London 2012: Olympians Sally Gunnell and Chris Boardman in race across London

09:15 17 May 2012

Sally Gunnell is racing against Chris Boardman today. File picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Sally Gunnell is racing against Chris Boardman today. File picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Olympians Sally Gunnell and Chris Boardman will race against each other today to find the quickest route across London.

Sally Gunnell’s tips on getting staff to run or walk to work

1. Make the most of the commute – The journey to or from work can be a really easy way for your employees to get in a bit more walking, either by walking all or part of the way. Encourage staff to walk down to the next bus stop or get off a stop early. They will feel invigorated and inspired for the day ahead or, if walking home, they can unwind and leave the working day behind.

2. Plan your business travel – If employees have a meeting that is a walkable distance, encourage them to walk instead of getting public transport or a taxi.

3. Record your runners – Conduct regular ‘running and walking census’ to count the number of people running and walking on-site and record any changes and progress.

4. The pedometer test – Issue a pedometer to each employee – they can be a great way to get people thinking about how much walking they really do.

5. Start a running club – Group running is good fun and can really help to motivate people to keep up their exercise routine, so set up a running club for employees.

6. Host a walking meeting – Call a walking meeting and you’ll get a change of scenery, boost your energy, get some fresh air and burn a few calories too.

7. Motivate staff – A workforce that regularly walks and runs will be fit and healthy. Consider incentives to encourage and reward staff who run or walk. These include cheap breakfasts for runners; free fruit; or discounts on running accessories or clothing by arrangement with a local sport shop.

The pair will start at Liverpool Street station and make their way to Stour Space, a gallery and cafe opposite the Olympic Park on the River Lea.

The race aims to get people to think about alternative methods of travel to and from work during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It has been inspired by research from London 2012 and Transport for London (TfL), which says 86 per cent of central London businesses are planning one or more initiatives to encourage employees to use a different way to get to work during the Games.

Gunnell, a former 400m hurdles Olympic gold medallist, will run the race. She said: “Walking and running part or all of a journey around London and other hotspots is the ideal way to travel around during the Games.

“There are 47 Tube journeys that can be walked in under 10 minutes and this is even quicker if people run it, so commuters should consider letting their trainers, rather than the train, take the strain this summer.”

Former cycling world champion and Olympic gold medallist Boardman will cycle his route. He said: “Today shows how quick and easy it is to cycle around London and it’s now up to businesses to encourage their staff to get on their bikes during Games-time.

“Cycling offers a cheap and convenient way to get around London and is an alternative that businesses wanting their employees to get around hotspots quickly should definitely consider during the Games.”

TfL estimates that up to three million additional journeys will be made in London on the busiest days of the Games.

Hotspots on the travel network have been identified by TfL, which is encouraging people to use its Get Ahead of the Games website to plan journeys ahead of time.

Ben Plowden, director of surface planning at TfL, said: “We are asking all businesses in Games hotspots to encourage their employees to consider cycling or walking for all or part of their journey instead of getting the Tube.

“London will be a hugely exciting place to be this summer but the transport network will be much busier.

“Whether it’s travelling to work on foot or by bike, firms need to ensure their business can continue to run smoothly during the Games.”

Gunnell and Boardman have produced top tips to help businesses encourage their employees to cycle, walk or run to work during the Games.

The tips have been developed with businesses that have cycling and running schemes for their staff, including GSK, which has cycle showers, lockers and parking, plus a bike miles scheme, and Unilever, which has created an online community to encourage staff to form their own cycling clubs.

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