SINGAPORE - The Community Chest Vertical Marathon kicked off, virtually for the first time, on Sunday (Sept 5).
It was previously a segment of the annual Community Chest Heartstrings Walk, organised by the Community Chest with Marina Bay Sands (MBS) since 2011.
But now, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, it is a standalone virtual event. It will go on till Oct 31, and aims to raise $2 million.
The marathon features an interactive digital platform that will take participants on a virtual expedition up five peaks in Asia, including Bukit Timah Hill and South Korea's Mount Yongmasan.
It hopes to rally the community to achieve a collective elevation of 38,000m. Participants can track their progress by climbing stairs or hills and receive an e-badge on completing the elevation tied to each peak. The elevation can be tracked using the fitness app Strava or a preferred tracking app.
At the launch, Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development, said: "As we physically scale these heights, they also become a metaphor for all the challenges that are thrown our way, especially in these trying times.
"When participants conquer the vertical marathon, I hope that this serves as a reminder and testament to the resilience and strength that we have. At the same time, you will be supporting and enabling our service users."
More than $1.4 million has already been raised for the vertical marathon.
All proceeds and donations will go to more than 100 social service agencies supporting five causes - adults with disabilities, persons with mental health conditions, seniors and families in need of support, children with special needs, and youth at risk.
Mr Nicholas Ionides, co-chairperson of Community Chest Vertical Marathon 2021 Committee and vice-president of communications at MBS, said in his welcome address: "Together, we can be a unifying force to bring greater positivity and impact to our community."
At the launch event, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament and Adviser to the National Council of Social Service, climbed the stairs at MBS with two representatives from the Community Chest and one from MBS, going up 57 storeys to reach the SkyPark.
Participants may join the vertical marathon individually for $38 or form a team of two at $68 and register at the website between Sept 5 to Oct 3. They will have till Oct 31 to clock their elevation.
They may also top up another $22 to receive an exclusive Uniqlo T-shirt featuring a design by Muhammad Naufal Azhari Jasmi from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School.
In line with the Year of Celebrating SG Women, Community Chest will also launch the Charity Masterclass series, which comprises four classes, including ones on stress management and yoga, conducted over Zoom by four female instructors. Those interested may sign up at the Community Chest website.
Each masterclass registration costs $38 and all proceeds will also go to the social service agencies supported by the Community Chest.