James K's Story: Running a Marathon to Manage the Stresses of Daily Life

At itmsoil, our employees have a history of doing great things to raise money for charity, and last September we chose the Mental Health Foundation as our charity of the year.

The partnership was well thought out, as itmsoil places great importance on the mental health and wellbeing of its employees and is always looking for ways to help people deal better with stress and pressures at work.

After completing the Gran Paradiso climb last year, we decided to organise a challenge which would stretch us beyond our limits. Running the Paris Marathon was a huge goal to set and it was overwhelming to see the tremendous response it had, not only from those wanting to take part but from our CEO and colleagues wanting to support us in achieving our goal.

Being given the financial support and time off to complete what was essentially a personal challenge was very humbling, and management were very quick to see the benefits the marathon would have on team building and our wellbeing.

The 14 marathon runners, despite being split across two offices in London and Uckfield, really shared a collaborative team spirit and we discussed training tips by e-mail to keep motivated and on track. We arranged taking part in the Brighton 10k and the Eastbourne Half Marathon as well as a social gathering in London as a means of getting people together.

Having that chance to meet colleagues who you don't usually work with and connect over a different topic helped generate much better relationships through the separate offices.

On a personal level my work life is, by choice, very busy and the first thing I found quite difficult was setting aside time for training. This did condense my working hours, which was a really good thing, as I found running helped empty my mind and was an outlet to deal with the stresses daily life can bring. It has definitely been a coping mechanism for certain people and we've connected over that fact. Now I'm saying to myself I'd love to go for a run to help on all levels.

Completing the marathon gave us all a huge sense of achievement and, even though we completed it only five weeks ago, we're already looking for the next marathon to complete. Here's to the next challenge.