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British Expat in Singapore, Paul Hopkins, walks 100km barefoot for charity


On 2 June, British expat PAUL HOPKINS, Head of Funds & Advisory Asia at Barclays, is tackling a 100km sponsored walk in support of Habitat for Humanity Singapore. His final 5km will coincide with the Bare Your Sole barefoot charity walk at Tanjong Rhu, which last year saw 4,000 participants kick off their shoes to raise $130,000 for Habitat. We spoke with Paul in the lead-up to his sizeable stroll.

Have you walked 100km in one go before?

Yes, I’ve completed many long-distance challenges in the past, both on foot and by bicycle. Most recent was the Caledonian Challenge in Scotland, a hill walk over 90km; I did it in 17 hours.

All my challenges aim to raise funds for good causes. I once rode 400km from London to Amsterdam for the British Heart Foundation, for example.

What’s the hardest thing about covering this distance?    

The biggest physical challenge this time will be the heat and humidity of Singapore. Mentally, I tend to focus on finishing, so it will be purely mind over matter towards the end of the walk. I have strong support from my colleagues and friends so I believe my target of 100km in 20 hours is achievable.

What kind of training do you do?   

For a few months now, I’ve been doing distances of up to 50km, alternating between the gym and outdoors. I’ve run and walked in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Singapore, and I recently walked in Taipei over Easter where it was good to experience a variation in climate and conditions.

You’re planning to walk 95km before starting the Bare Your Sole 5km walk: what’s your route for the first 95km?

The first 15km will take me from One Raffles Quay out around Marina Bay before heading past the F1 racing track next to the Singapore Flyer and out around the Stadium. Once I arrive at Tanjong Rhu Park, logistics dictate that we will be walking 5km loops around the park, taking in the Marina Barrage each time. 

Tell us about Habitat for Humanity Singapore.

I heard about Habitat for Humanity through the partnership that has been formed over the past few years with Barclays. As a father and grandfather, I’m a great believer in doing everything you can to give children the best start in life, which includes providing a home, shelter and a place to grow. 

On a local level, Barclays was initially involved with Habitat for Humanity Singapore’s Home Build programmes before being invited to take part in the first Bare Your Sole walk in 2009. Our initial thoughts were that this is a great community event, and we wanted to help Habitat improve its exposure. Our staff and management also wanted to expand our involvement with the broader non-financial community; this was a great way to do that. We’ve sponsored the past three events. 

Habitat-Barclays Bare Your Sole

2 June at Gardens by the Bay East, Tanjong Rhu.

Register for the 2.5km or 5km barefoot walk at www.bareyoursole.org.sg .

To sponsor Paul, visit www.give2habitat.org/member/PHopkins/100km.