A team of 17 runners taking part in this year’s AJ Bell Great Bristol Run Business Challenge on Sunday 14 May, the Procentia Plodders are getting ready for what has become a much-anticipated annual challenge.
Based in Emersons Green, Procentia is a pensions administration software firm that has entered at least one team into the Great Bristol Run every year since 2016.
This year, the team will be raising funds for Children’s Hospice South West and Bristol Children’s Hospital as part of a two-year commitment the company has made to these local charities.
“The AJ Bell Great Bristol Run is our local event and it’s become a great way to get colleagues together. It creates a real buzz around the office as the day approaches,” explains Lucy Richens, Implementation Consultant.
“With colleagues having different hybrid working arrangements, it’s a chance for us to work together towards something outside of pensions software.”
Lucy has been into running for around 35 years and credits it with creating “a lot” of friendships.
“Having travelled all over to run, I’ve been to some amazing places but many of them are right here on our doorstep.”
An annual challenge
Taking part in the 10k at the annual AJ Bell Great Bristol Run has become so ingrained in the company culture that it’s often among the first things mentioned to new starters.
“The day I joined Procentia I was assailed by an enthusiastic invitation to run the Great Bristol Run 10k from Lucy,” says Paul Richmond, Client Success Director, who joined the company in May 2022.
“There was no interrogation on my running ability, just a keenness to make me feel included and part of the team!”
Paul’s motivation when training for the race is to do his best for the team.
“When we run together, I always go further and faster than I would have done on my own,” he says. “There’s an amazing atmosphere at the Great Bristol Run. Everyone cheering you on is so uplifting.”
Also joining the team is Implementation Consultant Matt Harrill.
“Joining the Procentia Plodders has been a different way to get to know my colleagues outside the strict boundaries of work as well as a great form of exercise and team building,” he explains.
“And on the day, there’s nothing better than getting cheered on by your colleagues, or cheering those who finish behind you. The photo we get at the end, with all of us in the same shirt and having accomplished the same feat, is just beyond words in terms of satisfaction. Procentia allowed me to change my career, but the Plodders changed my life.”
Matt’s running achievements also include the AJ Bell Great North Run and running the F1 track in Abu Dhabi. For the AJ Bell Great Bristol Run, his personal goal is a 10k PB, but he says he’d be proud to “finish strongly” and “see my friends run their best race too”.
Like Matt, Brittney Bies, Group Head of Support at Procentia, will have taken part in the London Marathon just a couple of weeks before the AJ Bell Great Bristol Run.
Brittney enjoys training with her colleagues, even though she says they’re “quite a bit faster” than her. Once the London Marathon is done, she’s looking forward to “just going for a fun run with them and really challenging my pace”.
“But I’m most looking forward to the team effort and camaraderie on the day,” she adds. “I cannot wait!”
There are even a couple of former Procentia colleagues joining this year’s team, including Emma Rodger, who was previously Client Services Director at the firm.
“It’s lovely to be invited to be part of the team again despite no longer working for the company,” she says. “It will be great to catch up with ex-colleagues and hopefully try for a PB.”
The AJ Bell Great Bristol Run Business Challenge is still open for entries. Any group of four or more colleagues ready for a new challenge can sign up as a team and get ready to join the start line. There’s no maximum number of team members and the finishing times of the fastest four members are used to calculate the overall team time.
As well as encouraging a healthy outlook for staff, training for a 10k or Half Marathon is an opportunity for team-building and to take home a first-place Business Challenge plaque to display with pride.
To enter visit our Business Challenge page.