Stepathlon Lifestyle initiates virtual race for corporates

| Marketing | February 4, 2013 | News

The first edition of Stepathlon 2012, a 100 day race around a 'virtual' world that promotes corporate health, fitness and productivity by increasing daily activity, took place from Sep. 20 to Dec. 28, 2012, while the winners were announced on Jan. 22, 2013. The mass participation event for companies of all sizes is a unique, pedometer-based event which motivates individuals to achieve the 10,000 steps a day benchmark, which deems an individual as ‘active' by global health authorities. The annual event is promoted by Stepathlon Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd., a health and wellness company founded by Ravi Krishnan and Shane Bilsborough.


Companies who took part were encouraged to enter as many teams as they wanted, with each team comprising five employees (Stepathletes) from single or multiple locations. Each Stepathlete wore a pedometer and entered their daily steps on the Stepathlon course website. These steps were converted into kilometers and their team's position was mapped on Stepathlon's online platform. The teams competed both internally and against teams from other companies, in a race around a 'virtual' world that comprised of more than 40 unique locations. In order to make sure that employees weren't faking stepcounts, the Stepathlon team closely tracked all Stepathlete's entries via their backend and questioned unusually high stepcounts, for which the Stepathletes were asked to explain themselves. The team also worked with company HR teams to help investigate unusual stepcount activity by the respective company's employees.


The Stepathlon course website had a number of engaging and interactive features on it. Each time a Stepathlete logged in, they would land on the ‘location page' at which their team had reached. At each location they would receive fun facts, travel tips, weather, and local news related to that specific location. There was a ‘leader board' tab where each Stepathlete could see where their team stood in relation to all teams and in relation to teams in their company.


They could also track other teams in the race, which fuelled a few rivalries. Each Stepathlete also had their own ‘statistics page' that allowed them to see the number of steps walked by them each day, calories burned, the ability to track their weight and waist circumference etc. Stepathletes had access to a ‘100 Days 100 Ways' page, which provided tips to increase their stepcount, access to content from leading personalities in the health and wellness space, the opportunity to ask personalized questions to co-founder Shane Bilsborough etc. There was event a ‘corporate chat' section which profiled executive leaders across participating companies, who shared their mantras to stay healthy, active and stress free.


Additionally, there was a ‘community page' providing community relevant information with regards to happenings, contests and competitions such as Most Filmy Stepathlete, Health recipe e-book contest, inspirational blog contest etc. It also gave Stepathletes the ability to share stories, pictures, videos, their routines and insights. This helped some Stepathletes make new friends via the site and setup walking groups/dates thereby taking the interaction offline.


During the event, a number of activities took place. ‘Step out with the Leaders' which took place across different cities in India, was an activity where Stepathletes from a particular city and nearby locations were invited to join industry leaders from that city for a morning walk at a popular location. A number of company specific walks and competitions also took place. In these activities, the Stepathlon team joined specific companies in short walks at their work premises as well as mini challenges or competitions led by the team co-coordinating Stepathlon at the respective company.


The team based structure of Stepathlon 2012 led some companies to form cross-functional teams encouraging people within divisions, as well as across divisions and locations, to communicate on topics other than work. Some teams took this opportunity to push one another to be more active and reported weekend treks/walks as a team or a division/company. A lot of companies reported their employees taking walking meetings, going for short pre-work/ post-lunch walks, and making behavioural adjustments within their workplace and at home to increase their stepcount. There were many reports of Stepathletes spending more "active" time with family and friends and less time in front of screens.


Stepathlon was promoted through a number of mediums including traditional face-to-face sales addressed to leadership and HR, PR, a tie up with NDTV ‘Marks for Sports', and through their website. The winners were notified directly and formal announcements were made via both social and traditional media. There were two categories of winners - ‘Most Active Company' by participation size and ‘Most Active Company' by Industry. Each winner will receive a trophy and a plaque, while the top three teams in each participating company received certificates recognizing their achievements. Stepathlon also provided participating companies the opportunity to offer their products/services as giveaways/prizes to winners of their contests and competitions. Fitness First, Grand Hyatt Melbourne, MakeMyTrip.com, Park Hotels, Starwood Hotels, Tata Sky and Thwack were a few companies who participated in this manner.


Commenting on the challenges associated with organising the whole event, Ravi Krishnan, Co-Founder and CEO, Stepathlon Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd. said: "As a start-up we faced challenges across all areas but the commitment, capability and conviction of the team, the clear recognition of the value of the offering to our Clients and our service oriented culture ensured that we delivered a successful experience and one on which we expect to build significantly. One challenge was to keep our diverse audience of over 21,000 Stepathletes from 143 companies across 132 Indian cities and 19 countries engaged. To that end, we ran a variety of mini contests, challenges and competitions on our course site community page and via Social media. As part of our philosophy of rewarding the many, not the few, we awarded milestone certificates to Stepathletes as they increased their activity both as individuals and as a part of their teams of five. These were received with enthusiasm and further motivated Stepathletes."

The mass participation event for companies is a unique, pedometer-based event to promote corporate fitness.

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