Oxfam Trailwalker Hong Kong 2012
Oxfam Trailwalker is a fundraising event held in different destinations globally to raise money for impoverished communities around the world. Navigating the 60 miles in 48 hours brings a whole new level to the phrase, “teambuilding.” Groups of four people attempt to complete the course winding through the most beautiful spots of this mesmerizing city within the allotted time limit. Participants cover the course in shifts, like a relay, so this is not as difficult as it sounds if everyone prepares in advance with a disciplined training regimen.
During the November 2012 event, a total of 4,715 walkers from 1,179 teams participated, with 3,951 people finishing. And for the first time, Meetings & Events Hong Kong (MEHK) sent out invitations to foreign companies to compete as part of their corporate social responsibility platform.
“Oxfam Trailwalker is about the spirit of giving and achievement,” says James LaValle, MICE manager at Hong Kong Tourism Board. “We are trying to offer a turnkey CSR opportunity for incoming groups, with added benefits included. We want to make sure that groups consider it when they come into Hong Kong around that time of year.”
For 2013, LaValle says Hong Kong will be promoting the event almost immediately to U.S. groups. He explains, “We are going to launch the promotion a lot sooner. Early this year, we will be more in line for long-haul corporate groups.”
LaValle adds that most companies participating typically offer time for employees and supporters to train during the work week in preparation for the race. Most also match donations raised by their employees. The benefits, he says, extend long before and after the event takes place.
“The energy starts building up as the event draws closer, and everyone involved gets more fit and healthier,” he says. “Even for those who can’t go, you can train with the team and share that feeling of accomplishment. This can be a life altering event for some people.”
A VIEW FROM THE ROAD
Among the corporate participants in 2012 was Patrick Lam, plant manager of Moog Control Systems in Shanghai. His team completed the course in just over 40 hours.
“Aside from walking the trail, having MEHK’s support gave our team a unique experience in Hong Kong during the entire week we stayed,” says Lam. “It was good to see the collaboration between Oxfam Hong Kong and MEHK on promoting Trailwalker as an international outdoors activity and teambuilding challenge for overseas companies.”
For Lam and his fellow walkers, they had anticipated finishing sooner but it turned out that they needed more time to rest at the check points and attend to their feet. And even with the slower pace, two of the team members dropped out at 37 miles so they wouldn’t hold back the others.
“It was a difficult decision to leave them behind,” says Lam. “We all wanted to finish it as a team. However, speed was the issue. So we had to make a decision that worked best for the team.”
What was Lam’s greatest takeaway?
“The greatest takeaway was not just the walk itself, but from starting the preparation together with our support team,” he says. “It was so much fun for everyone involved.”