Gary Rafferty and Roy Gawne, who work for Kimberly-Clark, recently completed charity cycle challenge the Tour De Furness with a team of colleagues from Kimberly-Clark in Barrow.
Choose Cumbria spoke to Engineering Project Manager Gary and Senior Electrical Engineer Roy about the benefits of getting active with colleagues and how Kimberly-Clark supports its employees to stay fit and healthy.
Congratulations on completing the Tour De Furness. Why did you decide to enter a team into the event?
Gary [number 264 above]: Last year, a team from Kimberly-Clark cycled from Barrow Mill to Northfleet Mill in Kent, so the Tour De Furness came on the back of that. A team of 11 from Barrow, of mixed ages and abilities, cycled over 50 miles for the Tour De Furness to fundraise for St Mary’s Hospice. I think we’ve raised about £1,000 so far.
Roy [number 137 above]: The Tour De Furness was a great personal challenge for individuals, while being supported by people around you. There’s a real sense of camaraderie as you don’t want to let anyone down. The group did really well.
How does Kimberly-Clark encourage employees to get active?
Roy: Kimberly-Clark had a corporate global challenge, where employees were given a pedometer and encouraged to take 10,000 steps a day. That encouraged a lot of people to take up cycling, running and walking after it.
In Barrow, Kimberly-Clark agreed to buy some spinning bikes, so we’ve set up a gym on site. Lots of people use it in the evenings and the winter months. We used it to train for the Tour De Furness as well.
Gary: Partnering with a colleague or a team gives you more motivation as you don’t want to let the other person down. It’s too easy to think you won’t bother and it doesn’t take long for you to fall out of the habit. It’s about keeping it up and continuously preparing for the next challenge.
Roy: There’s always activities going on here. If people go out cycling or walking, others are encouraged to join in and everyone is welcome. We’re keen to get as many people involved as we possibly can.
Where’s your favourite training route in Cumbria?
Gary: My favourite route is the Coast Road from Barrow to Ulverston. I like to spend an hour cycling home as it gives me a chance to wind down from the working day and take in the views.
When we were training for Northfleet, I cycled the same 30 mile route 50 times. Even when I was training four days a week before work, I never got sick of it.
Roy: When you go for rides with other people, you go to places you’ve never seen before in The Lakes. It broadens your horizons as you want to go back and take your family there to do the same thing.
Sometimes people in the local area don’t take advantage of our surroundings but people who relocate to the area like to make the most of it.
Gary: We live close to the biggest playground you can ever imagine, so you just need to take advantage of it. We have a lot of visitors to Kimberly-Clark from other locations, so it’s an opportunity to take them out and showcase what Cumbria has to offer. It gives you a sense of pride and it gives them an appreciation of what the area has to offer.
People often say that they want to bring their family back and have a holiday in the area and it may even help them to consider a move here.
What will be your next challenge?
Gary: I think we’ll do the Tour De Furness again and there’s the Bay Cycle Challenge in April 2017 so we’re aiming for that.
Roy: I’ve been doing more running so my aim is to do a half marathon.
The Tour De Furness gave me the opportunity to get back on my bike and in the group. I’ve been bitten by the bug again now, so I’ll continue with cycling and running.
Click here to find out more about Kimberly-Clark in Cumbria.
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