The Edge Kuala Lumpur Rat Race 2014: Running to raise awareness of charitable organisations

-A +A

Axiata team looks forward to a day of fun
Axiata Group’s staff are putting on their running shoes again for the Rat Race this year. Two of them were previous participants of the charity event while the others have been newly enlisted for this year’s edition.

So, what drives Axiata’s people to continue to support the Rat Race? “Some of the members have a passion for running and enjoy exploring new race routes,” says Danny, who last ran in the 2011 edition. He will be joined by 2012 runner Alan Tang, who says the experience of running with his colleagues for a good cause is what keeps him coming back. “The gratification of being able to improve the community is great.”

The runners have been steadily preparing for the event. “Some of us hit the gym for resistance training and run regularly together at the park after work,” says Danny.

He thinks running for charity is “awesome”. “The Rat Race raises awareness of charity and creates an element of fun to share with friends. It becomes a topic of conversation.” The event, Danny says, makes for memorable times, like his previous races had.

How does he see charity being improved in Malaysia? “More attention should be given to smaller or lower-profile charity organisations. Sincerity and genuine intention to help out should be the main reason for charity events instead of being promotional or publicity efforts.”

Gamudian spirit to the fore
Gamuda Land will be participating in the Rat Race for the first time. “Living by our Gamudian spirit of enriching life and community, we are contributing to the less fortunate in a healthy way,” says one of the participants.

Showing the seriousness of their commitment, Gamuda’s preparation is designed to replicate the conditions of race day. “Weekly, we run in our race attire on the jogging tracks in our townships in Kota Kemuning and Jade Hills,” says the runner. “On work days, we race up the stairs of the 19-storey Menara Gamuda.

“And, of course, to maintain the positive spirit at all times, we’ll yell ‘you can do it’ whenever we are in front of a mirror.

“We would like to see more similar charity events, where organisations and the public join forces for a good cause while having fun.”

An annual affair for Tropicana
Tropicana Corp Bhd group executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Danny Tan says, “The Edge Kuala Lumpur Rat Race has become an annual affair for us. Tropicana has participated since 2004. We believe that it is our duty to engage with communities and society at large and we hope that everyone in the corporate sector can do something meaningful and charitable to help the needy and the underprivileged.”

Tropicana’s 10 teams feel that the event is a good way to promote healthy living, encourage more corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and enjoy the company of their colleagues. Besides that, it is also a great way to show people that they are doing their bit for charity.

In preparation for the race, the teams have been running together and, in line with the company’s rebranding exercise, came up with a corporate theme for the race.

Having contributed to society through various platforms over the last decade, Tropicana Corp hopes to lead by example come Sept 23 and encourage more companies to contribute to society.

WCT’s Chong ready for CEO Race
“This corporate charity event will provide an avenue for us to demonstrate the core values of WCT — Winning, Commitment, Teamwork, Humility and Respect,” says WCT Holdings Bhd chief financial officer Chong Kian Fah.

Chong, an avid runner, will be participating in the 1.5km CEO Race. He sees the opportunity to represent the company in making a difference in the community as a fulfilling one.

He regards the “fun run” concept as great because it gathers representatives from the company’s top management to support a charitable cause. He also believes the event will raise awareness of the corporate community of this CSR programme.

“Running in the streets of the city in my office attire alongside other professionals is a truly unique and enjoyable experience. We are proud to support the race for good health and a good cause.”

On the various CSR programmes that WCT is involved in, Chong says the company focuses on education, health and sporting activities that benefit children, such as providing educational opportunities to deserving young Malaysians and developing young talent through the WCT scholarship and internship programmes. The scholarships are awarded annually, both to the public and children of WCT employees.

Speaking on behalf of WCT’s participating teams are legal affairs officer Ellesha Lee, credit control department staff member Anthony Ng, fit-out executive Kamaruddin Jamin, environmental engineer Rurynee Roslan and company driver Suardi Saulaman.

With the exception of Suardi, this will be the first time the team members are participating in the Rat Race. Suardi says the most memorable part of his previous run was the loud cheers from the excited and energetic crowd, which spurred him to complete the race.

Lee says the run not only allows her to be a part of the company’s CSR initiative but also provides her with the opportunity to run with her colleagues.

Ng says he likes to participate in events like the Rat Race as they allow him to make new friends, stay healthy and have fun.

Kamaruddin is preparing for the race by jogging 5km as often as he can and is happy to be given the chance to achieve a personal running goal.

Rurynee was motivated to join the run, thanks to the encouragement of his family members, close friends and colleagues.

As a whole, the WCT teams want to see needy students improve themselves through education. They believe this will prevent underprivileged children from dropping out of school.

Ireka likes the camaraderie
Ireka Corp Bhd is no newcomer to the Rat Race as one of its directors, Chan Chee Kian, finished first in 2012. This puts pressure on group executive director and chief financial officer of Ireka Development Management Sdn Bhd Monica Lai.

