The Runners of OFS

On Fridays in the Office of Financial Services (OFS), conversations can often be overheard about the upcoming week-end’s plans. While not so unusual within any department, the conversations here are likely to center on the topic of running. In OFS, employees’ running experiences vary from a beginner to a lifelong runner. Their conversations tend not to be about comparing speed and distance, but rather about listening to each other’s goals and then offering support and encouragement. While there are quite a few runners in OFS, the six employees below all happened to participate in races in the same October weekend, totaling 97.82 miles.

Mary Guerra completed the Twin City 10K, the longest distance she has ever run. She has two children under five and had been struggling to lose weight since her pregnancies. Dieting alone wasn’t working so Mary decided to start running a year ago. She built up to running about three miles, two-three times per week and she began losing weight. Within a year, she was down to her pre-pregnancy weight. After a while, Mary felt she was becoming too comfortable in her routine so decided to push herself to run the 10K. Now that she has accomplished that, she is further inspired by coworkers to set a goal of running a half marathon next April. Mary said that working in OFS has encouraged her to expand her running goals.

Catherine Penkert signed up for the Twin City 10 mile run after receiving information about the run and the registration link from another OFS co-worker. Catherine has been a runner off and on for many years. Besides the motivation from her co-workers, she receives additional support from Moms on the Run, a running club she trains with twice weekly.

Bridget Morales ran her first marathon in Chicago that weekend. When Bridget first started running with a friend four years ago, she hated every minute of it. She certainly never thought she would run a marathon. She gradually began to enjoy it though, signing up for 5Ks and a Ragnar (a 200 mile relay race with a team of 12 people). Now, Bridget regularly signs up for races to keep her on a training program. She really enjoyed all of the runner support in OFS this summer, which helped to keep her motivated and inspired.

Cheryl Arcand completed the Loony Challenge. In this race, runners complete a 5k and 10K on Saturday and a 10 miler on Sunday. Cheryl had never been a runner until a few years ago when she began a training program called Couch Potato to 5K. She has been challenging herself since then with setting new goals. Cheryl also enjoys running Ragnars.

Marissa Peterson ran the Twin City 10 mile for her second time. Her first time was two years ago, and she loved it. She says it is a gorgeous run along the river and seeing the capitol as you turn the corner is amazing. All the spectators add to the fun, keeping her motivated. She finds signing up for races a great way to keep motivation.

John McCarthy completed the Twin City Marathon, qualifying for the Boston marathon! Qualifying for the Boston marathon is a big deal; only 12% of marathon runners finish with a qualifying time. John has been running seriously for the last 15 years, but marathon running is in his family. When he was in 8th grade, John remembers watching his dad run the Boston marathon. He is very excited for the chance to run this elite race.

All the runners agreed that while they appreciate the benefit to their physical health, they find the benefit they receive to their mental health equally important. For them, running is a mood booster and a stress reducer. While running may not be for everyone, OFS is a good example of a healthy lifestyle culture that supports and motivates each other in reaching individual goals.