27 Sep 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2015 issue 7

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Leisure Management - Gordon Lott

People

Gordon Lott


750,000 people cycle to work regularly. We want to match and then beat that number, encouraging more people to run to or from work Gordon Lott, Founder, Run2Work

Lott’s campaign has major employers like HSBC and Virgin Group on board

What’s the idea behind Run2Work?
It’s pretty simple really. There’s so much government and media airtime for getting more people cycling to work: tax incentives, infrastructure and cycle highways, road safety, Boris bikes… But there’s no support or encouragement for people to run to work.

In fact, if you use any of the kit you’ve bought through the Cycle to Work scheme to run to work instead – trainers, shorts, waterproof and reflective clothing, etc – you and your company will be liable to repay the tax to HMRC. How shocking is that? But it just shows how ill thought-through successive government thinking has been towards sustainable transport and getting more people active and healthy as part of their daily lives.

When did you come up with the idea of Run2Work, and what are you hoping to achieve?
My background is marketing and communications in sport, and it was clear there was a great desire among various stakeholders to get more people running on a daily basis, but we didn’t have a focus. So we came up with the concept of #run2workday.

Already 750,000 people cycle to work regularly, with more than 600,000 doing so via a Cycle to Work Scheme. We want to match and then beat that number, encouraging more people to make running to or from work – whether part or all of the way – a regular feature of their weekly commute, whether once a month, once a week, or more often.

How are you going about this?
Our start point was a media campaign with the Evening Standard, and securing commercial partners like New Balance, Sweatshop, Virgin Active and Buxton.

It was then a case of cold calling big employers and asking them to encourage their employees to join in #run2workday. We had a fantastic response: Barclays, Morrisons, GE, Capita, Virgin Group, HSBC and the Evening Standard’s readership meant we had a reach of one million for the first #run2workday on 5 June 2014.

We’ve since held a #run2workday on the first Thursday of every month and have a growing and vocal audience championing the cause all over the UK.

What’s next for Run2Work?
If we want to achieve our goal of inspiring a million more people to run regularly by 2020, we need to continue to campaign for the Treasury and HMRC to give running to work equal tax exemption to cycling to work.
Another of our priorities is for the Office for National Statistics to include running to work in the population census. It currently asks if you walk or cycle to work, but doesn’t ask if you run to work. Senseless!

We’re also campaigning employers to install more showers and lockers in offices – people can contact Run2Work if their offices don’t have enough facilities and we’ll lobby employers on their behalf, keeping them anonymous.

How can health clubs and leisure centres get involved?
When we first launched the campaign, our big idea was to invite health clubs to offer ‘shower memberships’ where people simply pay for the use of the club’s showers, but not the gym facilities – although it could of course generate leads for the club.

Health clubs can also encourage their members to run to and from work. This would be complementary to their gym workouts, offering another way to get fitter and healthier.


Originally published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 7

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