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From Kroatia to China, from Malaysia to Ireland or the Lebanon – the Allianz World Run brought together running aficionados from across the globe. 51 Allianz teams formed and participated in the event to encourage health, well-being and team spirit within the global employee community.
Run for good
Next to health and well-being, all participating runners helped to raise money for the global SOS Children’s Villages community. By setting various milestones like running from one to 30 times around the world – and by actually reaching all of them – the Allianz community managed to raise a total of 600,000 Euros supporting 12 projects in different countries.
Every employee was encouraged to participate, from beginner to marathon pro, from board member to intern, on foot or in a wheelchair. Two of the most engaged participants, extreme runner Lesiba Lethoga from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty South Africa and Andrea Bettello from AGCS Germany who only recently laced her running shoes up, share their experience.
When did you take up running as a favorit pastime?
Andrea: I had serious knee problems as a teenager. My doctor told me to go swimming to build up leg muscles. Five years ago, the pool I always went to closed because of construction works. I was a working mum of two small children and did not have the time to drive to another pool. So I started running instead.
The beginning was really difficult but I did not give up. I ran twice or three times a week. Slowly, I managed to increase the distance and speed. This was when I noticed that running was no longer a strenuous task, but in fact relaxing. Not only did I enjoy it but I really needed it.
Lesiba: I started serious running in 2011 with a marathon, which I eventually finished after cramping at 33 kilometers. Since then I have done countless marathons and ultramarathons. In fact I did one of the toughest ultramarathons in the world. It’s called Comrades Marathon and the distance is 90 kilometers.
Andrea, have you also run marathons?
Andrea: After having completed a lot of half-marathons and 10 km runs I ran my first 42.195 km at the Cologne “Rhein Energy Marathon” in 2014. The second one was the “TCS New York City Marathon” in November 2015.
New York turned out to be the experience of a lifetime. The atmosphere was great, adrenaline shooting through my body while running with the masses to Sinatra’s “New York, New York” – a truly unforgettable moment.
What made you participate in the Allianz World Run?
Lesiba: Allianz World Run came with perfect timing as I had been training for the ultramarathon for a while anyways. It certainly motivated me to train harder and help me to reach my personal goal of running a marathon in under three hours.
Andrea: I love running and do it nearly every day anyway. Counting my kilometers and supporting charity at the same time was a no-brainer. I was very curious who would register with me and which distances we would all be able to run.
What was your biggest motivation?
Andrea: I wanted to finish healthy and in good condition. My next marathon is coming up in October and it would be great if the World Run helped me to improve my time.
Lesiba: I am certainly getting even fitter, but the best thing was being able to motivate other colleagues at work by getting them into running and walking. I lead office runs twice a week and our ground rule was to start and finish together, no matter what level everyone was on.
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