Runners and drug addicts. You could call them an odd couple and you wouldn’t be far wrong.
But when one breaks a sweat for the other, that’s when you’d think the two are really poles apart.
In fact, runners are signing up for a fundraiser to benefit Christian Zheng Sheng College, a rehabilitation center for drug addicts that also educates them.
Registration for this year’s event has opened, according to Convoy, a financial services company which is organizing the run.
Proceeds will go to improvement works on the school, the only one of its kind in the world.
It was established in 1985 in Chi Ma Wan on Lantau Island, just off Hong Kong.
Christian Zheng Sheng College is upgrading its facilities to accommodate more drug users and give them a chance at education at the same time.
Young drug abusers are increasing but the symptoms are mostly hidden, which makes the situation alarming, school principal Alman Chan said.
“Our rehabilitation program has a 95 percent success rate but we’re also seeing more newcomers who take longer to show signs of drug abuse,” he said.
“We hope that the run can raise enough funds, so we can start work on the project before the end of the year and provide a safe living and learning environment for our staff and students,” Chan said.
The project will cost about HK$50 million (US$6.43 million). The school has applied for funding from the government’s Beat Drugs Fund Scheme but needs to raise HK$15 million for its part.
It has raised HK$8 million and hopes to make up the rest from the run, it said in an e-mailed statement.
Dubbed Convoy Totem Run 2014, the event will be held on Oct. 4 on the Maclehose Trail over two distances — 57 kilometers and 16 km. from Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung and the main dam of Shing Mun Reservoir, respectively.
Both runs will end in Rotary Park, Tai Mo Shan. The event is open to participants 18 years old and above.
Convoy Financial Group chairman Quincy Wong said the company will field a team of employees and volunteers.
And Hong Kong celebrities Alex Fong and Roy Chow have been invited to lend their fame and inspire the runners.
Registration closes on Sept. 7.
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