This year’s edition of the Eco TrailHiker was presented yesterday in a press conference by the organizers at the MGM Macau Ballroom.
This year’s edition, to be held on November 4, will have a new title sponsor (MGM) with an added number of participants (a growth of 10 percent for a total of 2,200 is expected). More eco-conscious measures in order to reduce waste will be discussed, the director of Macau TrailHiker Ltd. Robert Kirby announced during his opening speech.
“Our ongoing eco-commitment to reduce our carbon footprint of this event will continue and this year we will be issuing electronic certificates to all finishing teams instead of hard copies,” Kirby said, adding, “in the efforts to reduce the use of plastic, the IACM [Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau] kindly agreed to allow us to place temporary signs along the course thereby reducing the need for the use of plastic to mark the course.”
Another topic highlighted by Kirby was the acknowledgment that the start and finishing points of the race will be changed, placed at the new MGM Cotai property. “We have been able to preserve the integrity of both the 10k [Km] and 30k courses, which will remain the same as in 2016 with the only change to be the start and finish venue,” he said.
Remarking on the increased number of participants, Kirby said, “the interest has been increasingly high and we are sure we are going to fill all the 550 team slots very quickly,” recalling, “last year we sold-out in 18 hours.”
The CEO and executive director of MGM China Holdings Limited, Grant Bowie, welcomed the participants to the “first (of many) MGM Eco TrailHiker,” expressing the commitment of the company to continue to support the event. He also expressed hopes of a “long and successful relationship with TrailHiker,” noting that MGM wants to “expand and develop new activities that we all as a community [can benefit from and] to not only participate but to try to create a community spirit over many days of the year.”
As Bowie mentioned, “The TrailHiker is a community event that has become more than purely athletics,” acknowledging that this event offers the chance to explore places where people in Macau rarely go and also come into contact with nature.
Bowie also praised the IACM, noting that from his participation in the previous seven editions of the event, he noticed the effort from the government bureau in the “beautifying, regrowing and replanting of the green lung of Macau.”
The MGM head noted that as a community event, “it doesn’t matter your level of fitness or your level of commitment or training. It suits everybody,” adding, “we are all always very busy at work and this is one of those opportunities where we can put the work aside and actually focus on ourselves, our friends, our colleagues and most importantly on the opportunity to spend some quality time out in the open air.”
Remarking on the importance of such an event for MGM as title sponsor, Bowie said, “Obviously MGM is soon to open in Cotai and it seems an appropriate time that we put a stake on the grown that says ‘we are coming’,” acknowledging the work that has been done previously by Sands China in supporting the event.
“One of the good things of the gaming concessions in Macau is that we all want to contribute and when one finds it is time to move to something else, one of us is prepared to take up these events and to ensure that people in Macau, the community and our tourists continue to have quality experiences in Macau,” he said. Bowie also noted that is also an opportunity to “exercise some rivalry between corporations” in “good spirited competition”.
Similarly to previous editions, the event aims to contribute to two chosen charitable institutions, and this year the picks were the Rotary Club of Macau, which was also chosen for last year’s edition, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
As has been the case for the past seven years, TrailHiker will donate the team’s entry fees to these charity organizations, to aid their business operations in Macau.
During the press conference, the representatives of both the beneficiary organizations also had the opportunity to explain what they are as well as what kind of aid they provide.
Representing the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Sister Juliana Devoy, director of the Good Shepherd Center in Macau, explained their aim to assist women who have been or are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking.
The Rotary Club of Macau was represented by current president Fatima Ferreira, who explained that with the donations received they will focus on service projects for those with special needs, particularly “mentally and physically challenged people from children to adults in Macau.”
Both charity organizations said they were pleased to participate in the event so they could further spread their messages in the community.
Kirby added that the event had already contributed in the past years a total of MOP2.2 million in donations to the local community and charitable organizations, noting that only last year they donated a total of MOP400,000.
The inaugural TrailHiker was held at Hac Sa beach back in 2010, involving a total of 560 hikers. Since its inception the event has involved over 10,000 participants.
Macau Daily Times
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