Running around for charity

The HSH Nordbank Run and HafenCity Hamburg are a good fit. As the charity run has grown, so has this modern city district between downtown Hamburg and the River Elbe. The motivation behind this corporate run sponsored by the “bank for entrepreneurs” has changed since the event was first launched. What remains unchanged is the commitment to a good cause, together with their ongoing interest in exploring Hamburg’s HafenCity district while running with friends, colleagues and family.

One of the event's first partners was daily newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt, which does more than merely report on the run, here eg. 2006.

The HSH Nordbank Run through Hamburg’s HafenCity was organized before the new harbor district actually existed. Back in 2002, the first 930 runners came together on a tract of land around Grasbrook island and Kehrwieder point. With the slogan “Fire and Flame for Hamburg”, the run was intended to express support for the city’s application to host the 2012 Olympic Games. The area itself was still a desolate mixture of sand and wasteland. The cornerstone of the urban regeneration project had been laid just one year earlier. Planning work on the iconic Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall had only just started.
As is known Hamburg did not host the Games, the Elbphilharmonie venue is now open, and over the years the run has developed into an major event that, measured by the number of participants, easily compares to other big Hamburg events like the Cyclassics or the Marathon. One of the event’s first partners was daily newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt, which does more than merely report on the run. Funds raised from participants’ donations are channeled by Hamburger Abendblatt to various good causes under the umbrella of charity association “Kinder helfen Kindern” (Children help Children).

Now a summer fixture

HSH Nordbank Run 2017
The HSH Nordbank Run is now the largest charity run in northern Germany. This year, 831 teams took part, making a total of 24,218 runners.

For many Hamburg residents, the run has become a regular summer fixture – something you diarize with colleagues, friends and family members. This is clear from the enormous number of participants. “This year, 831 teams took part, making a total of 24,218 runners,” say the organizers. “Donations have stabilized at around 150,000 euros a year.” If you add this to funds raised in previous years, the sum total comes to around 1.6 million euros – an impressive amount that validates the organizers’ original idea. “The fact that so many people get involved shows that the basic concept – exploring HafenCity while running with friends – really works. There’s this great phrase: ‘Hamburg. Together.’ And the run is a great example of the well-developed sense of community in our city.”

The HSH Nordbank Run is now the largest charity run in northern Germany. Not only that, it is also the largest running event in Hamburg. This is reflected by start times on the day of the run. The first team sets off at 9.00 a.m.; the last team sets off 10 hours later, at 7.00 p.m. And in between, registered teams leave the start line every second or so.

Hamburg residents running for Hamburg kids

On the first HafenCity run in 2002 the cornerstone of the urban regeneration project had been laid just one year earlier. Planning work on the iconic Elbphilharmonic Concert Hall had only just started.

Alongside the run itself, the HafenCity venue has also grown. Officially established in 2008, over the last few years the former harbor area of Grosser Grasbrook, together with the islands of Kehrwieder and Wandrahm, has been transformed into a lively residential and business district. HSH Nordbank has deep roots in the region. “As sponsor and namesake of the HSH Nordbank Run, we’re especially delighted by the more than 24,000 runners who put on their running shoes every year so they can transform HafenCity into a running venue for a day,” says Stefan Ermisch, CEO of HSH Nordbank, who insists on firing the starting shot in person. The route runs past real-estate projects and HafenCity offices owned by a number of the bank’s customers.

The extent of HSH Nordbank’s social commitment is reflected by the number of employees who take part in the run. The bank fields one of the largest teams in the event, with more than 500 members. And the run has become a fixed tradition for many other Hamburg-based institutions. More than 800 teams take part in the run, demonstrating their commitment to good causes. They come from schools and kindergartens, local government offices, companies in the port and logistics sector, and longstanding city firms such as Beiersdorf and J.J. Darboven.

„As namesake of the HSH Nordbank Run, we’re especially delighted by the more than 24,000 runners who put on their running shoes every year so they can transform HafenCity into a running venue for a day.“

Stefan Ermisch, CEO of HSH Nordbank

Donations go where they are needed

Ten euros of each team’s starting fee and six euros of each individual runner’s starting fee go to the “Kids into Clubs” initiative. The initiative enables socially disadvantaged children and young people to join sports clubs, and also funds their sports equipment. “Hamburg residents love sports, and have big hearts!” smiles Stefan Ermisch. The proceeds from the event help support the sporting activities of around 9,000 children and young people every year. No administrative deductions are made – 100% of all donations end up where they are needed. This enabled also by Hamburger Abendblatt employees working as volunteers.

HSH Nordbank Run in figures

Logo HSH Nordbank Run

  • Launched in HafenCity Hamburg back in 2002
  • Has raised a total of 1.6 million euros since launch
  • New things to discover every year: the 4 km route is always changing
  • Every year, employees from more than 800 companies take part
  • Donations help 9,000 children and young people get involved in club sports