RUNNING FOR A GOOD CAUSE
By Adela Megan Willy
A good cause can make training for and running a race much more meaningful. Since its inception in the year 2000, the The Edge Kuala Lumpur Rat Race has been a highlight on Corporate Malaysia’s calendar of corporate social responsibility events, raising as much as RM20.32 million to date to benefit many local charities.
Scheduled to take place on July 25, the race will be flagged off from Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur. Participants will race past lush greenery and iconic landmarks, including the House of Parliament, Tugu Negara and Bank Negara Malaysia.
Since the Rat Race, which was inspired by the Carey Wall St. Rat Race in New York, involves the corporate sector doing its bit for charity, it is fitting that this year’s route will take in the seat of political power and the central bank.
Since 2014, and in line with The Edge Education Foundation’s objectives, funds raised from the Rat Race have been used to support programmes to enhance English proficiency and financial literacy, which are run by the foundation, as well as a small scholarship programme.
The Rat Race will comprise three categories this year: (i) the Main Race (five-member teams running 5km); (ii) the CEO Race (1.5km); and (iii) Cheering & Team Spirit.
In terms of sponsors, the Rat Race will be “Powered By” property developer Eco World Development Group Bhd, while Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd and ceramic and porcelain tile provider Feruni Ceramiche Sdn. Bhd. are of the “Platinum” and “Gold” sponsors.
Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd will be the official TV and radio partner and 100Plus the official drink sponsor.
This year will see the entry of Bell & Ross Malaysia as the official time keeper.
While it is interesting to see corporate figures channeling their energy outside the office and taking part in a race, this year’s Rat Race will focus “more on the non-competitive element” says The Edge Media Group publisher and group CEO Ho KayTat.
“We want the race to be a little bit more fun and less competitive. We will probably give out more prizes this year, for the best dressed and racers and also the best cheerleading team, as we want to recognize the race supporters as well,” Ho says.
For EcoWorld executive director Liew Tian Xiong, the group’s partnership with The Edge goes beyond just a working relationship as both companies are on the same page in terms of giving back to society. “We have been involved with the Rat Race for a while now. The Edge is a good media partner of ours and both The Edge and EcoWorld believe in assisting the underprivileged,” says Liew.
“We have our own EcoWorld Foundation, which focuses on education. The foundation’s EcoWorld Students Aid Programme provides financial assistance to 3,000 underprivileged primary school students nationwide,” he says.
Feruni Ceramiche’s managing director and co-founder Datuk CC Ngei says its continued sponsorship of the Rat Race is driven by the support Feruni and The Edge give to education. “Our company is driven to creating a better community, just like The Edge, which advocates for education. It is something that we would like to continue doing. What Malaysia needs is better education,” he says.
Matric Concepts, meanwhile, has been raising awareness of education through its Matrix Concepts Foundation and hopes to be able to intensify this through its involvement in the Rat Race. “We are doing this to raise awareness on the importance of education. This is something that has always been close to our hearts here at the group,” says property development CEO Leong Jee Van.
Bell & Ross Malaysia general manager for Asia Tong Chee Wei says “it is an honour” to be approached to be a sponsor of the event. “It is an honour to be associated with the Rat Race. I grew up with the event. It may be our first time being part of it, but I have a great feeling it’s going to be exciting,” he says.