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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, March 22: The 4th Kuching Heritage Race, which was held on Feb 16 this year, hopes to open up for international participation in the near future so that visitors too can experience and explore local culture and heritage in an exciting and entertaining way.
Organising chairman Philip Yong highlighted that the annual event had gone from strength to strength since it first started in 2015.
“We would like to make this more exciting as we are moving into internationalising this event,” he told reporters at the brief ceremony to present donations raised from the race to six under-funded charities at Kino Kuching In & Out office in Padungan here.
However, he revealed that among the challenges to organising a bigger event was the amount of work needed to prepare the race eight months in advanced as well as getting volunteers to assist with the race route and the activities along the way.
Besides committee members, he said an additional 130 volunteers helped with this year’s race, which attracted 43 teams with a total of 208 participants.
Supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), Yong hoped the event would one day be included in the Sarawak Calendar of Events.
As organiser and curator of the race, Yong pointed out that the committee members and volunteers had themselves learnt so much about the vibrant heritage as well as the many hidden gems around Kuching.
“It provides a great opportunity and a wonderful way for us and participants to discover the many different parts of Kuching and learn something along the way that we did not know before,” he said.
Yong, thus, encouraged more participants from outside Kuching, like Sibu and Miri, to join future editions of the race so they could take the experience back and evolved this race in their hometowns.
He emphasised the importance of nurturing love among the local community for the city as all citizens should play their role as ambassadors to the city, especially in countering any negativity towards the city, like how people often assumed or supposed there was nothing much to do and see in Kuching.
The Heritage Race is a treasure hunt, where teams of contestants use a map to find control points or stations. At each station, there is a task to be fulfilled relating to the local culture and heritage.
The race this year was themed ‘Darul Hana Revisited’, which focused on the area around Kampung Ajibah Abol.
This year’s activities included flipping roti canai, practising `joget’ and silat. There were also ‘brainy quizzes’ related to Kuching’s history and heritage that reduced the teams’ time for each correct answer.
The team finding all the stations and completing all the tasks in the shortest period of time is declared the winner.
This year, SCB emerged the winner and walked away with RM800, while second and third placings went to Rainforest Wanderers (RM500) and The Margherita Troupe (RM300), respectively. The Best Media Social was awarded to M5, Best Team Spirit was Rojak Penang and Best Costume was The Birdy Groomy and The Margherita Troupe.
The race raised RM23,000, in which all proceeds were disbursed to under-funded charities, namely Catama Borneo, Kuching Parkinsons Society, 2 Tree Lodge, Single Mother’s Association, Heart Treasures and a token sum to Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).
The organiser expressed gratitude and thanks to MTACYS, STB, SCB, Sarawak Energy, Committee of Management for Kuching Chung Hua Middle Schools No 1, 3 and 4 chairman Datuk Richard Wee, Secret Recipe, Borneo Adventure, Water Genesis, Chung Hua Middle School No. 4 and St Joseph School for making this year’s race a success.
SSPCA president Datin Donna Drury-Wee and Kino chief executive officer and editor Marian Chin were present. — DayakDaily