OPCFHK “RUN FOR SURVIVAL” Charity Run Returns With a New “Leaders Cup”
Participants Confront Ocean Killers to Protect the Ecological Balance
(February 28, 2016, Hong Kong) “RUN FOR SURVIVAL”, the marine conservation themed charity race initiated by Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) last year, returned today to Hong Kong Science Park and challenged runners in surviving the ruthless “Ocean Killers”. Supporting this pioneering and fun initiative that aims to highlight the importance and urgency of marine conservation, Mr. Lau Ming-wai, Vice-Chairman of Ocean Park, and Mr. Vince Ng were invited to compete for the new “Leaders Cup”. They were joined by Ms. Judy Chen, JP, Chair of OPCFHK, Ms. Suki Chui and Mr. Ken Hung at the prize presentation ceremony. Mr. Wong Kam-sing, JP, Secretary for the Environment, and Mr. Patrick Lai, Acting Assistant Director (Country and Marine Parks) of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, also shared their insights into marine conservation at the event.
In this unconventional race that aims to enhance public awareness of the dire threats against marine life, participants play the role of either “Marine Animals” or “Conservationists” struggling for survival in the face of various dangers and obstacles, such as the “Ocean Killers”, marine debris and fishing nets. This year, “RUN FOR SURVIVAL” offered a variety of awards and prizes, including the male and female “Super-speed Marine Animal” and “Super-speed Conservationist, “Top Fundraiser”, “Best Dressed Award” and the new “Leaders Cup”.
Mr. Lau Ming-wai, Deputy Chairman of Ocean Park Hong Kong, showed his support to marine conservation by joining the 3km “Leaders’ Cup” “The race combined charity, sports and conservation by incorporating conservation messages into running, which has become a popular sport. Participants could experience how marine animals are struggling for survival in the wild. I tried to escape from Ocean Killers while keeping an eye on other obstacles along the racecourse. It was actually nerve-racking! With great threats faced by our oceans, I hope our participants can learn more about the 3 key issues of marine debris, overfishing and pollution through the event.”
Ms. Judy Chen, Chair of OPCFHK, also elaborated on the aim of the run at the prize presentation ceremony and said, “Not only did the charity run raise funds to support our wildlife conservation efforts in Asia and provide opportunities for participants to learn more about marine conservation and put it into action, parents and kids also joined hands to combat the challenges facing the oceans in this family-friendly and educational event.”
Mr. Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for the Environment, urged, “In order to protect Hong Kong’s precious marine resources, the government will implement several marine conservation measures in different phases. This includes the designation of three new marine parks in the Brothers Islands, Southwest Lantau and the Soko Islands for the long-term protection of the Chinese white dolphins. The Government has also embarked on the exercise to develop the first “Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan” to outline a five-year plan to conserve the biodiversity of Hong Kong. We hope to receive your views and comments on this strategy and action plan.”
Suki and Ken also lent their support to the occasion as the special guests. As a mother of three, Suki had participated in the run for two consecutive years, and encouraged her children to protect the oceans in daily life. “As a mother, I believe it is important to teach our next generation to love the environment and maintain biodiversity. I will take them to the Ocean Park and beaches whenever I have time, and show them the marine life, so that they will learn to protect and care for our marine ecosystem. Sometimes I will make crafts with my girls using upcycled materials to reduce waste.”
Also believing that small changes in everyday life make a big difference, Ken urged the public to “buy smart, eat smart and use smart”. “We all have the responsibility to protect the oceans, which are in dire need of help. Every species plays a unique role in the ecosystem and their extinction will lead to the collapse of the whole system. Intense and non-selective fishing practices as well as unregulated fishing activities have resulted in a significant drop in the number of marine animals. To maintain the biodiversity, we should avoid buying or consuming endangered species. As marine animals often mistake plastic for food, we should also bring our own utensils and drinking straws.” Suki and Ken then shared tips on upcycling by transforming an old T-shirt into a tote bag. They also introduced the stainless steel drinking straws popular in Taiwan, encouraging the public to adopt a green lifestyle and protect the oceans.
Over 1,000 people were attracted by the innovative games and participated in the first “RUN FOR SURVIVAL” last year, including families and kids. The runners were confronted by attacks of Ocean Killers and other marine threats along the race. The exciting run introduced them to the huge challenges encountered by our marine animals and deepened their understanding of conservation. The fund raised supported the Foundation’s conservation and education programmes which reached over 100,000 members of general public and students in 2014/15. This year, the run offered a new 10km Time Challenge route for professional runners (male and female groups) and a 3km Fun Run for individuals, friends and families (family group) who opted for a more playful exercise. The funds raised will support OPCFHK’s wildlife conservation efforts in Asia.
–The End –