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2016 Best Sport Organization Awards Nomination
The Hong Kong Ultra Marathon Association has been established for 2 years and 4 months. Our profile of Mind over Miles is resilient in the media, on the web, in runners’ clubs, and through our diverse activities. The Association is a non-profit making association limited with an Honorary President and 6 Board Members including Mr. Tony Chu as Secretary-General, Dr. Szeto King Ho as Medical Advisor, Mr. K.K. Chan as Captain of Hong Kong Spirit Team, Prof. Peter Tanner as Veteran Ultra Marathoner, Ms Yvonne Lo as Brand Director and Mr. Jacky Cheung as Chairman. It employs 1 full-time staff. The Honorary President was chosen to be Mr. Bernard Charnwut Chan, an Executive Council member in Hong Kong who has unbounded interest in health and sports. Mr. Tony Chu has vast business and sports-marketing experience and possesses the energy and inspiration to make the Association a success.
Our Vision is for Hong Kong and Mainland China to become the best Asian ultramarathon nation, resulting from our Chinese endurance spirit. Our completed missions are the high-quality races in both Hong Kong and China plus seminars and training that we have held, together with sports medical advice and research. The Hong Kong Spirit Team have great intent to run and have achieved outstanding results in Asian ultramarathons. Our mission also comprises certain social and charitable responsibilities.
To further our mission, we have established and fulfilled certain objectives and activities with the minimum financial overheads. Each year, at the minimum, we aim to organize one race in Hong Kong and one in Mainland China and stage four seminars. Important objectives have comprised our ultrarunning team World Record challenge (supported by the Hong Kong Sports Institute) and helping vulnerable and underprivileged groups including the blind and mentally-handicapped people. In order to cultivate more international-standards for Chinese runners, the Hong Kong Spirit Team is poised to join in the Asian and World Ultramarathon Championships.
All projects, initiatives and activities have been successfully carried out with the help of only one salaried staff and with less than 20% of overheads vs sponsorship. We have balanced the interests of the management, sponsors, government and community in developing and organizing races, training workshops, seminars and our branding with Two World Records in the eligible period.
In 2015, we mainly focused on activities in Hong Kong. Between August and September, we organized two seminars in Tsing Yi and Kwai Chung and two training courses given by the famous Hong Kong runners K.K. Chan and Thomas Lam. On September 25, 26, the 2015 Hong Kong 100 km Ultramarathon (100 km, 50 km and Team Relay) was held with a total of 1,000 participants in order to show the Chinese endurance spirit. The event was organized by the Department of Home Affairs, Hong Kong Government (the first to be fully-funded by the Government) and we served as Race Director. On the following day, a festival was held with over 10,000 spectators enjoying stall games and snacks.
Following the success in Hong Kong, we were invited by the Foshan Government in Guangdong, China as Race Director of the 2016 Xiqiao Mountain International Ultra Marathon. This event was China’s first ultramarathon sanctioned by IAU. Prior to the race we organized three workshops in Guangzhou, Nanhai District and Xiqiao Town on April 20, May 6 and 7, respectively. Also to meet our objectives, we held a half marathon specially for blind runners on June 5, which was highly appraised by the media and citizens.
Hong Kong Spirit Team took part in a 10-man team 24-hour running World Record challenge and finally exceeded at 1875 km on a hot summer day, May 14, which successfully created a new world record.
On June 26, 3,838 runners joined in a Happy Run creating the world record of the “most participants running a marathon dressed as Kung Fu Heros.”
We also led Hong Kong Spirit Team to join overseas races. An eight-man team joined the Tokyo 24-hour ultramarathon on Dec 19, 2015, posting a good result.
Our charity efforts included visits to Hong Chi Special School and the Pentecostal Church Sheltered Workshop to help funding their running teams comprising 50 members.
Overall, in the quantified period, we raised HKD $1.2 million sponsorship for our association from Skechers, the Hong Kong Government, Foshan Government and the National Arts Studios Park.
The Hong Kong Spirit Team has been set up and has undergone bi-weekly training sessions to focus upon 12-hour, 24-hour and 100 km road and track races. The team is organized by Mr. Tony Chu and the Captain is Mr. Chan Kwok Keung, who has had a successful ultrarunning career in Hong Kong and overseas and also has experience in Chinese medicine. The Spirit Team comprises 3 groups: more than 40 elite runners, 40+ youth and 50+ mentally-handicapped persons and blind runners. This represents a significant growth in quantity and quality of ultrarunners.
On Dec 19, 2015, eight team members (with the qualification of 175 km in a 24-h race) joined the Tokyo International 24-hour Ultramarathon, where one of our runners ran 222 km and was ranked 11th and our team was the second best national team in the race.
We created a 10-runner team 24-hour world record with the support from the Hong Kong Sports Institute on May 14 2015.
On September 26, 2015 our runners ranked 3rd, 4th 5th in the 100 km race and 1st, 2nd, 3rd in the 50 km Hong Kong Ultramarathon Races.
Our 10 runner-team joined the Xiqiao Mountain International Ultramarathon on June 18-19. Mr Wu Chung Fai, ran 217.55 km and ranked 2nd place in the 24-hour race. Mr Hui Ho Tat ranked 3rd place in the half marathon on Jun 26.
These results emphasize the success of our practical training programs carried out prior to the races. The spirit of ultramarathon has been promoted through our efforts.
The 2016 Xiqiao Mountain International Ultra Marathon event that we directed gained 40 million+ page views and ranked in China’s Top 10 most popular marathons from research, resulting from our attention to detail and operation excellency. Mr Dan Lawson, the UK winner ran 221.09 km in the very hot weather 24-h race.
