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C6 Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FITNESS & WELL-BEING

A RUN FOR

YOUR MONEY

A

t the height of Chris Lieto’s professional triathlon career, the American had just finished second at the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in 2009. He owned a growing stack of race wins and course records, and was known as the fastest cyclist in the sport. Ironically, although he is now plagued with an Achilles injury that has resulted in a drought of performances for about two years, Lieto is feeling more fulfilled than ever. His source of joy: More Than Sport, a charity that brings the athletic, business and charitable communities together. He started sowing the seeds in 2010, and the non-profit organisation is now beginning to blossom in impact and reach. Based in Hawaii, where Lieto lives with his family, More Than Sport will make its first major move into Asia next weekend with the Summit Series in Hong Kong. The initiative brings together speakers from the sporting, corporate and philanthropic

Seeing lifechanging things happen with More Than Sport – that’s truly fulfilling CHRIS LIETO (ABOVE)

worlds, to discuss how to live with more passion and purpose in life, and network for future collaborations. “I’ve raced a lot in Asia in the past five years; I love the people and the culture,” says Lieto, 41. “I think Hong Kong is a great point to help raise awareness and need for charities in Asia.” More Than Sport has held a few activities in this region, all in conjunction with races Lieto has competed in. Money raised through donations from race participants and sponsors goes towards funding projects for the local community through collaborations with a local charity. Lieto has also gathered a team of professional and amateur athletes for hands-on involvement in the projects. In June this year, at the Biznet Bali Triathlon in Indonesia, more than US$4,000 was raised. Working together with the Bali Sports Foundation, six wheelchairs were provided for disabled athletes, swimming lessons were offered for the disabled and a soccer game for the blind was organised. In Vietnam’s Thua Thien-Hue province at this April’s Laguna

HEALTH BITES ............................................ Jeanette Wang jeanette.wang@scmp.com

Professional athlete Chris Lieto turned his love of triathlons into a charity that helps the underprivileged, writes Jeanette Wang

Lang Co Triathlon, donations totalling US$15,000 funded water filtration systems in five schools, providing 1,200 children with clean water. Lieto and a group of about Vietnamese schoolchildren 30 athletes helped build the provided with clean water filtration systems. by money raised from a The US$60,000 raised at recent triathlon the Laguna Phuket Triathlon in Thailand last November went towards funding the “Fully Booked!” mobile library and learning centre project. This provides alternative learning resources for children and teachers in rural areas of Phuket and Phang Nga. “Athletes strive to be the best because we’re seeking fulfilment in that victory. But most of the time, after you win a race, within an hour or a week you’re already looking to the next event because it doesn’t fulfil you,” says Lieto. “Seeing life-changing things happen with More Than Sport – that’s truly fulfilling.” Lieto got the inspiration to start the charity the day before a big triathlon in Mexico. The race organisers had flown him in, and More Than Sport volunteers build a home for flood victims in Panama. put him up in a four-star resort. Lieto took his bike out to recce More Than Sport branded athletic performance. It was cool estimated that up to US$620 the course. merchandise, using a percentage to meet someone so talented and billion is spent every year in the A few kilometres from the of the profits to over operational sports industry, which spans many yet so grounded,” says Ng. resort, he saw something that “There’s so much money costs. stakeholders from clubs, leagues, “changed his life”. There were that’s being dumped into sports. But Lieto is someone who federations and athletes to several kids playing in the trees, relishes a challenge. A former How do we take that passion and sponsorships and broadcasters. and as he peered deeper beyond swimmer with no running or interest that people have, and Through the new More Than Sport the tall shrubs, he saw a family cycling background, he didn’t get translate that into doing website launching next month, living out of boxes and pieces of something for other people involved in triathlons until he was Lieto hopes more of those dollars stacked wood – “conditions not fit instead of glorifying ourselves?” 25. But he set himself the goal that will go towards charity by for any human being”, Lieto says. he wanted to be among the best in As More Than Sport grows, providing a platform for athletes, “As a husband and father, my Lieto faces the challenge of finding the world, and he eventually fans corporations and charities – heart broke for these people,” he achieved it. finances to hire more staff. The all with the heart to do more for says. “It hit me that the next day organisation has three full-time “I also set the same goal of the less fortunate – to find each about 1,000 athletes would be on staff, two are volunteers and do using my impact and influence, if I the course riding past this location other more easily. Athletes and not draw a salary. All the money was blessed to do well in the sport, with the locals cheering for us, and fans will be able to set up their to make a difference,” says Lieto. own fundraising page for whatever raised goes towards charity. none of us would know they have “Many athletes approach races Lieto has also started selling cause they choose. massive need. So instead of “It’s really ignoring the problem, why not use going to be a sports as a vehicle for change?” robust system A recent article in The Globe for people to and Mail newspaper in Canada take action,” says estimated the cost to take part in Lieto. “Before, the an Ironman – which involves a 3.8website was just kilometre swim, a 180.2-kilometre bike ride, and a 42.2-kilometre run informational.” Professional athletes – at between C$7,300 (HK$54,300) who have been involved in and C$26,500, including equipment and training costs, race More Than Sport projects include Brazilian racing car fees, travel and accommodation. driver Tony Kanaan, winner of But big dollars are not unique this year’s Indianapolis 500, to triathlon; the global sports top US runners Ryan and Sara industry is a huge money pot. A 2009 report from AT Kearney Hall, and triathlon champions Craig Alexander of Australia and Leanda Cave of Britain. Olympians, major league baseball players, PGA Tour golfers and professional surfers have also been involved, and Lieto is working on an arrangement with Brazilian soccer players ahead of the 2014 World Cup. Hong Kong age-group triathlete Bill Ng has been volunteering with More Than Sport since he first met Lieto at the Phuket race last year. Ng, an equity finance trader with Credit Suisse, helped out with the projects in Phuket and Vietnam, and is helping to organise the More Than Sport volunteer Hong Kong summit. “I was a fan of Chris; I heard Jonathan Story leads a about his reputation, that he didn’t swimming class in Bali. Triathlete Bill Ng volunteers just want to be known for his for the charity.

Light sleepers There’s a new factor in childhood weight gain: sleep. Published in the Pediatrics journal, a three-week study involved 37 children aged eight to 11, a quarter of whom were overweight. In week one, they slept their usual amount. In week two, they were randomly assigned to sleep more or less. In the final week, they were on the opposite schedule. In the week of more sleep, kids consumed an average of 134 fewer calories daily, weighed about 225 grams less, and had lower fasting levels of a hungerregulating hormone related to body fat – compared with the week of decreased sleep.

1,200

with a lot of anxiety to perform, but in the past three to four years I’ve been very relaxed because my identity doesn’t hinge on victory. If I win or lose a race, it doesn’t change who I am. And when you have an attitude like that, you perform much better.” jeanette.wang@scmp.com More Than Sport Asia Summit, Nov 16, 3pm, 2/F Island ECC, 633 King’s Rd, North Point. Tickets HK$200 (HK$250 at the door); proceeds to Mother’s Choice and Operation Smile. Go to facebook.com/MoreThanSport for details

Botox a shot in the arm for the treatment of pain Scientists have modified the anti-wrinkle drug Botox and created a new molecule that can treat neurological disorders such as chronic pain and epilepsy. Nearly two dozen researchers from 11 institutions used elements of Botox and tetanus neurotoxins to develop a molecule with new biomedical properties and no unwanted toxic effects. A single injection could potentially relieve pain for months. The researchers say their finding now has to be tested on humans.

Healthy pizza, any way you slice it Can a pizza be healthy? Researchers in Glasgow have analysed and reformulated typical pies to make a new pizza recipe that they say is a nutritionally balanced meal. After carefully studying 25 store-bought pizzas containing between 200 and 562 calories, high sodium levels and few essential vitamins and minerals, the researchers concocted a recipe with less salt, whole-wheat flour, and vitamins and minerals. Then they threw in some Scottish seaweed for flavour. The team claims that taste-testing members of the public have given the pizza a thumbs-up for flavour and appearance.

WE RUN HK ................................................ Rachel Jacqueline life@scmp.com The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, which started in 1997 with a humble collection of 1,000 runners, has grown into a running festival for the city, with 73,000 racers expected to take part in next year’s event. To celebrate the city’s passion for the sport, we’ll be featuring one inspirational local runner each week until the February 16 race. Most runners probably wouldn’t recognise Charlotte Cutler from the front. The 40-year-old managing director of a strategic risk advisory firm is one of the city’s fastest women, with a 10 kilometre personal best of 37 minutes, 56 seconds. Winner of the 10 kilometre women’s race at the 2007 Hong Kong Marathon, and runner-up every year she’s competed since then, the Italia Running Club member is looking forward to competing next year after giving birth to her second son in February. I started running when I was 13. My sports teacher encouraged

Harvard and Yale for over 30 years. It was held at Harvard University’s athletics track and was an incredible day of athletics. I managed to win the 400 metres hurdles, in which I set a personal best, and our Cambridge/Oxford team won the 4x400 metres relay by the narrowest of margins, thereby securing victory. They’ve not beaten Harvard and Yale since.

me to join the local athletics club. We used to train three times a week on a dirty, old cinder track, which became a sea of mud when it rained. I carried on training and competing throughout school and university and have continued to this day, 27 years on, training year-round and competing regularly. My favourite run is around Central Park in New York. I lived there for three years and must have run around Central Park hundreds of times; in snow, rain, sleet, and sun. Whatever the weather, whatever the day, whatever the time, you will always find dozens of other runners doing just the same thing. You can never be lonely running in Central Park. My most memorable running experience was taking part in the 1993 Oxford and Cambridge versus Harvard and Yale athletics match – the world’s oldest international athletics fixture, dating back to 1894. I was studying at Cambridge and competing for their athletics club, which, combined with Oxford’s club, had not beaten

I fit running into my life around a 2½-year-old and an eightmonth-old, while also juggling work. There are certain times of the week known as when ‘Mummy goes running’. Other days I find I have to squeeze in a training session or a run whenever I can, be it the halfhour gap between the boys’ tea and bath time or early in the morning. Having a sympathetic husband definitely helps.

Charlotte Cutler stretches at Aberdeen Sports Ground. Photo: David Wong

I run because I can. A hard session will leave me gasping for air, and I can’t honestly say I enjoy any step of a hard-fought race. But there’s something about running which brings me back day after day. I ran throughout both my pregnancies – up to 39 weeks in

each case – and found it made me stronger, both mentally and physically. I am joining the Hong Kong Marathon because running is part of who I am, and I couldn’t imagine not taking part in the city’s biggest race. I’ve entered the SCM every year since I arrived here and have missed only two races, as I was nine months pregnant both times. I would love to go for a win, but I’ve just had 18 months off proper training because of pregnancy and injury, so it’s going to be an uphill battle. At the least, I’d like to run a respectable time [in the 10 kilometres] – anything under 40 minutes, given my current level of fitness. Winning would be fantastic, but I know that running isn’t everything. Given that I’m starting almost from scratch, even making it to the finish line would be an achievement. My first thought at the finish line will be “Thank God it’s over”. If I didn’t run I would go crazy. Just ask my husband.


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