Saturday, May 18, 2024

72-yr-old runs 80k to create awareness for End Polio

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Ronald Chen, first on the left, with nine other runners as they scaled volcanoes for End Polio Day. Photo supplied.
Chen presents his certificate in achieving the completion of his 80k run. Photo supplied.
  • By Madison Chang

    With Covid slamming the brakes on a lot of planned events, Howick resident Ronald Chen decided that nothing would stop him from creating awareness for Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign by doing what he does best -running.

    October 24 was officially declared as Rotary’s End Polio Day internationally and every year, thousands of fundraising events are held globally to create awareness for the transformative work that Rotary has done in terms of eradicating the virus from the face of the earth in the last 35 years.

    As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent since the first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines.

    At the behest of Past District Governor Ron Seeto, Howick resident Ronald Chan, aged 72, decided to mark the End Polio Day by running 12 volcanoes across Auckland, all in one day.

    Chen had nine supporters and team members from other Rotary Clubs – including Auckland South, Manukau Sunrise and Auckland Harbourside – as he started his journey at Mt Eden at 7am and was greeted by District Governor Steve and his wife Edith Cheney at One Tree Hill.

    Chen finally arrived at Mangere Mountain where he was cheered by Past District Governor and District Foundation Chair Jennie Herring.

    Chen, who runs 15-20km daily, says that he started running only eight years ago. He has now completed more than 120 marathons and 300 half marathons. The longest distance he has covered in an ultra-marathon is 160km.

    The elite runner says that they received lots of encouragement whilst covering the 12 volcanoes in one day.

    “We followed rules of Covid alert level 3 with fewer than 10 people at all times. Though it was drizzling all day, we ran 80km to successfully build awareness for Rotary’s End Polio Day,” Chen says.

    • Watch out for the Polio All Transit event on February 25, 2022.
    • Madison Chang is the public relations lead of Rotary International District 9920 Foundation (Auckland and Pacific Islands).

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