We believe that all of us have a role to play when it comes to standing #WithRefugees and we are incredibly grateful for support we’ve received from the running community in Hong Kong. Gone Running is not only our favourite running store in Hong Kong, they were also one of our first partners when we started in 2015.
Over the years, the Gone Running team has gone the distance for RUN and refugees in Hong Kong. They’ve given our refugee athletes training and secondhand gear so that our athletes can perform to their best abilities, organised movie screenings, talks, and running sessions to fundraise for RUN, and been a key partner in our annual RUN Charity Race by hosting our race kit pick-ups and donating prizes for the winners.
We love working with the Gone Running team and we recently sat down with John Ellis, Ultra Runner and Director at Gone Running, to hear what he had to say about working with RUN.
How did you first hear about RUN?
It was back in early 2015 that I first heard about Free to Run (as it was called back then) and we met with Stephanie Case. We wanted to understand more about their great work and how we could help, and that started by raising them HK$6,600 at our Summits of My Life film screening. Since then, we’ve helped with training, secondhand running gear and other charity events including our Evening of Ultra Trail, Mira screening and, more recently, Trails in Motion 6 with LinkedIn.
Why do you support RUN?
We just love what RUN does. Let’s face it, many of us are extremely lucky. Our big problems are pretty small when compared to what many refugees go through – being uprooted from their homes, family and friends, being forced to travel to distant and strange lands with their lives on hold, years of uncertainty… Trail running has an ethos of helping those in need, and this is exactly what RUN does, so it’s a really natural fit. The team, led by Virginie, are so wonderful and we get to see first-hand the amazingly positive impact it has on the refugees.
What do you think we as the Hong Kong community can do to better support refugees?
Firstly, RUN is doing an amazing job with the refugees but the numbers are stacked against them here. It’s crazy to think that Hong Kong currently has one of the world’s lowest acceptance rates for refugees at under 1%, and yet maybe a million Hong Kongers came here as refugees themselves in the 1950s. Hong Kong doesn’t recognise the UN Refugee Convention and refugees are forced to wait years for a decision, while not able to work. If we believe that refugees can make a positive contribution – and we certainly do – we should all be pressuring the government here to be more humane and understanding in their treatment of refugees.