Numbers surge at Beat the Banana race in TST

More than 1,600 joined 8th Beat the Banana fun run as it added a 1km route for tots

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 March, 2013, 4:44am

A big banana and a little banana ran down Tsim Sha Tsui harbour front yesterday chased by hundreds of people dressed in yellow.

"Keep going buddy," yelled the mother of a boy who bolted like a shot after Debbie Lau Yee, the five-year-old dressed as a banana for the 1km children's race in the annual Beat the Banana charity run.

It was the eighth year of "Hong Kong's wackiest race" which raises money for awareness about cancer prevention.

"With childhood obesity so common in Hong Kong, we wanted kids to learn to love running from a young age," said Ady Leung Mo-ha, the general manager of the World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong, which organises the event.

"Normally, we only have a 1,000 [participants], but because of the new children's 1km race, there are around 1,600 this year," said Leung.

Obesity and a poor diet are considered major contributing factors to cancer.

This year, the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade felt like an amusement park, as people dressed as corn, strawberries and other healthy treats danced among the crowd.

"I've been doing this for four years," said Courtney Simon. The seven-year-old and her sister Audrey chased after the Banana Man, former Australian athlete Troy de Haas.

"Oh, the kids love it. When they catch you they scream. It makes running exciting for them. It's usually quite hard to get kids to enjoy running," said de Haas who works at a travel company specialising in sports holidays.

Meanwhile, across the harbour, adults were racing to the top of Jardine House to raise money for mental health services. More than 600 people joined the 28th Walk Up Jardine House, raising HK$3.7 million this year for the company's mental health charity MINDSET.

Cheung Yip-kei, 51, won the Barrow Cup and was first runner-up in the men's individual event. He climbed the 49 floors in six minutes and 21 seconds. The Barrow Cup result is calculated by dividing the finishing time by the person's age.