The unconventional UBB Vertical Run marked the final of the KBC Group’s successful initiative, which raised half a million euro for charity purposes

Having successfully beaten a Guinness record in March, Team Blue of the companies, part of the Belgian bank-assurance group KBC, set an even higher aim in September - the employees of the Group’s all 6 core countries, together with friends, families, clients and partners, would reach the Moon. Through a specially developed TEAM BLUE CONNECTS platform for the purpose, employees, clients and partners of the Group could participate in sport events and, fuguratively, donate the kilometers, walked by them.

In exchange, KBC Group has taken a commitment to monetize every walked kilometer and to donate the funds to local causes. On the 4th of October, the goal was accomplished. The thousands of enthusiasts, who had joined the TEAM BLUE CONNECTS challenge, registered 397 481 kilometers, with which they not only walked the path to the Moon, but also provoked the setting of a new goal - a symbolic journey back home - in other words, the additional 384 400 kilometers to the end result. Thus the new goal for them was to walk 768 000 km through their own sporting activities.

Bulgaria, represented by UBB, DZI, UBB Interlease and UBB’s subsidiaries, contributed with over 20 own and partnership events, in which thousands of enthusiasts took part. And yesterday, on the 25th of October, the closing event took place - UBB Vertical Run.The emblematic building with a height of 95 meters, UBB Millennium Center, home of the KBC Group companies in Bulgaria, became the host of the untraditional UBB Vertical Run. 24 floors up, 24 floors down, 1012 steps and 190 meters level difference showed the statistics, accompanying the contest. All visitors had the opportunity to test their courage - as the 24 floors of the Head Office awaited them, they were fueled with strength and pure motivation because the stairs remained the only way to move through the building. Over 300 participants, which also included professional competitors, registered their kilometers.

Among them, the strongest impression was made by the youngest and oldest participants, Elanda Jones (9 years old) and Boyka Arsova (68 years old), who, as a lucky charm, turned out to be grandmother and granddaughter. One mixed team - a father with his 9 months old son got the applause of all visitors. The youngest participant, Preslav Krastev, was racing in the hands of his father, Aleksandar, as an individual contestant and both of them registered separately the kilometers, run by them. The employees of KBC Group Bulgaria employees themselves performed valiantly and their timing did not fall behind from the results of the professionals. Elena Ruseva from UBB was one of the successful women and Nikolay Dermendzhiev, also from UBB, defended the men's honour with timing of respectively 7:18 and 5:29 minutes. In the professional category the prize was grabbed by Lilyana Gotzeva (5:07) and Ivan Sirakov (4:09). All participants can view their timing on the following link: http://trailseries.bg/обб-vertical-run-results/.

 The event was closed with an official ceremony, at which Johan Thijs, Chief Executive Officer of KBC Group, announced the results from the TEAM BLUE CONNECTS challenge through a live feed that was broadcast in the Headquarters of KBC Group in every core country. The emotions from UBB Vertical Run reached their peak a little after the end of the contest, when it became clear that the challenge had been successfully overcome with over 770 867 walked kilometers, within only two months.

The financial support that the employees, aided by friends and partners, have won through their collective efforts, amounts to EUR 500 000. It is to be distributed among the six participant countries in the next few days, in accordance with their individual contribution. In Bulgaria, the raised funds will be donated for the following causes: History with a Futurehigher education for more Bulgarian children, UBB StartUp, Bulgarian Christmas, BCause Foundation and the Children with Oncohematological Diseases Association.