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Nearly 240,000 athletes join virtual community run Uprace 2021

November 25, 2021 | 02:00 am PT
UpRace has broken its record by accomplishing a goal of five million kilometers completed across 22 days, 238,000 runners, and VND5 billion ($220,500) in donations.

UpRace's achievement over the years.

Accomplished race amid obstacles galore

UpRace 2021 has yielded over VND5 billion for four charity organizations Newborns Vietnam, Operation Smile Vietnam, Green Viet, and Saigon Children’s Charity. The funding came from multiple sponsors: VNG, Philips Vietnam, Hong Ngoc Hospital, BIM Group, Minh Long I, Ong Bau Coffee, 365Begin, Younet Media, Garmin, Tiktok, among others.

This year's UpRace is more meaningful than ever as it overcame such challenging circumstances, being that the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging on. Besides having to follow social distancing and other pandemic preventive measures, months of home quarantine also took its toll on the runners’ physical strength.

On top of it, travel restrictions were removed when central Vietnam entered its harsh rainy season. Despite all that, over five million kilometers were completed - an absolute victory for runners across the country.


Runners from Quang Binh start their journey in the rain. Photo by UpRace

"On the first day of UpRace 2021, Quang Binh saw heavy rain and freezing weather. Still, it was 3 a.m. and Ho Chi Minh Square was filled with chatter and cheers of support from one runner to another. Under heavy raindrops, the orange figures from Quang Binh Runners pressing on tirelessly with persistence was an image I will never forget," Nhu Quynh, a representative of Mien Trung Runners (a collective from Quang Binh, Hue, and Quang Tri), said.

The record-long distance of UpRace 2021 reached 164.35 kilometers, covered by Tran Van Quynh, 42, of Ha Tinh Runners, in 31.5 hours. Quynh told of his experience: "Running gives me the will to overcome other obstacles in life. Though it’s my first time taking part in UpRace, I already felt its significance thanks to its far-reaching impact on the community. Without UpRace, I wouldn't have set such a high goal for myself."

According to Tran Xuan Ngoc Thao, a representative of the UpRace project: "This new record of UpRace 2021 speaks volumes. After the pandemic broke, everyone gained deeper awareness of their health and developed a strong desire to contribute to the community, even with something as insignificant as running. The project not only created a positive social movement but also showed the immensely strong connection runners have amongst themselves and their association, their team, and their goal of contributing to society."

Among over 3,000 participating teams, the respective top-ranking teams of the Corporate, Sport Club and University tables are VNG, HRT-Ha Tinh Runners, and Hanoi University of Science & Technology.

New smiles, new lives

As UpRace 2021 came to a close, over five million kilometers covered by the runners were "transformed" into almost 120 new smiles for children with cleft palates, a 25 percent reduction of mortality rate among newborns at 17 hospitals, 10,000 newly planted trees, and support for about 90 children orphaned by Covid-19.

These are the goals set by Operation Smile Vietnam, Newborns Vietnam, Green Viet and Saigon Children’s Charity for their upcoming campaign.

"In recent times, applications for social welfare are on the rise, so a sponsorship from UpRace during this period is really valuable; it will help us provide timely support to children who lost their family due to Covid-19," said Vuong Ngoc Vy Van, funding manager of Saigon Children's Charity (SCC).


A helping hand for children orphaned by Covid-19. Photo by UpRace

Nguyen Viet Phuong, chief representative of Operation Smile in Vietnam, said: "This wonderful outcome in both the finance and morale aspects during these difficult times has shown the community's interest in sports and running. As we band together to introduce more changes to our society, especially via surgeries to return the smiles to children with clefts, Operation Smile will definitely spread the message "sports can change lives" within the community."

Suzanna Elaine Lubran, managing director of Newborns Vietnam, said: "This year's UpRace was like a ray of light that lifted our spirit after the impacts of Covid-19; it gave us motivation and inspired us to reach out and help more people."

Tran Huu Vy, director of GreenViet Biodiversity Conservation Center, said: "The significance of this year’s event lies not only in raising funds for charity organizations and promoting good health for participants, but also in creating sentimental value for each person to overcome traumas caused by the pandemic."


Helping Green Viet continue their environmental mission. Photo by UpRace

"The runner community is expanding day by day and has a profound influence on changing Vietnamese people's notion on running. Though the UpRace event is held once a year, the mobile app remains an open and free platform for groups and associations to take the initiative in creating their own playing field, maintaining the sport as a habit, and contributing to the community in their own way," Thao added.

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