Presented by Oxfam Hong Kong (OHK) and fully supported by AIA Vitality, Oxfam Trailwalker 2023 (OTW 2023), the largest annual hiking fundraising event in Hong Kong, commenced this morning in Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung. Bernard Chan, OTW Steering Group Convenor; Melissa Wong, Chief Customer & Marketing Officer of AIA Hong Kong & Macau, representative of the Principal Sponsor of OTW 2023; and Patrick Yeung, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC), officiated at the kick-off ceremony and started the race with an air horn.
This year marks the 39th year of OTW. Around 850 teams, totaling 3,400 participants, have joined the event. Among all participants, artistes Milkson Fong, James Ng, and Alvin Ng have formed a team with their firefighter friend. Chan Kwok-keung (KK Chan), a veteran trailwalker known as Mr. Trailwalker, is leading different teams in his Trailwalker Teaching Room to participate in the event. Joseph Yeung, the team leader of the OTW 2022 Champion team has decided to join the event this year with his wife Cherry Cheng and two friends as a mixed Elite Team. On the other hand, a teacher from Hong Chi Lions Morninghill School has teamed up with three 18-year-old students with mild mental retardation or autism spectrum disorder from his school and Hong Chi Morninghill School, Tsui Lam. Four medical students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have also formed a team to participate in the event for the first time. In addition to local participants, there are participants from overseas and mainland China, including two hearing impaired individuals from the Beijing-based BEST Social Work Institute, which supports disabled women in China. Kong For-lin (Lin Jei, meaning "Madam Lin"), who runs a refreshment kiosk in Tai Mo Shan Country Park, is also cheering for all the participants this year.
"This is the 39th year of OTW – a milestone for the hiking and sporting sector in Hong Kong," said Bernard Chan, OTW Steering Group Convenor. "Global climate change is becoming more severe. OHK has always been concerned about vulnerable communities affected by extreme weather around the globe and partners with different organisations to aid these communities in fighting against climate change. The funds raised through OTW will go towards various poverty alleviation, emergency relief, and advocacy projects, which support impoverished populations in Hong Kong and worldwide to improve their lives, particularly those affected by extreme weather events." He also expressed his gratitude to the 3,400 participants and over 2,000 volunteers who support the event, as they make efforts to help those in need cope with climate inequality.
Melissa Wong, Chief Customer & Marketing Officer of AIA Hong Kong & Macau, said: "AIA is committed to motivating people to live a healthier lifestyle. We are honoured to be the Principal Sponsor of Oxfam Trailwalker in the name of 'AIA Vitality' again. I am also pleased to see many of our colleagues and financial planners participating in this large-scale hiking and fundraising event. By pledging our support for this popular hiking event, we hope to encourage people to exercise and build a stronger body while raising funds for Oxfam, in particular, to support impoverished communities who are vulnerable to extreme weather, helping people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives."
"Among the 3,400 participants, 70 per cent are newcomers. 283 corporate teams, consisting of 1,132 participants, have joined the event, resulting in a new high in the number of corporate participants after the pandemic," said Patrick Yeung, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC). "It is meaningful for everyone in the participating corporates and organisations. No matter you are a hiker or a supporting team member, each individual plays to his/her strengths within the team. I hope to see more business partners contributing to health and social projects in the future, showing that the business sector is united in helping those in need in Hong Kong and other parts of the world."
The route of OTW 2023 starts at Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung and finishes at Crossroads Foundation in Tuen Mun. The 850 teams of participants have to complete the 100-km MacLehose Trail and other trails within 48 hours. The event receives the generous support of over 2,000 volunteers and 19 sponsors.