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Endurance and Perseverance on Land and at Sea | 一分耕耘,一分收穫

Kwan Sek-yiu in 1978 - HKUGA Victoria Harbour Swimming Team

Kwan Sek-yiu 關錫堯BSc(Eng) 1974

By Kwan Sek-yiu


This is the 40th year that I have participated in marathons. My plan is to run full marathons for 50 years.


My first marathon dates back to December 4, 1977. There were no half-marathons or 10k races then, so the full marathon was the only option. I was among some 200 runners who paid the $2 entry fee to run the gruelling 42.195 kilometres. Only 60 of us finished the full course within the five-hour time limit. Twenty years later, in 1997, the Open Marathon was named the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon when the Bank became the main sponsor.


In 1996, I took part in the 100-km Oxfam Trailwalker for the first time as part of a Hong Kong University Graduates Association (HKUGA) team with three other HKU graduates. I have now participated in this popular fund-raising event every year since 1998, and 2016 sees me taking part in my 20th Trailwalker. Over our 19 years’ participation, the team has raised over $4.23 million to help the underprivileged, with over $2.75 million having been raised by myself. My active involvement in this meaningful event is most rewarding as I get to help many needy people, make good friends, train new members one after another, and share a great team spirit and positive attitude with my peer group. If you are interested in joining the Trailwalker, please email me at


I have also participated in distance swimming events, the first one being the 2,300-yard Cross Tolo Harbour Swim in 1971. For 30 years I have assumed the role of co-ordinator for distance swimming events including the annual New Year Swim, with temperatures ranging from 4ºC to 22 ºC. I feel fortunate to have been able to join the last two Victoria Harbour Swims from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central in 1977 and 1978, and it is disheartening to witness the narrowing of the Victoria Harbour from one mile to one kilometre. 

  • Kwan Sek-yiu in 1977 - First HK Open Marathon
  • First HKUGA Trailwalker Team in 1996
  • HKUGA Trailwalker Team in 2015