Escape the rat race and run for charity
Quinton Chan and Helen Wu
Feel like you're caught in a trap at the office?
Well, fear not, the city's first 'rat race', to be held in October, will allow all 'office vermin' to scamper together in the streets of Central - in suits and ties.
The rat race, first held on New York's Wall Street in 1987, involved teams of office workers in business suits and carrying brief cases.
The city's version of the event, an initiative by Hongkong Land, will be staged on October 15. Participants, who may also choose creative 'rat-ical' costumes, must perform various team tasks in the heart of Central.
Shirley Woo, communications manager of Hongkong Land, said the company hoped to attract 500 to 600 entrants to the inaugural event.
'We're inviting companies, especially those offices and headquarters in the buildings owned by our company, to send teams to the event. Each team is expected to raise $50,000 in order to join,' Ms Woo said, adding that all proceeds would go to Mindset, a charity that promotes awareness of mental-health issues.
The race will start in Chater Road. Participants will proceed to Chater Garden then on to the six Central buildings owned by the developer, such as the Princes Building, Exchange Square and Jardine House.
After completing the tasks, many of which carry allegorical meaning in relation to the road to success, runners must return to Chater Road to finish the race.
An after-race party is being organised.
Ms Woo said the race was originally scheduled to be held on a Saturday afternoon after workers finished their morning duties. But this idea was scrapped because of fears the race would cause traffic jams.
'The idea to hold such a fun run in Central was conceived a few years ago,' Ms Woo said.
'It aims to promote Central and Hong Kong as Asia's leading business district. But unfortunately it was delayed until now due to the Sars outbreak in 2003. If the inaugural run is well-received, we hope to make it an annual event.'
Rat races are held in the financial centres and capital cities of the US, Canada and Britain. Kuala Lumpur also has an annual rat race for charity.
The New York race was designed to help charity and to commemorate the income-tax filing deadline on April 15.