Press Releases: Georgia
September 10, 2009
350 Atlanta Companies to Field Teams for the Annual Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk in Downtown Atlanta Tonight
5K celebrates completion of the 27th Annual Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program
ATLANTA — Thousands of Atlanta employees are anxiously awaiting the sound of the gun announcing the start of the 27th Annual Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk tonight at Turner Field. Regarded as one of the largest workplace organized corporate fitness events in the Southeast, the run/walk has become a local tradition in the Atlanta business community, with several companies celebrating 15+ years of participation this season. The run/walk is the culmination of the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program that kicked off July 20 with a free, eight-week “Get Active Atlanta” Training Program that provided participants access to group run/walk sessions and free gym memberships at a number of participating health clubs throughout metro Atlanta.
Although the program will come to an end tonight, its impact on participants will extend far beyond the race finish line. “Crossing the finish line at the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk tonight will be a life-altering experience for many novice runners,” noted Jeff Galloway, U.S. Olympian and director of the Corporate Run/Walk. “More than marking the completion of a training program, the finish line will symbolize the start of a new life based upon a commitment to healthy lifestyle choices.”
For MARTA, which is celebrating its 12th consecutive year of participation in the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program, this commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle is a critical component of providing safe, reliable transportation for residents of and visitors to Atlanta. Considering MARTA has had the most number of total participants since 1995 and is planning to field a team of nearly 400 runners and walkers this year, it is safe to say that the company has developed a powerful culture of health and wellness in the workplace.
Preeti Bone and Dorothy Cedars, team captains for MARTA, attribute their fellow employees’ sustained interest in the program to a multitude of factors, paramount of which is the measurable weight loss and transformations to healthy lifestyles many program participants have experienced.
&ldquoWhat keeps us coming back year after year is the testimonials of first time participants who are at the beginning of the journey to a healthier lifestyle, as well as the camaraderie and teamwork that has blossomed between all levels of employees,” remarked Bone and Cedars. “These factors have led to our company increasing participation by 100 employees for the last three years.”
The growth of the team is also due in part to the extraordinary level of support and engagement from MARTA’s previous and current general managers. Michael Wells, current chairman of the MARTA Board of Directors and a long-time runner, is looking forward to lacing up his running shoes tonight for several reasons.
“I’ve been running for almost my entire life,” remarked Wells. “The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk is not only fun and inspires a life-long commitment to fitness, but it also has significant societal benefits through its donation of a portion of the race proceeds to local children’s charities. I’m looking forward to a good run tonight.”
Setting the pace from the top is a critical component of any corporate wellness program, regardless of the company’s size. James Bowes, CEO of Peach State Integrated Technologies, believes so strongly in the positive benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle that he has implemented his own CEO Challenge to encourage his 45 employees to participate in the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program. As part of the Challenge, Bowes pays for all of his employees’ entry fees and boxed meals from Jason’s Deli for the Corporate Run/Walk and offers a $20 gift certificate for anyone whose 5K time is faster than his/her age. At 50 years of age, Mr. Bowes offers an extra $50 gift certificate as an incentive for those older than him to beat his time.
"“The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk is a fun event that keeps us energized and excited about exercising on a daily basis,” stated Bowes. “The race is a great goal to have on the calendar and helps to keep our discipline and dedication where it needs to be. But it is not just our employees who benefit from this increased level of health and fitness — it sets an excellent example for our spouses, kids, grandchildren, and friends. And it is also good for business because as your health improves, so does your work performance.”
With 50 CEOs from small, mid-sized, and large Atlanta companies planning to participate in the Corporate Run/Walk alongside their employees tonight, the current economic situation shows no signs of slowing down the event’s momentum. Fifty new companies signed on board for this year’s Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program and many past participating companies are actually doing more to ensure a good turnout for tonight’s run/walk.
LeasePlan will be one of the 50 new companies lining up at the start line tonight. Like many companies in this challenging economic environment, LeasePlan and its employees are not immune to the rising costs of health care and the increasing concern for employee health. To address these issues, LeasePlan decided to shift its view of health care from a short-term view that solely manages acute care, to a long-term view that involves preventing and managing chronic diseases. In line with this vision, LeasePlan launched an employee-driven health and wellness initiative earlier this year and registered to participate in the 2009 Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program.
“Although the launch of the health and wellness initiative has required a significant investment of time and resources, we feel the endeavor has been worthwhile as it is bringing us closer to our goal of having healthy, engaged and productive employees,” stated Joye McElroy, LeasePlan team captain. “The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program is a perfect avenue for helping us reach this goal and we can’t wait to cross the finish line tonight.”
More information about the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program can be found at www.kpcorporaterunwalk.com.
About Jeff Galloway
A member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic track team, Jeff is an experienced race director having conducted and consulted on over 500 fitness events of all sizes across the country, including the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk, National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer, Chicago Marathon, Crescent City Classic, Midland Run, Grand Bahama 5000, Vancouver International Marathon and the Portland Marathon. Through his international training program, he has gotten over 250,000 people off the couch and across the race finish line with a 99 percent injury-free rate. Jeff is also the author of numerous books on running and nutrition, as well as a monthly column in Runner’s World magazine. Visit www.RunInjuryFree.com for more information.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is Georgia’s largest not-for-profit health plan. Its mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves. Kaiser Permanente serves more than 260,000 members in a 28-county service area in metro-Atlanta with care focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists, and team of heath care providers. Expert and caring medical teams are supported by industry-leading technology and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Nationally, Kaiser Permanente is recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers, serving more than 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.kp.org.