From Intern to Sprinter: FIT for Charity Run 2011
I started my internship in the equity research department of Macquarie Securities Group, Tokyo, in the last week of August 2011. After working on projects in the transportation sector and on a strategy-related research project, the company had one last request of me. When Macquarie, a sponsor for the “FIT for Charity Run,” asked me to represent the company and raise money by joining the 400 meter relay team, I immediately thought of our Global Citizenship course at Hitotsubashi ICS and the first-hand experience of helping children and the homeless, and raising money to assist those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. It is great to see the business community actively giving back and I gladly accepted this opportunity to contribute. Macquarie also had several other employees who ran in the 5km and 10km events.
“FIT” stands for Financial Institutions in Tokyo. The Charity Run has been raising funds since 2005 to help make a positive impact to those in need in the Tokyo area. For this year, the funds were aimed at supporting the Tohoku region that is still struggling to recover from the earthquake and tsunami disasters on March 11th. According to the event website, the 2011 Run on November 6th raised 68 million JPY, and attracted 7,447 individual participants from 111 financial service companies and related organizations.
Held at the National Kasumigaoka Stadium, the 400m relay was the last event on the line-up. Indeed, in a fundraising event, the organizers, donors, participants, and recipients are all winners. Nonetheless, I could not help but focus on beating the other teams and at least winning the first heat, despite the odds: the runners next to me were wearing proper sprinting shoes with little metal spikes; one of our runners, Goto-san, had just ran the 5km race; and the third leg runner, me, has only jogged in the last several years, no sprinting. Things were not looking positive but we had a secret weapon as the final-leg runner, Sawano-san, who was a runner during his school days.
Unfortunately, even with a true sprinter on the team, we placed fifth in our heat. The cowboy with a fake horse head strapped to his belt (costumes were optional for this event) and his teammates were just fast enough to prevent Sawano-san from overtaking for fourth place. As we made our way back to our seats, the fact that I did not stretch for this event was made apparent by the tightening of hamstrings and burning in quadriceps, lovely sensations that stayed with me for 48 hours.
In the current tough economic environment, it was incredible to see the many financial companies and their thousands of employees come together for a good cause, raise a great deal of money and have fun while doing it. I am very glad that I was able to be a part of FIT for Charity and represent both Macquarie and Hitotsubashi ICS.
My legs, on the other hand, are glad that I did not sign up for the 10km run.