Money saving expert Martin Lewis is perhaps better known for finance rather than fitness. But as a keen runner and a self-confessed athletics nut, he was one of the first to sign his office up for the Diamond Relays corporate run at the Olympic Park last year. We asked him how it went, what it meant to his staff and whether he plans to take part again in July.
What was your team's experience like last year?
It was great! Everybody had a good time, and the feedback the next day was incredible. We’re generally quite a fit office and have been for some time, so we put forward two teams: one that was fast, and one that wasn’t quite as fast but just loved to run. Splitting the teams meant that the fastest runners didn’t pressure the others, which is why having two teams worked really well. Both teams loved it, and everybody got their pictures taken at the Olympic Stadium. It’s a good team building exercise, it doesn’t require skill, it just requires determination and training. Everybody came back into the office the next day with a big spring in their step. Just having the chance to run at the Olympic Stadium alone is hugely motivational.
What's it like running at the Olympic Stadium?
When you get on to that track and realise that you’re sharing that place in spirit with the likes of Usain Bolt, David Rudisha and Mo Farah, it’s an incredible feeling that pushes you along. The atmosphere when a crowd is cheering you on is like nothing else.
What are the benefits for staff morale?
Well, before we even get into the effects on staff morale, simply running in itself contributes so much to good mental health. Personally I have a very stressful life, as I’m sure many of your readers will do too, and running helps me. It helps keep you in balance. It helps you sleep better, it helps keep your adrenaline levels balanced. When you’re really feeling it, when the shoulders are tight and the anxiety is up because life is stressful, a run really does relieve that. That impacts on every part of your life, both at home and at work, and I think you can clearly see the effect running has on the people in our office.
What's your personal fitness regime like?
I’m massively into my fitness tracker at the moment, so I’m all about getting my ten thousand steps a day. I’m really into graphing everything I do too, so I’ve kept a record of how far I’ve run each year. 700km was my personal best, and last year I set out to beat that and ran 1,055km. My aim this year is to beat that. I keep motivated by competing against myself.
Will you be running in the Diamond Relay this year?
I’m really hopeful I’m going to make it. I’m a massive athletics fan: before I learned all of my credit card and savings rates, I knew all of my Olympic and World Records. So running at the Olympic Stadium held a special meaning for me. When you’re an athletics nut who watches all the meets, there’s something very special about the chance to run at that venue. I really hope to take part this year.
Diamond Relays: Need to know
Date: Tuesday 19 July 2016
Venue: The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The Diamond Relays, presented by British Athletics, return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Tuesday 19 July 2016. Teams of five runners each will run a 5km lap of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, starting and finishing on the track inside the Olympic Stadium.
The Diamond Relays are primarily for runners of all standards in their company or workplace teams, however club and individual runners are also welcome to enter.
Last year 230 corporate running teams took part as 2,000 of their colleagues cheered them on from the stands.
The format is a 5 x 5km relay for male, female or mixed teams. The entry fee is £400 plus VAT per team of five runners and five spectators.
Additional spectator passes are available at £5 + VAT., and there is no limit as to the number of teams your company can enter. For more information and to enter your team(s), visit www.diamondrelays.com