Rat Race to include new hamster wheel twist

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am


Running fast used to be enough to win the Central Rat Race. But this time around, it is how quick one can roll in an inflated hamster wheel.

That is among the new challenges in the charity event on October 14, which organisers have packed with more novel and creative tests.

Now in its seventh year, the race takes participants through fast-paced challenges that mimic corporate life - all while wearing outrageous costumes - to raise money for Mindset, which supports mental-health-related activities and projects in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Pang Yiu-kai, chief executive of Hongkong Land, which organises the event each year, said: 'We have a lot of new twists and turns this year that demand physical and mental health - both of which are critical for daily corporate life in a fast-paced city like Hong Kong.'

Registration for the race began yesterday, with space for 60 teams on a first-come, first-served basis. Each team must have eight members and raise a minimum of HK$50,000 for Mindset, an organisation set up by Jardine Matheson.

Each team member will participate in one leg of the eight-part relay race, with a briefcase used as the baton. The course begins and ends on Chater Road, between Alexandra House and Chater House, traversing several buildings and streets within the district.

Challenges include navigating through a 'pressure box' maze, fishing for a cheese block and running inside an inflated hamster wheel outside Jardine House.

Organisers added a new test - unlocking a ball and chain tied around a teammate's ankle - to symbolise 'breaking out' one's potential or perhaps illustrating the burden of lugging oneself to work every morning.

'We made leg three more intellectually rather than physically challenging this year by requiring our Rat Racers to solve a puzzle - something most of us need to do almost every day,' Pang said.

The emphasis on the mental aspect of the race highlights the beneficiary charity's push to erase the stigma of mental illness.

Last year's Central Rat Race drew 450 participants and raised a total of HK$2.62 million, with the CB Richard Ellis team winning.

There are three condensed versions of the obstacle race: the NGO Rat Race, which debuted last year; the Big Rat Race, a shorter and less gruelling race for older executives; and a Junior Rat Race for children between five and eight years old, who will compete to see who can spin the fastest inside a hamster wheel.