The Oxfam Trailwalker 2019 race, which was set to take place this Friday to Sunday, has been cancelled due to safety concerns in light of the continuing unrest in Hong Kong, the organiser announced on Wednesday afternoon.
In an announcement made on Facebook, the organiser explained the decision to call off this year’s iconic 100-kilometre trail race was to protect the safety of more than 10,000 participants, their support teams and volunteers, as the current social situation and traffic conditions in the city were “changing every minute, every second”.
“After careful consideration, we have to make a difficult decision to cancel the Oxfam Trailwalker 2019,” the organiser wrote.
“The race embodies the spirit of never giving up and we know each team has devoted so much time and effort on preparing for the event… we want to thank everyone for their dedication,” they added.
A participant surnamed Ho, who has raced in Oxfam Trailwalker for more than 10 years, said it was disappointing to see the race being cancelled. He and his team have been training since May, and they bought supplies for the race recently. He thought the potential disruption on the event days was foreseeable, as the anti-government protests in Hong Kong have continued for months, so the organiser should have made a call earlier.
“Oxfam should have cancelled the race at least one week before. They should have seen it coming, especially when a similar trail race (the Raleigh Challenge) was also called off last month,” Ho said.
The organiser hoped participants would understand and respect their decision and apologised for causing any inconvenience. The teams’ place in the race and the money raised would be retained to next year’s race automatically. If teams choose not to participate in next year’s race, they can get a full refund on their donation and the application fee of HK$1,600.
Participants who have not collected this year’s souvenirs can still pick up theirs at the Oxfam office in North Point, while those who bought bus tickets to the starting point of the race can also get a refund.