Thousands of people early on Sunday participated in the 2020 Fun Run in Ho Chi Minh City which raised VND1.1 billion (US$47,600) in cash, plus VND700 million ($30,290) worth of in-kind donations from 42 sponsors and supporters.
Held by the British Chamber of Commerce Vietnam (BritCham Vietnam), the Fun Run which was in its 20th year was said to be designed as a fun family outing event, as well as a team building activity for companies and friend groups.
But most importantly, the marathon was meant for charity causes supporting people in need throughout Vietnam, the organizers said.
The event in District 7 attracted people coming with their families, friends, colleagues, and even their pets to enjoy a joyous weekend morning.
After a head-start with multiple exciting activities, runners flocked to the beginning point of the route.
The 5km race started at 8:00 am by a signal gun from Emily Hamblin, UK Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City.
As a first-timer, Hamblin could not hide her fondness before the Fun Run.
The run, as Hamblin believed, was “not only a lot of fun, but it also raises considerable funding for some really important charities that are doing work all across Vietnam.
“I know that this has been a particularly difficult year with the global COVID-19 pandemic, and then, more recently, with the flooding and extreme weather in the central of Vietnam," she shared.
“This event has been running for over 20 years, there have been over 120,000 runners.
“And I'm so grateful to everybody who's turned out today to run to support and cheer on their friends and colleagues, so I'm really looking forward to being able to take part."
According to Hamblin, in the past 20 years, over VND120 billion ($5.1 million) has been raised by the Fun Run for charities doing work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and other important causes across Vietnam.
Meanwhile, John Campbell, general director of Mace, a sponsor of BritCham Fun Run 2020, considered the event not as a business opportunity, but rather a chance to “give back” to the society.
“I don't believe a company is looking to get anything from the Fun Run itself,” he said.
“A company will get some exposure in terms of our business, but it is about giving something back.
“I think this year has been unprecedented in terms of COVID-19 and the major flooding in central Vietnam, which have been really bad for us all, so this is about giving something back to the community.
“There are a lot of charities that have given money to give something back and we are absolutely delighted to be part of this."
Just like Campbell, Alex Falter, vice-chairman of BritCham Vietnam, also believed in “a very long history of corporate responsibility” of British companies, which started in the early 1800s.
“Basically, it's absolutely vital that people and corporations protect the interests that we have out there, being social, environmental, and legal, so we are a big believer in it,” Falter emphasized.
He also added that the great news is that Vietnam “also had that embedded in its culture."
The vice-chairman of BritCham Vietnam was enthusiastic that both cultures could “take this forward together and take it to new levels."
Leading the race was Le Dang Khoa, one of the investors from Shark Tank Vietnam. He joined the Fun Run as a goodwill ambassador to share his belief in the community-serving responsibility of businesses.
Attending the run with her colleagues, Jodi West -- country head of ANZ Vietnam -- said she was “really pleased to be part of the fun run this year."
“It is a great team building activity,” West commented.
“My team here in Vietnam wants to run, so it is a great way to come together on a Sunday morning."
Asked about whether she aimed at the first prize, she happily denied it and explained “this is all about having some fun, while we are having very worthwhile causes."
When most of the attendees finished their route, the participants flocked to the stage area for the awards ceremony, which celebrated the champions in the male category, female category, and teen category.
Before the ceremony began, the crowd enjoyed performances from singer Orange, singer Bich Ngoc from InQ International, and the Little Lyricists and Young Lyricists dance crews from Soul Academy.
“I feel really happy. It has been a while since my last short-distance run. My friends enticed me to join the event with them," male category winner Hua Thuan Long shared his feelings after the run.
Nguyen Thao Nguyen, winner of the female category, also felt the same.
“I feel very happy today,” Nguyen said.
“As the pandemic has dragged on from the beginning of the year, a run like today is an opportunity for getting together with friends, and with the first prize, my happiness is doubled."
Aside from prizes for the runners, the Fun Run also had various lucky draw prizes for all the participants, with all the awards coming from the Fun Run’s sponsors.
Below are some photos taken at the 2020 Fun Run in Ho Chi Minh City: