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2,000 get in shape for Taipei 101 Run Up

The China Post--Two weeks before the annual Taipei 101 Run Up, locals came together and got into shape — literally.

Some 2,000 locals formed an 80-meter shape of the iconic skyscraper early yesterday in the plaza of Taipei City Hall.

Participants then broke out into an energetic routine of step aerobics, reaching a symbolic total of 1,001 steps in a half hour.

The event is a warm-up for the Taipei 101 Run Up on June 10. This year's race sees amateur and professional runners alike scaling the highrise in four events: the elite, corporate, and individual challenges, as well as a five-way relay.

For corporate, individual, and relay events, at least a portion of registration fees will go to ORBIS International, a nonprofit that corrects debilitating ocular diseases in developing countries.

Some 80 percent of blind people suffer needlessly from preventable or treatable blindness, according to the World Health Organization.

Fundraiser

Sunday's aerobics session also doubled as a pre-run fundraiser.

Each of the 2,000 participants donated NT$300 to ORBIS. Standard Chartered is set to match the sum for a total donation of NT$1.2 million, according to Taiwan branch CEO Ajay Kanwal.

Participants yesterday included registered racers for June's Taipei 101 Run Up, as well as bank employees, actor James Wen (溫昇豪), nine visually impaired local children, and two Taiwanese physicians who have toured with ORBIS missions.

A glaucoma or cataract operation costs a pittance but delivers tremendous impact, said Director Lu Da-wen (呂大文) of the Tri-Service General Hospital (三軍總醫院).

A NT$1.2 million donation could transform the lives of 4,000 children, he said.

Since 2004, Lu has toured with ORBIS in the Philippines, India, and Myanmar.

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Standard Chartered President Ajay Kanwal, second left, and Taiwanese actor James Wen (溫昇豪), second right, pose onstage before a session of step aerobics in Taipei, yesterday.

(CNA)

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