Inspiring sustainability with cycle ride sponsorship
When Olympus Automation (OAL) became the lead sponsor for “Coast to Coast in a Day 2014” we didn't anticipate the enthusiastic response from our employees and customers alike. Originally wanting to reflect our commitment to sustainable solutions, this event has added an additional health focus exemplified by the story of Gareth Collins, senior support engineer. When Gareth joined OAL in 2011, he was a relatively ‘big lad’, weighing in at 20 st. Following a commissioning trip to a Steam Infusion system in Holland in September last year, Gareth returned enthused by the health and efficiency benefits the system could achieve, and decided to make a change himself. He commented,
“It really does inspire me, seeing what we can do in terms of efficiency and health benefits with Steam Infusion. I have been working in the food industry for over 20 years and haven’t seen such a step change in technology.”
Harry Norman, CEO of OAL, has a passion for cycling and felt the Coast to Coast event was a fantastic opportunity to show the sustainable elements of OAL. Norman explains,
“We like to get involved with events that clearly demonstrate how we do things differently as a company. The passion and dedication required to complete the Coast to Coast event alongside the fact it’s on bikes, aligned itself well with the company as we’ve made a number of strong commitments to sustainability.”
“Our Steam Infusion cooking technology has the potential to reduce salt from ready meals and many other products, and so it seemed fitting to raise money for the BHF, given the links of high salt content with heart disease.”
The one day event, starting in Seascale, consists of riders enduring 150 miles of cycling through the mountainous Lake District, the Vale of York and the Northern Valleys of the North York Moors, finally finishing in Whitby. OAL is entering a 10 person team comprising of our employees and customers from the food industry, raising money and awareness for the British Heart Foundation.
Once the sponsorship was announced it was clear to Gareth that this was the motivation he needed. Using the OAL ‘Cycle to Work Scheme’, Gareth bought himself a bike and began the hard task of losing some weight.
In October Gareth joined a weight loss program. Within a month he had lost over a stone and by Christmas a total of 3 St! Having successfully resisted temptation over the festive season, the weight was shedding fast and speed on the bike also increasing. Gareth comments,
“The first few months went really well, having a clear end goal like the Coast to Coast really helped me to stick to the diet, and I even managed to lose 3 pounds over the Christmas period”
However, disaster struck in March when Gareth suffered severe knee pain from past rugby injuries that threatened to end his race. Following an appointment with his doctor it was recommended that he withdraw from participating in the event, but for Gareth this was not an option,
“I knew I had to fight through it, I told myself I had to get on with it.”
Gareth chose to rest from cycling in order to recover. Once his injuries started to improve he decided to get back on his bike and begin training again.
Gareth has now lost more than 4.5 St. and taken part in various charity bike riding events including The Arrow. His determination is motivating his colleagues to complete Coast to Coast, which takes place on the 28th June 2014.
In the end it’s a team effort, and Gareth will be undertaking the arduous challenge with colleagues and customers from the food industry. If you would like to support Gareth and our OAL Team in raising money for the British Heart Foundation, please visit our just giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/OlympusPDX
Follow us on Twitter, @Olympuspdx for live race updates on the day.