RunOurCity Foundation Limited (RunOurCity) is a local non-profit charitable organisation that aims to improve the lifestyle of youth across the city and promote inclusivity through sports, specifically running. The organisation promotes running activities as a means of holistic development, which enhances personal physical and mental health, and helps disadvantaged communities.
Dr. Andes Leung Pak-hang, co-founder and CEO of RunOurCity, established the organisation in 2013. He has nearly 20 years of rich experience in managing international brand operations and marketing in the business sector, coupled with his passion for running. Since its establishment, RunOurCity has attracted over 130,000 runners to participate in its events and activities, successfully raising funds for more than 30 charitable organisations. The “Hong Kong Streetathon 2020” became the last annual marathon before the Covid-19 lockdown.
The marathon events organised by RunOurCity are not just about running, as they also provide food and entertainment activities at the supply stations along the way, creating social opportunities for runners and enhancing community cohesion. RunOurCity has also formed strategic partnerships with the Tohoku Food Marathon & Festival in Japan and the BOGOTO U-Lay Marathon organised by the National Association of Trailrunners in Taiwan, extending the value of running in economic and cultural aspects with similar development concepts beyond Hong Kong.
Apart from large-scale marathon events with over 10,000 participants, RunOurCity also offers training courses for youth. The Youth.ROC is a long-distance running training program designed for teenagers and aimed at cultivating interest in running, improving physical fitness, and fostering the spirit of never giving up. The Youth.ONE program covers more advanced and diverse courses and activities, extending from individuals to the community.
Dr. Leung stated that “Community integration has always been one of RunOurCity’s core concepts. While promoting personal growth, social and human connection is the pivot of social unity. Running is just a way to enter the community. We also organise volunteer activities for primary and secondary schools, allowing students, teachers, staff, and parents to participate and discover the uniqueness of the community from a new perspective, especially for teenagers.”
Humanitarian Care Brings Hope in Adversity and Pandemic
Many of the young participants in training are students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) who experience challenges related to hyperactivity, autism, and visual or hearing impairments. To cater to these different physical and psychological needs, RunOurCity partners with professors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to create tailored training programs. These programs aim to foster a caring and inclusive environment, build participants’ confidence and help them explore their potential through professional analysis and academic research.
The pandemic limited outdoor activities for almost three years, but RunOurCity adapted by launching virtual runs and home-based activities such as Run to the Moon, Streetside Hong Kong Streetathon, and Lake Festival. These activities have attracted many participants, who can earn medals and souvenirs by completing the designated routes and uploading their selfies, and running records to the system. The routes are designed to be scenic or culturally significant to enhance runners’ physical fitness and reduce the psychological pressure brought on by pandemic restrictions on gatherings.
In addition, the BEE Family Coach project offers online training workshops on exercise, diet, rest, and communication, aims to train participants to become home coaches who can lead other family members to establish healthy lifestyles.
Integrating Sustainable Development Into Daily Life
Personal sustainable development is one of the interpretations of holistic development, and the foundation strives to integrate sustainable development into daily life. As an independent organisation, RunOurCity Foundation effectively balances the dual needs of individuals and business operations. It is committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals framework, which includes increasing good health and well-being,reducing inequalities, and building sustainable cities and communities. By using sports as a means to establish connections between individuals, families, communities, and even different countries and regions, the foundation creates development momentum.
SIP is Committed to Investing in Various Social Issues and Bringing Positive Change
One of Social Impact Partner’s (SIP) investment goals is to solve problems related to social education, youth welfare, and the environment. SIP believes that RunOurCity can actively improve the lifestyle of young people through training in running and helping adolescents develop holistically. To further their social impact, SIP has invested twice and provided financial oversight, legal aid, and support in other fields. Improving youth welfare is also an essential investment goal for SIP.
Adolescents are at a crucial stage in their lives where their personalities can easily be shaped. Therefore, developing their physical and mental health is vital. SIP hopes to use this opportunity to encourage all sectors of society to actively create a social environment that is conducive to the growth of young people. This will involve opening up different channels of communication and education.