Oxfam Trailwalker

Want to raise HK$35 million for charity? It’s a walk in the park

Thousands set off for the 35th Oxfam Trailwalker on Friday morning, raising money for good causes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 11:27pm

The oldest participants at the starting line of the 35th Oxfam Trailwalker on Friday were in buoyant mood ahead of the 100km challenge, throwing in a few jokes and laughter.

The team, made up of seasoned competitors Tsui Pak-hang, 71, Yeung King-keung, 62, Yeung Pui-cheun, 68, and Tang Kwok-wing, 60, was in high spirits and set off at a leisurely pace just after midday. They hoped to finish within 30 hours. The quartet, whose average age of 65 was not to be sniffed at, was probably one of the most experienced groups, with more than a combined 20 Trailwalker events finished.

The team of Nepalese soldiers out to set new Hong Kong Trailwalker record

“We enjoy the walking, we enjoy being healthy, and Hong Kong is a beautiful place with beautiful scenery, so once you get up to the mountain it is breathtaking,” Yeung Pui-cheun said.

Pui said their age was no barrier and the secret to their continued competitive spirit was weekly training across the hills.

The active older gentlemen and the thousands of others who set off for the 35th edition of the Trailwalker were expected to raise a record HK$35 million for Hong Kong’s biggest charity trail race.

Rising temperatures and sunny skies greeted participants on Friday morning.

Organisers said about 5,200 walkers in 1,300 teams set off for Yuen Long from Sai Kung on the 100km hike across the northern New Territories.

The winning team, AWOO Team Nepal, finished the course in 11 hours 1 minute and 10 seconds at 6.25pm, breaking last year’s winning time of 11 hours 58 minutes.

The team, composed of Nepali soldiers Bhim Bahadur Gurung, Purna Tamang, Bed Bahadur Sunuwar and Tirtha Tamang, fell just short of their target of 10 hours 58 minutes.

The cash raised is earmarked for poverty alleviation, disaster relief and policy advocacy in Hong Kong and around the world.

Kayson Tam Man-Chiu, 25, said he was excited for his first outing on the walk. He said he wanted to challenge himself, but felt he was at a disadvantage due to a lack of training ahead of the race.

Another team, Dick Kwong Hoi-tik, 40, Eric Lau Pui-tuen, 38, and Michael Yeung Sai-sin, also 38 jokingly dismissed the onset of mid-life crises. Kwong said, at their age, it was the “right time to set some challenges.”

The race, which covers the MacLehose and other trails, was founded in 1981 as a training exercise for Gurkha soldiers.

8 memorable moments from 35 years of the Oxfam Trailwalker

In 1986 it was open to the public for the first time. Since then, more than 93,000 people have taken part more than HK$500 million has been raised for good causes.

The race’s advisory committee chairman Bernard Chan praised the “trailwalking spirit” passed down through the years. Chan, also an executive councillor, urged participants to keep sharing their passion for the event and fighting poverty.