Team CultureIQ takes the heat and runs with it

When I joined CultureIQ in May, one of the things I knew I would miss the most from my old job was the weekly running club that I had helped to set up. Fortunately, in my first week on the job, I found a few keen runners, so I quickly started training with them a few lunchtimes per week.

Now, I know that motivation to exercise can be a struggle, and the pressure was definitely on for me from the first day of training. For one thing, it’s always weird seeing your colleagues in active gear for the first time, as though they only ever function in their work clothes. For another, two of those colleagues were serious athletes—I found myself running alongside a marathoner and a CrossFit enthusiast.

CultureIQ London corporate run
On your mark, get set, vogue: From left, marathoner Roberto Tironi, CrossFit enthusiast Gabriella Fekete, Yasmin Hill and Alex Gray loosen up at CultureIQ’s London offices before the big run.

But we decided that we’d work as a team to train and run together for our first big event on July 24—the Chase the Sun Hyde Park,  a 5k-to-10k evening run around London’s largest Royal Park.

Not only was I pleased to have found running buddies but also to be given the autonomy, in my first month at CultureIQ, to manage the whole process of selecting a run and collaborating with marketing to design branded T-shirts for us. It felt great to be trusted from the get-go, and I was excited to see how the event would pan out.

Here comes the blazing sun

Race day eventually rolled around last week, and it was a sweltering 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). We narrowly missed the record-breaking reading of 38.7 degrees (101.7) recorded a day later in Cambridge.

After weeks of training in more clement and typical English weather (read rain and cloud here), we were approaching the event with some trepidation–the more enthusiastic among us had registered to the 10km rather than 5km route, but were soon beginning to regret our initial bravado. We toned down our expectations as a team, all agreeing the 5k was the safer distance.

As the clocked ticked down to the starting gun, in the pleasantly air conditioned CultureIQ offices, our brave athletes geared up before making our way to the starting line. One aerobic warm up later, the run had suddenly begun.

CultureIQ London corporate run finish
Hot and honored: CultureIQ runners show off their 5k completion medals.

Powering through the still, summer air and the hordes of sunseekers who had descended on the park to soak up the last of the evening light, the CultureIQ team took off.

It is amazing how much the world slows down and how much heavier your legs feel in the heat, so needless to say it was a challenge.

Sweat and cheers

As I panted and wheezed my way past picnicking tourists and frolicking children, I began to question why I had instigated this team-building exercise and whether my colleagues would ever forgive me for putting them through this. As I reached my final 500 meters and started to feel like I was really faltering, my thoughts were interrupted by one of my colleagues running up from behind me and calling out “We are finishing this together!” And we did. Although I thought I might throw up on her when she gave me a victory hug, I was grateful for that final push and for my other colleagues cheering us on from the other side of the finish line.

We did it, our first corporate run, on one of the hottest days in English history, and teamwork helped us all push through to the finish. Here’s to many more, and to never complaining about cold weather again!

–Yasmin Hill is an Account Manager at CultureIQ. Her running partners in this story are CultureIQ’s London Sales Director (Roberto Tironi), Senior Program Manager (Gabriella Fekete) and Sales Director (Alex Gray).