Team of runners from Standard Chartered Bank finishes the Atacama Crossing race to raise funds for Seeing is Believing
Sean Abbott, from Standard Chartered Bank in New York, secures 3rd overall placing
March 16th, New York
The team of four executives from Standard Chartered Bank, known as TeamVision SCB, completed the Atacama Crossing in Chile last weekend in great form and great spirits. They are comprised of Sean Abbott, Chris Mattern and Mara Symes, all based in New York, and Bert de Guzman, based in Shanghai.
Out of a total of 121 competitors who completed the race, Sean Abbott came in 3rd in overall position. Sean’s first 4 Deserts endurance race was in the Sahara Race in 2008 where he competed with Bert and Mara and performed strongly by coming in the 9th position. In 2009, Sean competed in yet another 4 Deserts series, the Gobi March, where he improved his standing and finished 3rd. This year, Sean has done well once again, finishing the race 3rd overall placing with a time of 30:18:52, just slightly half an hour behind the 2nd placer.
TeamVision SCB took part in the Atacama Crossing in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Bank’s global sight restoration initiative, Seeing is Believing, and for the Seeing is Believing project in Peru & Brazil. The team has raised to date over $28,000 for Seeing is Believing, and they are looking forward to reaching the $50,000 mark soon.
Notes to Editors:
About TeamVision SCB
Bert deGuzman is a Global Account Manager in New York and is currently in transition to a new role with the Bank in Shanghai. Bert is an experienced and avid marathoner. He pioneered the Americas SiB fund raising efforts via ultra-marathons through his participation in a race through the Amazon jungle in 2007. In 2008, he put together TeamVision SCB to participate in the Sahara Race (part of the 4-Deserts series) and collectively, the team raised over $20,000 for Seeing is Believing. Come March 2010, Bert will lead TeamVison SCB again to run in the next 4-Deserts challenge, the Atacama Crossing in Chile. With a 4 year old daughter, a 7 month old son, a pending transfer to Shanghai, and a remarkably understanding wife whose patience is being tested, his training has been…’interesting’. However, with great focus and discipline in his training, Bert is confident that he will rise to the challenge of the Atacama.
Sean Abbott has been with the Bank on the Transaction Banking team in the Americas since early 2007. He was a part of the TeamVision SCB that ran the Sahara Race (part of the 4-Deserts series) in October 2008. Sean was placed 9th overall. Before the Sahara Race, Sean had not competed in an event longer than a 10k so achieving a 9th placing in an ultra-marathon of 250k is quite an achievement. Eight months later, in June 2009, Sean participated in the Gobi March (also part of the 4-Deserts series) and he improved his previous achievement by finishing 3rd overall. This officially cemented his passion for this rather strange hobby. Training very hard for his next 4-Deserts series in March 2010, the Atacama Crossing, Sean is looking forward to both competing and helping to raise awareness of Seeing is Believing.
Chris Mattern joined Standard Chartered as an intern in 2005 and subsequently joined the Bank’s International Graduate Program in 2007. He assumed his current role as a Liquidity Dealer with ALM in 2009. While an avid rugby player, Chris had never run an organized race longer than 5k. As such, he considers his participation in the Atacama Crossing as rather ‘ambitious’. However, Chris is very excited for the challenge which no doubt will be far outside his comfort zone. He is looking forward to the once in a lifetime experience as well as the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for Seeing is Believing.
Mara Symes has been with Standard Chartered’s Financial Institutions division since 2006 - first as the Business Planning Manager and currently as Assistant Relationship Manager on the Banks team. Mara has been a runner for more than 13 years, participating in marathons, half-marathons and short distance races. She was a member of the inaugural TeamVision SCB with Bert and Sean where they completed in the 250k Sahara Race (part of the 4 Deserts series) in 2008 and raised over $20,000 for Seeing is Believing. As a former Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, Mara recognizes the importance of good health, having witnessed the physical and economic difficulties that poor health can bring. Mara’s experience in Togo also made her aware of River Blindness, a preventable/treatable condition that impacts certain regions of that country. The Atacama Crossing will allow Mara to combine her love of running with her interest in health issues and to help raise funds for Seeing is Believing.
About Seeing is Believing
Did you know that across the world, one person goes blind every five seconds? Every minute, another child loses their sight. 60% of children die within a year of going blind. There are 45 million blind people in the world and a total of 314 million people suffer from a serious form of visual impairment. However, 80% of this blindness is treatable or preventable.
A mere $60 can provide…
- 60 children with enough Vitamin A to protect their eyesight for a year.
- 6 basic eye care tests and glasses for adults to able to work or children to attend school.
- 2 adults with cataract operations to restore their sight.
This is where Seeing is Believing aims to make a positive impact.
Seeing is Believing was launched in 2003 to celebrate Standard Chartered’s150th anniversary, and since then we have raised over US$20 million and have helped restored sight to more than 2.5 million people in the developing world. In 2008, we launched Phase IV – “Seeing is Believing: A New Vision” with the goal to raise an additional US$10 million – which Standard Chartered will match – to provide US$20 million for comprehensive eye care services to 20 million people in 20 cities across the developing world.
We will be launching our first Seeing is Believing project in Latin America - a US$1.2 million project funded directly by Seeing is Believing in partnership with CBM, one of our strategic partners in the field of eye care. This project will focus on prevention and treatment of retinopathy of prematurity, a leading cause of child blindness in Latin America, with the initial phase of this project launching in Peru and Brazil.
About Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered PLC, listed on both London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, ranks among the top 20 companies in the FTSE-100 by market capitalisation. The London-headquartered Group has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets, leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We have produced seven years of record income and profit, primarily as a result of organic growth.
Standard Chartered aspires to be the best international bank for its customers across its markets. The Group earns around 90 per cent of its income and profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, from its Wholesale and Consumer Banking businesses. The Group has over 1700 branches and outlets located in 70 countries. The extraordinary growth of its markets and businesses creates exciting and challenging international career opportunities.
Leading by example to be the right partner for its stakeholders, the Group is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. It employs around 75,000 people, nearly half of whom are women. The Group's employees are of 125 nationalities, of which about 70 are represented in the senior management.
For more information on Standard Chartered, please visit www.standardchartered.com
About Atacama Crossing
The Atacama Crossing is part of the 4 Deserts series which is ranked by Time Magazine as one of the top ten most difficult endurance races in the world. It is a unique 250km footrace spanning seven days across the Atacama Desert in Chile. Over 140 competitors from around the world participated in this global event. Each competitor has to cover a full marathon distance of 26 miles each day for the first four days, and nearly 50 miles on the remaining two days, while carrying their own food and gear.
For more information on the race, please visit www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/"
For further information please contact:
Mi Hui Kim
Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, Americas
Standard Chartered Bank
No. 1 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Tel: +1 212 667 0239