Running for a cause

26 Sep 2019 / 11:34 H.

SOME 600 runners were at the Boh Sungei Palas Tea Centre in Cameron Highlands early last Sunday morning for the third Boh charity fun run.

The event, which was supported by Tourism Pahang, was extra special this year as, besides its core aim to help raise funds for a conservation group, it was also held in conjunction with Boh’s 90th birthday.

As such, the runners who ranged from as young as seven years old to a number of participants in their 70s were given party hats – and also face masks in lieu of the haze that had blanketed many areas – before the start of the run.

Thankfully, it was lovely and clear as the runners tackled the 5km-long track through the hilly slopes of the tea plantation. Though it required a lot of stamina to complete, the runners managed to finish the run within an hour.

While the crowd cheered every runner who crossed the finishing line, the loudest cheer was for physically-challenged Hazlan Aris who managed to complete the run.

It was the first race in Cameron Highlands for Hazlan who came from Port Klang. He said he found out about the Boh Fun Run in a Facebook page dedicated to running events, and decided to participate while he was here on a trip with his family.

“It was a very good experience and even special, because I managed to do it with all my family members,” he added.

For his effort, he received a special hamper from Boh Plantations group chief financial officer Jason Foo.

The top male and female finishers, who were from Cameron Highlands, each received a Boh hamper.

Mohd Taufiq Affendi, 27, who has been running marathons since he left high school, was the first to complete the run.

The fastest female runner, who wanted to be known as Winn Khor, said she has been training every day in these hills for the fun run. The 55-year-old was happy that her efforts had paid off.

Participants of the run also got to take part in lucky draws as well as enjoyed hot cups of Boh tea and cupcakes to celebrate Boh’s 90th birthday.

The Boh Fun Run, since its inception in 2014, has helped raise funds to support the conservation and educational initiatives of local and regional environmental non-governmental organisations such as the Malaysian Nature Society and Global Environment Centre.

This year, Boh has partnered with non-profit organisation Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (TRCRC) to grow and develop conservation initiatives in Cameron Highlands as well as support long-term forest preservation, restoration and biodiversity.

TRCRC executive director Dr Dzaeman Zulkifli said: “The collaboration with Boh actually helps us fund seed collection in all the forest reserves in Cameron Highlands since July 2019.”

TRCRC was established in 2012 to restore tropical rainforest and address the critical rate of biodiversity loss in Malaysia. It aims to safeguard rare, threatened and endangered plant species and reintroduce them into their native habitats through landscape level initiatives.

The Boh 90th Birthday Fun Run managed to raise RM38,000 from its registration proceeds. Boh Plantations executive chairman Caroline Russell then handed a mock cheque of that amount to Dzaeman.

Earlier, in her speech, Russell said that Boh’s support of TRCRC through the Boh 90th Birthday Fun Run is an extension of Boh’s year-long strategic and sustainable collaboration where the company is able to play a part in protecting Malaysia’s tropical forest.

“It is wonderful to have so many runners travel up to Cameron highlands, despite the uncertainty of whether the run will take place in view of the haze,” she added.

“We are appreciative that you came not only to celebrate Boh’s birthday and enjoy the scenic view at our plantation but also to unite with us to protect our treasured tropical rainforests.

“This run is an important platform to help sensitise Malaysians and express the critical need to protect one of Malaysia’s unique national treasures.”

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