With the challenging times the world is currently facing, we feel it is important to share and celebrate good news stories that come out of these times.
Our Aspirico team has recently had the opportunity to join a fun and remote activity with the added amazing bonus of staying healthy and mentally active by walking, jogging, or running a Marathon in January. The challenge, “Can You complete a 42.2-kilometre Marathon, in 31 days?” Surprising, the isolating, solitary sport of marathon running can be bursting with team spirit!
“Team spirit is the feeling of pride and loyalty that exists among the members of a team and that makes them want their team to do well or to be the best.” Collins Dictionary.
How is it possible then to have team spirit without a team or club? Training is done alone, there isn’t the need for a team uniform nor opposition and, milestones are independent of everyone else. So, with some introspection (during a few long jogs of course) the realisation was that the team and club membership was not like a conventional rugby or swimming club; it’s larger, more diverse, and dynamic, global even and far more powerful. It’s the digital ‘Marathon Club’.
With the help of the Strava App that first marathon training session and jog, was not unlike the familiar excitement and camaraderie associated with club and team sport with the feelings of pride and loyalty. The App enables users to connect with friends through Facebook or phone, input their favourite mode of training and track their sessions while sharing results in real time with friends and fellow competitors.
The Marathon Club was formed into a group of colleagues who together celebrate health, community, team spirit and achievement over a period of a month, culminating at a 42.2-kilometre marathon event. We were the walkers, joggers, runners, spectators, volunteers, organisers, and all who make each kilometre possible. This club created motivation and a feeling of pride and belonging.
“It was nice to know that we did this as a team, or though we are all located around the world we did this together. We work hard, sometimes evening and night hours. Being able to share this experience and see photos of peoples activities was great,” said Thomas Due, Client Director – New Zealand / Australia at iplanit by Aspirico.
Thomas discovered that the club gave support and encouragement, boosted performances, and valued every single member and every role. Also, that It wasn’t isolating being connected digitally and wanting others to do well and perform at their best, saying,
“my momentum decreased in week 2 and week 3. That was hard to acknowledge. I probably would have stopped the challenge if it wasn’t for the team. I knew the team was also pushing their kilometres somewhere in WALES, IRELAND and AUSTRALIA and I didn’t want to let the team down. I continued and had some catching up to do in week four.”
Everyone who joined may have had different fitness levels and some even finished the City to Surf or competed at quite different levels. There were those of us that have raced more, greater distances, faster, and more often. There were also those that have raced less, for shorter distances, slower, and much less often. But, when we all registered for the same 42.2-kilometre Marathon, on that day, we became team- mates.
During the four weeks some plans were very well-executed, with a participant even preparing by setting the alarm clock to 5.30am and downloading some podcasts before heading out. Others like Lisa-Jane Humphrey, International Client Director at Aspirico exceeded expectations regularly taking on gruelling steep hikes and finishing way over the target at 58 kilometres.
Every team sport has it’s friendly competition of course as Declan Kelly, Aspirico CEO and Founder pointed out, “I did 110k walking (unfortunately only a bit of this was hiking), unlike LJ (Lisa-Jane Humphrey) who was doing a Chris Bonnington on it!!”
Overall, we all had individual goals that were in the same place at the finish line. No doubt we had the same feelings at the end, a collective mix of soreness, maybe exhaustion, happiness, and relief. We celebrated and comforted one another, like any other team. Whether from the winners or the back-of-the-line, the level of camaraderie among our club was strong and pushed us all beyond our limits.
It was wonderful to see colleagues excitedly chat about what’s to come it gave everyone a boost and helped get ready for what lay ahead. It was great to see members help inspire one another though the mental preparedness. The team spirit is alive and well at Aspirico, during the hill climbs and the easy tracks.
Marathon performances like this can be entirely dependent on club mates, friends on Strava App, social media and even neighbours providing that smile and encouraging wave. It is surprising though to find team spirit on the long road of a digitally tracked marathon. It is a different concept to training and playing with a team throughout the weeks against opposing teams.
Coronavirus has brought us closer together in some ways and it is great to have the opportunity to develop this new side of team building and individual sporting life and is highly recommended if you are looking for a new experience.
See you on Strava!