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, will be held from 24 to 26 November this year. Themed "Walk Against Poverty," the event has attracted 2,128 newcomers, accounting for over 70% of the total participants. Among all participants, there are 283 corporate teams. The eldest participant is 82 years old and the average age of the eldest team is 71.75. On the other hand, the youngest participant is 18 years old and the average age of the youngest team is also 18.
A press conference was held today at AIA Hong Kong Tower in Quarry Bay. Bernard Chan, OTW Steering Group Convenor; Kalina Tsang, Director General of Oxfam Hong Kong; representatives of principal sponsor: Alger Fung, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Hong Kong & Macau and Melissa Wong, Chief Customer & Marketing Officer of AIA Hong Kong & Macau, joined the press conference. OTW participants, including Chan Kwok-keung (KK Chan), a veteran trailwalker; Joseph Yeung Chi-shing, team leader of OTW 2022 Champion; artiste Milkson Fong and his team, were also in attendance.
850 teams will have to complete the 100-km trail within 48 hours
This year, the route starts at the Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung and finishes at Crossroads Foundation in Tuen Mun. More than 3,000 participants in around 850 teams will have to complete the 100-km MacLehose Trail and other trails within 48 hours. "It is truly motivating to have over 2,000 volunteers and 19 sponsors, as well as a large number of newcomers, participating in the event," Bernard Chan, OTW Steering Group Convenor said. "All the funds raised through the event would go towards OHK's poverty alleviation projects, benefiting vulnerable communities and impoverished populations in Hong Kong and worldwide who are affected by climate change. I call on everyone to support OHK in helping impoverished populations combat climate change, hence, thereby creating a world without poverty."
Alger Fung, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Hong Kong & Macau, said: "Knowing that exercise is key to good health, we always encourage people to stay active and build a stronger, healthier body. This is why we are delighted to continue as the Principal Sponsor of this year's Oxfam Trailwalker under the name of 'AIA Vitality'. By supporting this large-scale, long-standing hiking and fundraising event, we hope to foster good exercise habits among the public. Our staff and financial planners will also participate in the event to support Oxfam's poverty alleviation efforts. Looking ahead, we will keep promoting healthy lifestyles to help people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives."
The number of corporate participants joining OTW 2023 has reached a new high after the pandemic. A total of 283 corporate teams consisting of 1,132 participants, have joined OTW 2023 in teams of four. OHK believed that this new high was because of the team-building functions of OTW for different corporations. Team members have to endure the 100-km challenge together, testing their perseverance. The concept of forming teams of four is to encourage participants to walk together and overcome obstacles hand in hand. Pacing during the race is also crucial. With determination, participants can finally complete the 100-km journey alongside OHK.
In the press conference, OHK also announced the latest arrangements of checkpoints, starting times and support teams at various checkpoints. It expressed gratitude for the support of all volunteers and believed that OTW 2023 would run smoothly with the help of trailwalkers, volunteers, supporters cheering for the participants, donors, sponsors, and others.
OHK mentioned that the support teams of OTW 2023 would go green by avoiding disposable tableware and containers, as well as minimising food wastes. They would also separate recyclables into different recycling bins. OHK called on all parties participating in OTW 2023 to keep the natural environment clean by taking their event materials, food wastes and rubbish home.
To avoid crowd gathering that blocks the way of local residents and emergency vehicles, participants are strongly advised to use public transport to travel to Pak Tam Chung, the starting point of the route.
Joseph Yeung Chi-shing: four hearts to beat as one
Joseph Yeung Chi-shing, team leader of OTW 2022 Champion, has decided to join the race with his wife and two friends this year as a mixed Elite Team. He shared that it was special for him to walk hand in hand with his wife this year, as his wife had only cheered for him in the past. He has set a goal for himself: "I am prepared for all the situations and challenges ahead, but the most important thing is that our four hearts will beat as one throughout the process. We should enjoy ourselves and safely complete the route."
Artistes Milkson Fong hopes to finish the race with a smile
Artistes Milkson Fong has participated OTW for five years. He believes that he can gain a better understanding of life through hiking and running, while helping people in need at the same time: "I find it very meaningful to alleviate poverty through sports by raising funds for vulnerable communities, local grassroots communities, and impoverished populations facing the challenges of climate change." He added that he is fully prepared to participate in OTW in his best physical conditions. "I hope to finish the race with a smile at the finishing line with my teammates," he said.
KK Chan: participants to push their own limits while prioritising safety
KK Chan, a veteran trailwalker dubbed Mr. Trailwalker, shared his experience and tactics in leading his team in the race: "First, you have to set a feasible goal. Once you start walking, you have to keep an eye on the conditions of your teammates and adjust your pacing, and water and refreshments intake accordingly. You may need to slow down on challenging trails such as Kai Kung Shan and MacLehose Trail Section 4. As a team leader, remember to encourage the whole team to persevere and continue walking towards the finishing line." With more newcomers joining the race, he hoped that participants could push their own limits while prioritising safety.
Route of OTW 2023
The route of OTW 2023 starts at Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung and finishes at Crossroads Foundation in Tuen Mun. Nine checkpoints will be located along the route. In the first 87 km, the route covers sections 1 to 9 of the MacLehose Trail (M001 – M174). After passing distance post M174 and leaving the MacLehose Trail, participants will continue hiking until reaching M186 via the path surrounding the Reservoir. They will then rejoin the MacLehose Trail and move forward until M193 before leaving it again. Finally, they will travel 700m along a country trail to reach Crossroads Foundation.
For more information about Oxfam Trailwalker: www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.hk
Oxfam Trailwalker Facebook: www.facebook.com/oxfamtrailwalkerhk