Jogging in a heavy costume can get hot and uncomfortable, even during winter in Hong Kong, but that did not deter some 250 participants from joining the “Run for a Claus” fundraising treasure hunt.
This was the second year that accounting giant KPMG held the event to raise money for Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity campaign organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.
A total of 46 teams of four to six members gathered at the company’s Causeway Bay headquarters on December 1. Some participants wore Santa outfits or festive-themed costumes, appearing as Christmas trees, elves and reindeer. Others played famous characters such as Elmo, Cookie Monster and the Super Mario Brothers.
Guided by iPads, the teams ran around the city tackling multiple challenges that took them to eight different locations where Operation Santa Claus beneficiaries were based.
KPMG partner of corporate social responsibility Pat-Nie Woo, who was dressed as mockumentary character Borat and led a team called K-Hero, said the organisers were following up on the success of last year’s event.
“Last year was the first year that we did ‘Run for a Claus’, and that was a great success. All of our colleagues had a wonderful time, and we got to meet the Operation Santa Claus beneficiaries,” Woo said.
“And so, with so many colleagues having so much fun, and us winning the most creative fundraising award last year, it was a no-brainer to do it again.”
Woo’s team, which clinched the Best Dressed Award, found the treasure hunt as challenging as it was fun.
“I think it’s a lot of fun, and some of the teams get to interact with colleagues they don’t usually interact with and just go in the city. This year we go to Kowloon, and some of our colleagues don’t go to Kowloon at all,” Woo said.
“So they will be going to the places that they don’t usually venture into like Sham Shui Po or Yau Ma Tei and a lot of other places, so it’s an eye-opener for a lot of our colleagues.”
Last year’s event was held on Hong Kong Island, so some participants were surprised by the switch to Kowloon.
Ansel Yip, whose team opted for Super Mario Brothers costumes, based on the video game franchise. said: “We thought it was on Hong Kong Island, so we need to plan how to cross the harbour now. But we are confident, with last year’s experience, that we can complete all the tasks,” he said.
First-time racer Alexis Schlosser, zipped up in a Cookie Monster jumpsuit, said: “I’ve just joined KPMG, and it’s very funny to meet other people dressed up like this. I think it’s a good thing, and it’s for charity,” he said. “I was afraid it would be cold, but now I’m sweating already.”
Also taking part for the first time was KMPG client Eloise Fardon, Her team IWIRC, which stands for International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, was the event’s top fundraiser, at HK$36,730.
“This is our first time, and we are so excited. We know each other through IWIRC, and we like to support local charities in Hong Kong, so it seems to be a great way to have fun and support a good cause,” Fardon said.
Woo said he was already looking forward to staging the event again next year.
“We are hoping to do so. We’ve had a few clients join this year, and if the word gets out that it’s fun and exciting, we would like to see more clients come and do it together with us so that it can grow into a bigger race.”
This year’s event raised more than HK$500,000 – double the amount in 2016.