with one of this year’s runners Samantha Pei, Class of 2019, who proudly completed the full marathon and would like to share her experience.

HKU MBA: Samantha, congratulations on completing the full marathon.

Samantha Pei: Thank you for sharing the joy of my achievement. I am thrilled to complete my first full marathon, to be one of 441 women among 3,641 full marathon runners in Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2021, and last but not least, I was proud to be part of Hong Kong’s first mass participatory sporting event since the pandemic.

HKU MBA: It is a wonderful achievement. Tell us, what was your motivation in completing a full marathon?

Samantha Pei: Just like studying for my MBA, running a full marathon has always been on my bucket list. I have participated in Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon since 2007, but never completed the full distance. I first joined as a 10 km runner and gradually challenged myself to extend to the a half-marathon with the ultimate goal in my mind was always to complete the full marathon once in my life. I successfully registered for the 2020 marathon and was excitedly training right until the moment it was cancelled at the last minute. So after almost 2 years of waiting it was an immense relief to complete it now.


HKU MBA: Competing a full marathon is no mean feat, can you share some of the specific challenges and experiences?

Samantha Pei: Definitely. I would like to describe this memorable experience with a few key words started with P: Purpose, Personal Best, Passion, Present, Preparation, and Persistency!#Purpose: Everyone may run for different purposes, but there is a common mantra and goal at the heart of this race, “Together We Run Further”. It is amazing that we all unite together for this meaningful run.

#PersonalBest: My personal best is not about how fast that I can finish but to complete my first full marathon (42.195 km) within the time limit safely, and I am glad that I made it. Everyone’s pace is different, so just try to do your own best.#Passion: I am passionate about charity, sports, and personal growth, which all drive my motivation and participation. Finding your own passion and doing something you love is of the utmost importance.

#Present: The pandemic has made me reflect and try to have a deeper appreciation of “living in present”. Despite the concerns over the hot and humid weather in Oct, as well as the limited training time after the rearranged dates were only announced in early Sept, I was determined to succeed. At every step, I valued the opportunity because of the reduced number of racers this year and I kept reminding myself to enjoy the present moment.

#Preparation: As a first-time full marathon runner, I sought advice from others so that I could be as physically and mentally prepared as possible for any unanticipated changes. This enabled me to keep reminding myself to stay energetic and positive, especially for the last 10 km.#Persistency: I appreciate all the precious advice, encouragement, support, love, and care that everyone extended to me which motivated me to persevere to the finish line.

At the end of this great experience, I must extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who cheered me on during the race and all those who contributed to making this event happen. Lastly, I want to also thank HKU who supported me with various exercising channels, including being part of the HKU Marathon Team, the HKU “Mini” Walking Challenge in May 2021, HKU MBA Badminton Tournament in June 2021, all of which helped contribute to me becoming a successful marathon runner.