Runners and Riders Club: Get on your bike (or get your running shoes on)

Riders and Runners

In late June, our very own Marcus Lamb, a Senior Software Developer, took it upon himself to launch the first-ever Datactics ‘Runners and Riders’ club, for cyclists, runners, and walkers of all abilities, on popular activity monitoring app Strava.

Jamie Gordon sat down with him to find out all about it…

The club is only new but with an influx of new members, I thought I would take took some time to talk with Marcus and find out just what it’s about, what motivated him to start it, what his plans are for it, potential charitable partnerships and what impact it’s having. I also managed to get an inside scoop from the members themselves talking all things motivation, encouragement, initial fear combatting, and how to set your targets…  

Why? Where? What is it?   

After being with us for just over 8 months, Marcus has already made a huge impact on our company culture. Having used Strava for a long time, he was no stranger to the application and felt that a group would not only encourage and motivate each other but would encourage activity and healthy competition.

Marcus sought to create a group that was inclusive for all levels of fitness – he wanted to try to bring together different people within the company and as part of the encouragement process, he has even introduced a leadership board (healthy competition always!) based on time spent on an activity rather than distance or speed achieved.  

How has the team been getting involved so far?  

Matt Flenley, Marketing Manager and Dave Brown, Head of Security and DevOps happen to live a few miles apart, and so have been cycling home on the Lagan Towpath with each other. Matt has stated that his involvement with the club has pushed him physically to reach new goals and the encouragement of cycling with Dave not only motivates him but provides a source of accountability to strive to complete more miles. When we asked Dave what he enjoyed most about the club, he said:

I have been a Strava user for years now. I used it to track my times along with seeing how many segments I can beat on my followers. The chance to compete with fellow team members has just pushed me further.

Shauna Corr, Data Consultant said:

I have not been running since I was in school. I found it quite boring to be running by myself with no competition, but with the running club, it is motivating to see how everyone else is doing. And it provides a bit of accountability when they can see how much I have done too!  My Datactics club challenge was to run a kilometre in under 1 minute, which I recently finished! I also have a personal challenge to run a 5K this month.

This is a perfect example of what the club is about and it’s exciting and motivational for others to see such a change in attitude to running.  We also asked Daire McCotter, a Client Services Team member, how she was getting on and she shared:

Over lockdown, I picked up running and was excited when I heard we had a new company Strava Club. The Strava Club motivates me to get out of the house when I see everyone else’s activities as well as strive to reach my July goal that I set which is to run 10k. I am yet to achieve this but hopefully, within the next four days this can be done!

Yet again another great example of the power of being to set goals and how often that is being motivated by having the camaraderie around you. When we asked Donna Loughery, what how she was settling into the club this is what she had to say:

Anyone who is in the club will see that my sessions are mostly dandering around parks with my son. I don’t cover half the miles the other cyclists do but take five times as long. At first, I was a bit intimidated when I saw how good everyone else was, so I didn’t want to join but then I saw Matt’s efforts with a lawnmower, and I thought why not! Everyone is so nice and encouraging so it’s a nice thing to be part of. My goal for July is to cycle 3 or 4 times a week. I thought I’d start with something manageable and it’s going okay.

This comparison with Matt just goes to show how versatile the club is and how it’s for everyone. Being able to see where everyone else is on the leadership board is not only an encourager but helps you be able to base goals to suit you and to have conversations with the others to find out what is working well for them. You may even find a buddy to cycle home with!

Patrick Donnelly, DevOps and Security Engineer, when asked what his goal for July was, he stated:

My goal for July is to complete a 10km run. The benefit of the club for me is that I hate running but am extremely competitive, so seeing other people logging their various cardio exercises makes me want to try and beat them.

This camaraderie is exactly what Marcus set out to achieve – we wish everyone all the best and we hope you reach your target for July!

What is the heart behind it?   

Marcus feels that the club is massively beneficial for mental health, as being active is a key way to not only keep yourself physically fit but mentally fit.  Being an avid cyclist himself, Marcus was keen to create a group too that would hold people accountable, push people to challenge their boundaries, and encourage people to get involved. Furthering this, the social aspect will not only bring people together but will build on the great company culture. He explained that there can be fear getting involved with a group such as this. This could be for many reasons including people being self-conscious about their physical capabilities. However, people have been encouraged to set their own goals, with Strava providing challenges too. This independent goal setting just reaffirms what the group stands for which is – inclusive, community-focused, exercise.

What are the plans for the club moving forward?   

Marcus has plans to introduce charity cycles that the company will support. These will be notable causes close to the hearts of the members. Hopefully, through this, we can raise money for the causes, and all contribute towards a greater purpose.

The club currently has 16 members which out of 50 is a pretty good rate. The hope moving forward is that this group will grow with more and more people’s names joining the leadership board.  One of the main points that Marcus wants to reiterate is that this club is for everyone in the company regardless of physical levels or individual goals. Everyone is welcome!  

What is the response moving forward has the response been?   

Matt, Marketing Manager at Datactics said:

The club promoted me to get my bike fixed and to participate. If it wasn’t for the club, I never would’ve had the confidence to get back on my bike and enjoy the physical and mental release it provides.

It’s a nice social interaction after months of no interaction’ said Kieran Buchanan, Business Development Executive. These guys have reiterated that not only from a confidence perspective but socially and physically being part of the club will be a good decision. Set your targets, join in the fun, and get going!  

Overall, the response has been brilliant – with COVID 19 restrictions still upon us, it is fantastic to have a club like this in the company to promote encouragement, motivation, and bring the team together.