As the name indicates, the Amazing Race was indeed a competition. We counted steps and we celebrated a winning team. But more importantly, the event was about building team spirit, getting people together in pandemic times – and in the end, it was about making a contribution. And, of course, exercise was also on the table. Here are the top walkers’ thoughts on the initiative.
If you haven’t read the previous articles on the Amazing Race (find #1 here and #2 here), let’s start with a summary of what it was all about: System Verification’s employees were split up into teams and tasked to complete a step count corresponding to the distance between Athens and Stockholm. First team to reach that step count won. And along the way, the participants were encouraged to communicate with their fellow team members – and to get active.
One person that certainly did activate herself is Monica Boman-Hammarlund. Over two months, she walked over 1.6 million steps – an average of over 27,000 steps per day. That made her the overall top walker of the Amazing Race.
“I tried to make the most of every opportunity to get a few extra steps. If I was waiting for someone, I walked around in circles, I made my daily errands on foot … and I even kept moving as I was brushing my teeth in the mornings,” Monica says with a smile.
She’s been a frequent visitor at her local gym as well, but most of her impressive step count comes from running and walking – indoors as well as outdoors.
“My husband has a friend who has a dog. He thought that maybe the dog could benefit from what I was doing, and the dog-owner happily agreed. So I’ve been walking the dog a lot!”
Monica feels the competition has filled a purpose.
“My team’s been pushing each other through chats and email, and that’s been valuable – we’ve kind of bonded through that. The initiative definitely triggered my competitive spirit. Although I’ve been working out as usual, I’ve walked a lot more than I usually do. Several colleagues, myself included, hope that we’ll do something similar again.”
Second-placed Selma Toskic – she was just a mere 26,000 steps behind Monica – agrees that the competition was a great idea.
“This was definitely one of the best initiatives we have ever had in our company. Considering the new way of working, and our mostly sedentary lifestyle, we all needed some extra motivation for outdoor activities in order to improve our health and introduce healthy habits in our everyday life,” says Selma.
It hasn’t just been about walking for Selma.
“I did aerobics too, but mostly it was a combination of running and long walks, especially during the weekends. There was a moment in my life when I was not able to cross the street … and a moment in my life when I decided to change that.
That’s been my driving force for almost a decade and a half – I started with some short walks, then over the time I became a big fan of hiking and trail runs. And the competition definitely gave me an extra kick.”
Monica Boman Hammarlund on one of her walks, and the amount of steps each team has walked
If individual medals would have been awarded, Johan Pearson would be our bronze medalist. Johan was also a member of Team Forrest Gump, the overall winners – “hopefully we can get together and celebrate on our next conference trip”, he says. His final tally was over 1,2 million steps. And even if the competition’s ended now, Johan won’t stop walking.
“I have definitely changed my daily routines. A morning walk is a must for me nowadays! I might not walk quite as much as I did during the competition, when I averaged between 15,000 and 30,000 steps a day. But I aim to keep at it, and also to pick up running,” he says.
The winners get 2,000 Euro, to be donated to a charity of the their choice. And Team Forrest Gump has reached a decision in an orderly and democratic manner.
“We came up with a couple of alternatives and voted. The winner was UN’s refugee agency UNHCR,” says Johan.
Selma Toskic adds:
“The competition was organized for a humanitarian purpose. I believe that all participants were inspired and motivated by knowing that our actions may mean a significant difference for someone. For a moment, we could think about a world where water, food, peace and pleasant evenings are luxury items and people have been living in pain, sickness, fear and famine for decades. I hope that our initiative will bring someone at least a slightly better life.”