Several press conferences were held; star runners were featured in stories; an icon “Little Southern Lion” was our mascot; a 3-min animation was produced; an app game was made; metro car body advertising was utilized; and an outdoor billboard released. Social media such as Facebook, Weibo and WeChat was used to interact with runners, which definitely enhanced our connection with fans and effectively aroused their interest to participate in the events. Also, we cooperated with major websites and local running clubs for marathon registration. Travel agencies promoted the marathon events.
We released notifications on the IAU official website for international and regional promotion, to attract overseas runners; and on the official website of the Chinese Athletic Association for Chinese runners. We met our objectives as Race Director to organize a half marathon for blind runners on June 5. Many training sessions were supported by normal runners for both mentally-handicapped and blind runners, which stimulated social media attention both upon under-privileged groups and on our events. Eventually, more than 1,000 runners joined in the 2015 Hong Kong Ultra Marathon 100 km and 10,000 runners and 30000 spectators participated in the 2016 Xiqiao Mountain International Ultra Marathon.
In the Xiqiao Mountain International Ultra Marathon the runners ran from the past to the present around Xiqiao Mountain and the National Arts movie studio amusement park. Our cheering performances such as dragon and lion dances, kung fu, Chinese opera spurred the runners through the movie scene route of the Forbidden City, old Shanghai, Tang Dynasty and old Hong Kong. Our anti-heat strategy (including the provisions of many sun shelters, iced drinks, ice bags, water truck sprinklers, salt tablets, wet towels and sponges) and second-to-none medical assurance (including 40 Doctor runners, medical staff with backpack supplies at every 100 m, 40 manned bicycles equipped with 20 AED, 12 patrol cars, smart stationing of ambulances, intensive care unit) made a very successful and safe marathon event.
Star runners, including the 24-h Female World Champion, endorsed our event, and the post-race awards nomination. We are listed as SPIA and China 10 Best Sports Events as a result of our branding strategies.
Some of our significant TV shows and major media reports are listed below:
– Guangdong Sports Channel: http://v.qq.com/x/page/l0312txbr1a.html
– Guangdong Sports Channel: http://sports.le.com/video/25798262.html
– Guangdong Sports Channel: http://www.gdtv.cn/v/ty/tysj/2016-06-24/403234.html
– Tecent News: http://gd.qq.com/a/20160623/053259.htm
– Netease News: http://news.163.com/16/0627/06/BQI38N2700014AED.html
– Nanfang Daily: http://fs.southcn.com/content/2016-06/26/content_150139849.htm
The Hong Kong Spirit Team is now well-recognized by the Asian Marathon Industry as a Star team with prominent branding and management. It has grown from 70 to 200 members, including blind ultramarathon runners.
The Hong Kong Government fully-funded the Hong Kong Ultra Marathon 100 km race on September 25 2015, which aroused citizens’ interest and impounded positive energy into society. The 2016 Xiqiao Mountain International Ultra Marathon, successfully held on June 18,19 and 26, was fully funded and highly praised by Foshan Nan Hai District Government, China Government and the IAU. We have therefore successfully launched ultramarathons in China with big grant entrances which are more solid than just corporate sponsorships.
Local, regional and worldwide media all recognized the ultramarathon development in both Hong Kong and China though our Races, Lectures, Training, CSR activities, and the 2 World Records that we have set.
Interviews screened on CCTV5, releases from China’s General Administration of Sport News and a 60-min Guangdong TV special program gave us ever-positive and strong impacts to both Hong Kong and China societies.
The Hong Kong Golf Club (one of the most prestigious Golf Clubs in Asia) have now invited us to jointly organize a charity race with a carnival on February 4 2017. The target is to raise HKD $500,000 to benefit the Single Parent Association
We propose to organize the first all-China National Blind Runners Half Marathon in March 2017.
Mr. B.J. Park, the Asia Director of IAU, is working with us to hold the IAU Asian Championships in Foshan, Guangdong China in April 2017.
It is pleasing for us to witness and experience the development of ultramarathons in both Hong Kong and Mainland China and it proves that our missions and objectives have been greatly successful.
The results we have achieved can be judged by the successful organization and running of the workshop training sessions and ultra-races as well as the setting-up of the Hong Kong Team Spirit and its promising results in international races, as described above.
We organized 2 seminars in Hong Kong and 3 in Mainland China – plus training sessions almost biweekly, which benefited 100+ under-privileged and 1000+ ultramarathon runners. Our marketing and communications ensured that the seminars and workshops were packed full and that a large number of runners took part in our events.
Our unique races both in Hong Kong and China achieved a high profile and hot topic in social media since they featured 12 national teams, 600 overseas runners, the participation of 12,000 runners with 40,000 spectators, and production of 340 articles, 40 M webpage views and reaching an 80 M global audience. We have promulgated the never-give-up mind set, the ultra-man and the ultramarathon. Two new World Records have been set and a Blind Runners tailor-made half marathon successfully launched. The above events utilized HKD $15 M total funding and we have more funding promised in future from both sponsors and Government.
Our events have increased our sponsors’ turnovers and consumption in local tourism. One of our sponsors, the National Arts Hotel, has witnessed a 10-fold increase in its turnover during the race days. The drinks sponsor C’estbon, car sponsor Nissan, clothing sponsor Decathlon and food sponsor Tianyuan Bakery were all appreciated by runners and the media for their high-quality products and sufficient supplies. The sponsors considered the events as successful marketing enterprises, which not only enhanced their positioning and promoted their products, but also left positive and deep impressions with their customers.
Furthermore, the IAU and China’s General Administration of Sport praised us for outstanding race organization and the IAU asked us to be Race Director for the Asian Ultramarathon Championships and the World Championships in the near future. Hence more plentiful and favorable results are expected.
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