“Finally finished running. Three words: so xxxx tired. 10 km is 10,000 m or 1,000,000 cm. Sounds a lot, but anyone can do it, including a couch potato like me who plays TV games all day. Running is tough, but I had to finish it. Afterwards I can haughtily tell others: “Oh, it’s only 10km. Even I can do it.”

“Although every single time is exhausting, running has really boosted me physically. Like when I play basketball, I used to burn out after playing for a while, but now I rarely get so tired. Another thing is, near the end of every run, I felt that I couldn’t make it, but I persisted. That sense of achievement feels great.”

These are the feelings of two students who participated in the eight week Youth.ROC training programme. They proved that: no pain,

no gain. At the onset of RunOurCity, we organized two eight-week, 10km running trainings for Holland Hostel and Kwun Tong Government Secondary School with a total of 20 students. All of them were able to run 10 km after eight weeks. But figures do not matter. What matters is the process, during which we saw interaction and change in both volunteers and students.

Nigel is a volunteer who injured his leg after Sunday’s competition. He insisted to go to Holland Hostel usual on Monday night, wearing his running clothes and running shoes, clapping and cheering his students in front of the building as he accompanied them to run out into the street. He did not go home after that, but instead waited until everyone had come back safely. He gave them more encouragement with claps and a few students could not help but hug him. Nigel’s unconditional giving and sincere care has moved the hearts of these homeless youngsters. It was raining lightly that night. Everyone’s face was wet with rain, sweat, tears or whatever. After their run, their bodies, brain and soul are burning hot. This is runners’ persistence!

The other day, students from Kwun Tong Government Secondary School with seven teachers, volunteers and trainers came to my house. With my two kids, we 17 of us ran 6.5 km to Bowen Road. Afterwards we ate home-made muffins at my place. Finally we walked slowly to the MTR station. That 15 minute walk passed quickly in laughter. I noticed that a tallish boy with a small backpack was carefully holding a muffin with three fingers. I asked him why he didn’t eat it while it’s hot. He replied with much embarrassment that the muffins are so nice that he would like to bring one home to him mom. This pure love is so moving. He may not get outstanding results but his muffin is surely the best gift of all.

We can continue to sit on the sofa and air our views on current affair, global news and criticise how this generation of youth is doing. Or we can put on our running shoes, run 10 km with them and share with them our views on nature, life and health. Don’t think that they are the only ones to learn; we may learn more than them.

All these experiences make me humble. I hope that our young people can go through the experience of being a student, a volunteer and even a trainer – and in the process of learning, strive for the better and never give up! We too have to keep pushing ourselves to work hard and improve the programme with the hope of bringing positive changes to more lives.

The establishment of RunOurCity is based on this respect for life!

To encourage the support and participation of the community and promote the spirit and culture of marathon, we are also organizing STREETATHONs at different districts of Hong Kong. We hope it will bring a fresh feeling to runners, the community, young people and even tourists and our city. One day, we will no longer believe that running events are held for the enjoyment of a few runners, but a channel to assist young people and the community, as well as a platform to promote charity and creativity. When we can lead young people to run in every district to change their future, and every district can organize a running competition to bring positive energy, then we can really be the world leader in city running!

As long as we live, we will start from our hearts and run towards our dreams.

We have started. You are most welcome to join us!

Cheung Leong
Founder and Chairman