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Harriet Fitzgerald (centre) was the youngest participant in Hong Kong Scottish’s “I would walk 5,911 challenge” at four years old. She walked 30 kilometres with her parents and is pictured with ImpactHK CEO Jeff Rotmeyer, Brad Tuff, Sarah Monaghan and Roy Kinnear. Photos: Handout

Hong Kong Scottish’s ‘I would walk 5,911 miles’ fundraiser goes the extra mile for Doddie Weir Foundation and ImpactHK

  • Virtual walk/run fundraiser exceeds expectations even during global pandemic thanks to rugby community
  • The fundraiser is raising awareness for motor neurone disease and homelessness in Hong Kong

Jevon Marsh’s days were starting before the sun rises.

The Hong Kong Scottish rugby player was leading the way in terms of total miles clocked (186.5 miles) in the “I would walk 5,911 miles” fundraiser in support of the Doddie Weir Foundation and Hong Kong homeless charity ImpactHK.

“The real challenge for me was I had to do this at three in the morning because my daughter wakes up at 6am and that’s the only time I get to see her and I wasn’t going to miss that for the world,” said the 34-year-old construction company project manager.

The name, taken from the famous Scottish duo The Proclaimers’ song I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), is raising funds and awareness for two issues – to find a cure for motor neurone disease and help the homeless in Hong Kong.

Rory Drummond, a personal trainer who runs boot camps, raised HK$30,000.

Marsh clocked a half marathon each day during the time frame (October 12-18) for the virtual walk/run fundraiser and finished with a bang on the final two days.

“Of course it was a shock at the start,” said Marsh about the toll of all the running. “Your knees swell, your ankles are sore, not much muscle fatigue, I think that’s just from the sporting activities I’ve done.”

Beau walked 35 kilometres with owner Kate Wood for the fundraiser.

“So I just found that I wasn’t pushing myself enough for the aid of the charity so I did 140 kilometres over the weekend on some mountain trails, and managed to complete 300 kilometres total distance covered.”

The fundraiser ended up clocking 7,950 miles, well above the 5,911 target, which represents the distance from Shek Kip Mei to Murrayfield in Edinburgh where Weir starred for the Scottish national rugby team before he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. So far they have raised a total of HK$200,000 and counting.

Hong Kong Scottish general manager Sarah Monaghan said the response, even during a global pandemic where restrictions have shut down many people’s lives, was amazing. She noted coach and player Brad Tuff as an instrumental part in the fundraiser overachieving and reaching so many people.

“We have been overwhelmed by the number of people, from all corners of the world, who registered to help us clock up the miles and raise money for these two incredible charities.”

A collage of participants for HK Scottish’s fundraiser.

Monaghan said they had more than 240 people register for the event from various parts of the world, including China, the UK and Canada.

“In these challenging times, the event showed the power of the community and that you can achieve great things when you work together.

“It has been really inspiring to see everyone embrace this challenge, contributing as many miles as possible, while giving encouragement and kudos to others taking part they’ve never met, but feel connected to through this event.”

Marsh said the event took on special importance for him and he found himself thinking about his uncle who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease when the running felt like it was too much.

George Fleming and his teacher friends from ELC HK Lutheran Academy in Yuen Long. Fleming clocked 97.6 miles and his family back in the UK took part as well.

“You just sort of go into a meditation mode and think about the charities and what you are doing. It’s really good for your mindset to start the day. And what it really did focus me on is that I am fortunate enough to do these feats.”