A global conservation virtual running event commencing in Sarawak
KUCHING: What started as a solo project for a virtual runner for the ‘Run and Bleed for the Wild: orang utan and shark conservation’ programme is slowly blossoming to a worldwide effort as virtual runners from other parts of the world have also signed on.
Other countries with runners registered for the Virtual Run include Australia, China, England, Indonesia, Jordan, Laos, Myanmar, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, USA and Vietnam.
For Dr Melvin Gumal – recipient of Whitley Award for Conservation in Ape Habitats 2014 and Whitley-Segré Conservation Fund 2016 – the support is so welcoming.
“This is even from runners who intend to walk for 2 km in possibly two feet of snow to support Sarawak’s orang-utans and sharks,” he said, adding that a map will be prepared to show rural Sarawakians what orang-utans mean to the global population.
“Sharks are also on their agenda as some swimmers from Indonesia expressed their desire to swim in the sea in support of the conservation of sharks, rays and skates on the approximate dates,” he said.
“Some of the virtual runners will be taking images of their run, in addition to sending track-logs of their events to us for verification.”
Meanwhile, runners from Brunei, Canada and Switzerland have also expressed interest while virtual runners from other states such as Penang and Selangor have already registered for the run.
For Villarin, a virtual runner from Singapore, “I’ve become a dad recently and I’ve realised the importance of letting our next generation have the chance to experience the wonders of Mother Nature. This will not happen if no effort is put into conservation. So I am running for the wild and for my child’s sake at the same time.”
The run is organised by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) -Malaysia, Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, and partially sponsored by Sarawak Energy among others.
Virtual Runners are those who run in their own cities around the world, either in the 2 km fun walk, 5 km and 10 km run and this coincides with the event in Kuching.
The date for the run which commences from Swinburne Sarawak’s campus in Kuching is December 10 this year. More details can be found here: http://www.runforthewildmalaysia.com/about/
Professor Janet Gregory, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Swinburne University, when contacted, said that it was exciting for Swinburne to continue to be part of the Run and Bleed for the Wild, especially now that it has grown to become a truly global event through Virtual Runners taking part from all over the world.
“Wildlife and habitat conservation are important no matter where we are in the world. I hope more Virtual Runners will sign up and carry this message wherever they are, whether in Serian or Siberia!”
The ‘bleed’ part of the event is just as important. The JCI Swinburne Youth Chapter is organising a blood donation drive in collaboration with the Serian Hospital.
Members of the public are encouraged to come to the Swinburne Sarawak campus at Jalan Uplands, to donate much needed blood any time from 9 am to 4.30 pm on December 10.
On that day, participants can visit the University’s ‘Chillax’ (Open Day) course counsellors. Early birds are also encouraged to attend the launch of the Swinburne Green Wall at 9.15 am and stay back to chat with Gregory before meeting the course counsellors or donating blood for the worthy cause,
For the actual Run & Bleed for the Wild in Kuching, 12 members of the Sarawak Society for the Deaf are also taking part in the 5 km run in support of conservation. A video of them supporting the event can be seen at: https://twitter.com/Gumal/status/800913472405938176.
This event is organised to raise awareness and gain the support of the public for conservation of orang-utan, sharks, rays and skates in Sarawak. While registration for the actual Run in Kuching has closed, individuals interested in becoming Virtual Runners can register at http://www.runforthewildmalaysia.com/registration/.