Friends set to run 50 miles through NYC to raise awareness for Asian American community

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Two friends are embarking on a 50-mile journey through New York City - and it is all to raise awareness for the Asian American community after a rash of hate crimes.

They are also raising money on a GoFundMe page to honor a late journalist who dedicated his life to improving the lives of others.

Kai Ng and Leland Yu share many bonds - they were both raised in Chinatown. Now they have a love of running.

"I've been running since I've been going to school here," said Ng.

And Yu started running just last year during the pandemic.

"This was my main for of exercise/hobby interest and skill," Yu said.

Their kinship began six months ago - both men are finding a deeper purpose to hitting the pavement. Especially Ng, who was born in Hong Kong.

"When I was growing up, I was very confused as an immigrant. I wanted to be as American as possible," he said.

It was meeting Yu where Ng found his cultural pride. And Ng, a running coach himself, also learned Yu used his running to help others in their community devastated by the pandemic early last year in Chinatown. Businesses were closing, and people were struggling.

"I was trying to help my community through my running, so the idea of a charity run came to mind," said Yu.

That one run raised $25,000 last May, and now Yu and Ng are teaming up and planning a 50-mile run in New York City on Saturday morning to raise awareness for the Asian American organizations and a well-known journalist, Corky Lee.

Lee, who was known to combat racial injustice with his camera, died in January from COVID. Just prior to his death, he was working on a project to address the negative stereotypes of Asians in media cinema.

Now, these friends are picking up that torch to raise money to make a mural for Lee - to inspire generations to come.

ALSO READ | Exclusive video: Man intervenes as woman slashed on subway platform in heart of NYC
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Video first seen on channel 7 shows the attack and the good Samaritan who risked his own safety to help save the woman's life.

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