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Wuxi's red envelope runners

Updated : 2017-01-20
(chinadaily.com.cn)

A street sweeper holds a red envelope as the runners continue their morning circuit. Runners are free to gift whatever amount they like while taking part in the hongbao run. [Photo provided to China Daily]

By the time the runners leave the downtown Changjie area and head northeast they start to worry they haven't brought enough hongbao for all those early morning workers dressed in high visibility jackets. As it turns out this fear is unwarranted. The runners finish the last few kilometers along Xingchang South Road with a few red envelopes remaining.

Stood back outside McDonalds Kenny and Diana Hsu-Hopkins, a heavily involved Wuxi resident responsible for the English language website Wuxi City Guide, estimate they came across 25 to 30 street sweepers during their hour and a half long run.

There is an informal authenticity to this act of running charity. Runners are free to fill their envelopes with whatever amount they see fit and the activity has spread by word of mouth following the handful of people who joined Kenny on last year's hongbao run. Some mention having found out about the idea through social media and others say they will be sure to bring friends along in future years.

A handful of the morning runners continue their route after handing over several hongbao to one street sweeper. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"With the help of Diana and Wuxi City Guide it [the run] just kind of grew and the word got out. Now we have two runs scheduled for this year," says Kenny.

A second hongbao run is planned for the weekend, Jan 22, to cater for those keen but unable to take part in the midweek run. Although is Kenny pleased with the growth of the charity run, he hopes with time and concerted effort the hongbao event with spread further.

"I'd like to add more people and eventually I'd like it to spread not only in Wuxi but to other cities throughout China. I'd like the word to get out so people do it everywhere to show there appreciation for street sweepers."

One runner stands in bearing the specially designed yellow shirts for this year's run. The Chinese characters on the shirt 'ai chen pao' describes people who love running in the morning. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Individuals interested in participating in Don Kenny's hongbao run can get involved at www.wuxicityguide.com or by contacting Diana Hsu-Hopkins- WeChat ID:Diana_hsu_hopkins.

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