“As much as I am excited to be representing Ireka in the CEO race, the pressure of being placed can be quite daunting,” she admits. “In fact, people who know me will be pleasantly surprised that I am taking up this challenge since I’m not very much into sport.

“But I will try my best,” she assures. She will not be short on competition as Chan will also be running.

Lai also sees the irony of participating in an event called “rat race”. “We CEOs know how it feels like to be caught up in the actual rat race. But it fosters good camaraderie.”

Chan says, “I think it’s a great concept. To be given the chance to lead by example in something fun and informal. Sport builds camaraderie and respect among individuals, so it’s a great way to foster that among colleagues. The charity part is certainly a plus.”

Mah Sing has charity in mind
Mah Sing Group Bhd is well known as an innovative developer. Its commitment to CSR is embedded in its business philosophy. And in line with that philosophy, the group has given generously to The Edge Education Fund (TEEF) and will participate in the Rat Race on Sept 23.

“This would be the first time I’m taking part in the Rat Race and I can’t wait!” enthuses Tang Teck King from the group’s legal department.

Lionel Leong from the strategic development department says as a Malaysian, it is his duty to help the needy and that is motivation enough for him to participate in the race.  

Bryan Ho, who will also be putting on his running shoes, says he has started jogging and training on weekends in preparation for the race.

Another enthusiastic participant, Foong Yin Siong, says he will give his 100% during the race because he wants to uphold the good name of the company.

Leading the Mah Sing team is Jane Leong. She says the Rat Race is a good event as it promotes not only charity but also a healthy lifestyle.

On ways to help the less fortunate, Lionel suggests events like charity dinners and talks on CSR. Jane says visits to charitable homes and direct monetary contributions will work wonders for the needy.

RHB Capital promotes literacy as well
The TEEF focuses on numeracy and literacy as well as financial literacy. This is similar to RHB Capital Bhd’s CSR programme, called “Let’s Learn With RHB”, which recognises the importance of the English language. In 2008, it organised a nationwide competition to encourage children to increase their English vocabulary and proficiency.

Chan Kuan Cheen, Leong Yee Lan and Nor Farhana Hamdan, who are running in the Rat Race for the first time, are excited about helping to raise funds for TEEF.

“I was at the event last year to cheer my colleagues. When I saw participants from all ages running under the hot sun for charity, it inspired me to do the same this year,” Nor Farhana says.

As for Leong, he is looking forward to running in the city streets and hearing the rousing cheers at the finishing line. In preparation, he is doing more interval training and speed workouts.

Chan says government bodies and the public should be consistent in their efforts to help the needy.

Microlink Solutions sends newbies
This year, Microlink Solutions Bhd will be sending a team of newbies to the Rat Race. The participants have been exercising consistently to improve their endurance.

They believe it will be a fun and healthy event for the donors and the money collected will be channelled to those in need. They are looking forward to meeting people of different races and cultures.

The runners think there should be more events in which more members of the community can take part. “We would also like to see everyone do charity work without being influenced by racial or political issues,” one of them says.

“If possible, do invite orphans to join us [on race day].”

Accenture team is all for a worthy cause
Accenture (M) Sdn Bhd’s Special Interest Group (SIG) sees the Sept 23 event as a perfect platform to contribute to a worthy cause. The team members — Phuah Chin Heng, Ho Poh Choo, Vince Chang, Freddy Loo, Freda Yong and Thien Wen Ben — are anxiously looking forward to the race.

For them, preparing for the Rat Race fosters camaraderie and builds a close-knit team. “Even though some of us have participated in the race before, all of us enjoy the energy and intensity that is only seen at the Rat Race. It is such a rare opportunity to see corporate Malaysia interacting in the spirit of sport and healthy competition while contributing to a worthy cause,” says Chang.

The team believes that running for charity is a great concept and other activities such as yoga could be used as well.

“Charity does not necessarily have to be expensive, time-consuming or sacrificial,” Chang says, adding that more people should be made aware of this.

“Contributing a little time and effort can go a long way towards helping people who may not have the things most of us take for granted.”

Glomac’s 13th outing
Glomac Bhd, which is a 12-year veteran of the Rat Race, is looking to extend its participation to 13 years. As a participant, the company has the race as a permanent fixture in its calendar.

“We are excited about the run because of the carnival-like atmosphere and the loud cheers of the supporters and cheerleaders along the route,” says Glomac. “The Rat Race is in Glomac’s calendar as it fits into our corporate social responsibility programme and promotes team spirit among the participating staff.”

Glomac’s senior management is in the forefront in terms of participation, reflecting the company’s commitment to CSR.

“The event will not only bring the beneficiaries to the attention of some of the top brands in the country but also help the charities raise funds while having some fun networking with the corporate figures.

“Such events help show the human side of executives as they break down the barriers across the organisation with participation at all levels,” says Glomac.

“We believe it is also a great way to get all those climbing the corporate ladder to run for once instead of just climbing. We will definitely take part again next year.”

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 17, 2014.