Piqued for the Peak!

Piqued for the Peak!

The punishing Hong Kong 24 Hour Race is back for a pumped-up fourth year


From left: Elaina Cayrouse, Georgia Reading, Kiki Chan, George Molina and Angus Yuen
From left: Elaina Cayrouse, Georgia Reading, Kiki Chan, George Molina and Angus Yuen
Photo: Kevin Kung/SCMP
As the Hong Kong 24 Hour Race enters its fourth year, organisers are aiming to raise more money than ever before.

Student-led charity Running To Stop The Traffik is donating proceeds from the event on November 23 and 24 to Freedom Matters, which lobbies against human trafficking in Nepal.

George Molina, a Grade 12 student at Hong Kong International School, is this year's race director.

"We have 470 students from 19 schools joining the race this year," says George. "It's a record-breaking figure. But the toughest part of all the preparation is the catering - we need to give them food during the 24-hour race."

Held on Lugard Road at the Peak, the race was founded in 2010 by Christopher Schrader, a former student at Li Po Chun United World College.

The first race saw more than 170 students from eight schools take part. It raised about US$51,000 for the Esther Benjamins Trust, another charity which tackles human trafficking in Nepal.

This year, the number of runners will more than double, and the fundraising target is HK$1.5 million, equal to the total amount raised over the past three years.

Georgia Reading, a Year 13 student at Chinese International School, is George's deputy. She has been with the race since the very beginning, from marshalling helpers to becoming a runner last year, and now is one of the key people organising the race. "We will reach our fundraising goal if participating students can gain support at their schools. We are also seeking corporate support," she says.

What remains the same is the difficulty of the race. Each team must complete as many laps as possible of a 3.2km route on Lugard Road to win the race.

Elaina Cayrouse, a Year 13 student from German Swiss International School, leads her team. She has played for the national hockey team and passed the silver level of the strenuous hiking requirement of the Hong Kong Award for Young People. But even Elaina is worried about her first race. "The award's hiking assessment exam takes days but it's just walking. The 24 Hour Race is more intense, and so I find it more challenging," she says.

This year, for the first time, local schools are sending teams to the race, including Diocesan Boys' School and La Salle College.

Angus Yuen Ling-hong, a Form Four student at La Salle, says the school is sending seven runners to the one-day relay.

"We have started jogging for more than an hour a day to enhance our endurance. I'm a distance runner, normally at 400m and 800m track events, but my teammates excel in long distance. I believe we will do well," says Angus.

"Our target is to be better than Diocesan Boys' School, in terms of the number of laps we complete."

The race's director of marketing, Kiki Chan Hiu-ki, a Year 13 student at Singapore International School, hopes the rivalry between the two teams will get the attention of other schools.

"We invited more schools to take part, but they have concerns about the duration of the race. I hope these schools can encourage others to enter," says Kiki.

The event went global after kicking off its first overseas edition in Singapore last year. The event returned to Singapore again this year and a race is planned for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, next year.

"The race is now a global movement, helping us to spread the message about stopping human trafficking," Kiki says.

For live updates or to make a donation, visit facebook.com/runningtostopthetraffik

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