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Headline sponsor Mercer recognise how important it is to improve the health of Surrey’s employees. Christina and Clare – both Mercer employees – explain how they are encouraged to promote and maintain healthy lifestyles in their workplace.

“We all have different ways to keep us motivated in our various sporting adventures. Some use friends, others podcasts and many of us set personal challenges to keep ensuring we progress” said Christina, Continuous Improvement Leader at Mercer. “We can all inspire others in our small way and people do take inspiration from seeing others outdoors, pushing themselves to get fitter and improving their health and wellbeing.”

For those that follow @UKMercer and @LifeAtMercer on Twitter, it’s likely that you’ve seen glorious sunrise shots populating on your feed with the hashtag: #merceractive. The idea behind the hashtag is to create a global community within Mercer that inspires and encourages others to be more active.  For Christina – who prefers cycling to running – it’s inspired her to enter the 5km race at the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon.

Clare was inspired to enter the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon in 2017 – when Mercer announced their title partnership with the event. Clare described the race as “one of the best experiences of [her] life” and has already signed up again to race in 2018. Clare is the Office Manager in the Woking branch, and has worked for Mercer for 16 years. She answered some questions about life at Mercer, and her experience of running the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon.

Q: How does Mercer, as your employer, encourage you and your colleagues to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
A: Run clubs, social events, wellness seminars and a general feeling of inclusivity make working here a pleasure.  We are quite a healthy bunch, but have some very enthusiastic and talented bakers!”

Q: What motivated you to enter the Mercer Surrey Half?

A: I’ve wanted to take up running for ages but had always felt self-conscious.  Hitting my mid-forties was a life changer and it was around the same time that the office started our Tuesday night run club. Through attending this and running on my own, my confidence increased and when I heard that we were sponsoring the Surrey Half I thought it would be the perfect challenge.  I’m not the fastest runner and I knew I couldn’t run the whole race, so my goal was to finish rather than complete it in a specific time (although secretly I was aiming for under 3 hours!!).


Q: In the lead up to the event, did you feel nervous?

A: Having a goal really helped keep me focussed on my training over the winter.  I purposely told people that I wouldn’t be ‘racing’, and felt that it took a lot of pressure of me which helped with the nerves.  I work with a lot of very fit people but they were all so encouraging.

 

Q: How did you find the race?

A: This was my first half marathon and I didn’t know what to expect.  I was really excited the morning of the race and couldn’t wait to get started.  I’d been reading quite a lot on pacing and didn’t want to head off too quickly and was trying to remember all the words of advice that I’d been given!

Due to the weather conditions, I found the race quite challenging.  I was totally overwhelmed by the support and encouragement from the supporters all the way round the course and was so touched that they were braving the rain to support us – that really kept me going.

Running down the final stretch towards the finish line and being cheered on by my friends and family was one of the best experiences of my life.

Q: What motivated you to sign up to run again next year?

A: The bling obviously!!  Seriously, I had a great time, the race was very well organised and despite the weather I enjoyed the whole experience.   Having a race in the diary keeps me focussed on my training.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attend our run club as much as I wanted to and have been training on my own at weekends.  I’ll still be using a walk/run strategy in March which worked well for me last time and I’m hoping the weather will be kinder so I can achieve a sub 3 hour finish!

“We are delighted to be title sponsors of the Surrey Half Marathon” said Jamie Willis, Client Leader in Mercer’s Woking office. “At Mercer, we help companies improve the health, wealth and career of their employees, and through our sponsorship of the Surrey Half we aim to emphasise the benefits of health and wellness in the workplace. It’s also an excellent way to support our local community.