Companies prepare for new BolderBOULDER Business Challenge program to promote employee wellness

Markit On Demand has participated since 1997

BOULDER, Colo. - The 2013 BolderBOULDER 10K race will include runners participating in the newly-added Bolder Business Challenge, a collaboration between the race and companies that encourages a healthy lifestyle for employees.

The Bolder Business Challenge offers participants online training programs, prizes and recognition, and training runs with local professional runners.

Markit On Demand, a Boulder-based technology company that is part of global financial information company Markit, is taking part in the Bolder Business Challenge.

“If I had to a pick a word to describe it, it would be collaborative,” Andrew Harrington, a manager in software engineering at Markit and team coordinator for the company’s BolderBOULDER group.

At Markit, employees run together on their lunch break, making a company of 450 people more close-knit and personal, according to Harrington.

“It's another way to meet people that you may not encounter in a normal business day,” Harrington says.

Markit employees have participated in the BolderBOULDER every year since 1997, Harrington says.

“Everyone gets excited,” Harrington says. “Our company will pay for employee plus one, typically means a spouse or kid or running buddy.”

Harrington says there are showers all over the building so that people can go exercise on their lunch breaks.

“It means the priority is getting people out and active,” Harrington says. “It means getting out and doing things outside of work. It's a way to get to know your colleagues in a capacity that's different than the work environment.”

“I run over lunch a few days of the week. Sometimes take my bike in and run home. It’s an efficient way to get a workout in,” says Brandon Weil, an employee at Markit who is training with the company's Business Challenge group.

Markit tries to encourage its employees to work together through the layout of desks and the organization of the office, according to Harrington. The company also has a softball team, and the employees often participate in kickball, dodgeball, yoga and basketball with their colleagues. Biking to work is encouraged, and employees often go for long bike rides together.

“The way you interact with your colleagues when you get back to work after having worked out with them and having fun with them tends to be more productive,” Harrington says. “The healthier people are, the more productive they are going to be, and the happier they are, the more loyal they're gonna be.”

There’s also a financial incentive to exercise.

“If you bike to work you get a buck,” says Harrington. “It encourages people to bike, which is healthy, and it saves on parking spaces, which we are in short supply of.”

Training in groups outside the office can lead to better relationships inside the office, according to Harrington.

“You see all these people running and working out at lunch,” says Karina Simons, a computer programmer at Markit who is participating in the Business Challenge. “It's kind of contagious and you just want to give it a try.”

“It just feels good to come to work like that,” says Weil. “It's kind of motivating and fun to see what others are doing.”

The Business Challenge includes runners of all skill levels, from seasoned runners to beginners.

“I think it's going to be hard at the beginning, but at the end I am going to have a great feeling of accomplishment,” says Simons.

-- Race and registration information: http://www.bolderboulder.com/

-- Training guide: http://ch7ne.ws/BBTrain

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