Rat Race a runaway success

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 October, 2007, 12:00am
 

Hundreds of 'rats' scurried around Central yesterday morning.

The 350 executive rats were competing in this year's rat race, running to raise HK$2.23 million for charity.

In the city's second Central Rat Race, 44 teams from 40 companies, sporting rat gear of different colours and styles, ran over a 2.5km adventure track around landmarks in Central with a yellow briefcase in their bid to snare the Rat Race Cup.

All proceeds went to Mindset, which promotes awareness of mental health in the city and mainland.

'I'm relieved. We hope to get a bonus by winning this,' runner Denis Ma On-ping, a manager with Jones Lang LaSalle, half-joked.

His eight-member team walked away with the Rat Race Cup and a big slice of cheese.

Contestant Sammy Wu Chi-ming, an assistant food and beverage manager from the Landmark Mandarin Oriental and Mandarin Oriental Hotel team, which was the first runnerup in the relay, said it was the first time he had joined the race and he had found it very meaningful.

The South China Morning Post team won the Turtle Award for the slowest team. Will Clem, who ran the final leg for the Post, said he enjoyed the ambience of the charity event.

With his suit pinned with more than 50 grey fluffy toy rats, Jones Lang LaSalle managing director Fung Kin-keung secured the Fancy Rat Award with his outstanding outfit.

Despite losing the race, Mr Fung said: 'The most important thing is having fun.'

Jimmy Yee Pak-kin, 27, a sales representative with the Schindler Lifts (Hong Kong) team, finished first in the individual race and was crowned Iron Rat. 'I have run marathons for four years and practised an hour daily, five days a week,' said Mr Yee, who was exhausted but elated after winning the race.

Pang Yiu-kai, chief executive of Hongkong Land, which organised the event, said they decided to raise funds for Mindset because they believed mentally ill patients in the city were poorly served and many social problems were directly or indirectly related to people's mental health.

Hospital Authority director of cluster services Cheung Wai-lun said people with mental health problems had to wait an average of five weeks to see psychiatrists in public hospitals.

'The medical sector plays a role, but the whole community can also do its part,' Dr Cheung said.

'When you find your family member or friend extremely depressed or behaving weirdly, you should advise him to see a doctor as soon as possible.'

The event was co-sponsored by the Central and Western District Council, South China Morning Post, TVB Pearl and Starbucks. Last year's inaugural Central Rat Race raised HK$2.1 million for Mindset.

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