Bank employees have fun, get healthy in ‘marathon’

MIDDLEBURY — Employees of National Bank of Middlebury gave it their all in the 5th Annual Marble Works Marathon on May 23.
This somewhat tongue-in-cheek event is actually part of a wellness program that encourages employees to walk. The name comes from the fact that the main office of the bank has a walking route that goes through the Marble Works, across the pedestrian bridge, up Heart Break Hill (also known as Frog Hollow) and back along Main Street to the bank in the Duclos Building.
On May 23, 82 bank employees spread from throughout branches in Brandon, Bristol, Vergennes, Hinesburg and three locations in Middlebury participated in a brisk walk along this course. Each location has a “map” to prevent employees from getting lost on their 5-10 minute walk.
The main office actually had four maps depending on the division: walker, extended walker, speed walker and runner. It also had a first aid station at the corner of Frog Hollow and Main Street for those participants who needed a bottle of water or a little cheering to get back to the bank. The Marble Works Marathon began in 2014 with 57 participants and has grown and spawned some serious walkers and runners with quite a few employees participating in 5Ks, a few half-marathoners and one full marathon runner.
The concept from the beginning was to not preach about good health but to present something that was not too challenging, fun, and would foster camaraderie. This year’s 82 employees constitute 93 percent participation. There are some great stories among participants.
Participants included Chris Carpenter, Madeline Gardner, Brenda Jimmo and Karen Lawton.
“I started ‘running’ in 2016. I spent two weeks running on my long driveway because I was scared to run on the road. (For my first 5K) I remember my husband dropping me off at the starting line. I was overwhelmed with fear but also with great pride. I had worked so hard and I never thought I would be able to do this. I pulled myself together, wiped my wet eyes and ran. In 2017 I upped the ante and ran my first 10K.”
“I loved it (walking) so much that I started walking at lunchtime. A co-worker approached me and asked if I ever thought of doing a 5K. It is a very scary thing when you are lining up at the start line and comparing yourself to everyone around you, but I will tell you when I cross that finish line, it is such a huge sense of accomplishment. Accomplishment for having completed, (I have no intentions of ever winning, just finishing and trying to better my times if at all possible), and even accomplishment for just participating. I am stronger than I was before, mentally, physically and emotionally. Wellness is a huge part of it. I am now starting to pay attention to how I fuel my body with what I am eating.”
“In spring 2017, I went to my physician and advised her I rarely felt ‘well,’ was almost always tired and lethargic, and had an assortment of daily aches and pains. My blood pressure was high and cholesterol numbers could be improved. My mental outlook was bleak. After asking me a few questions about my diet and exercise routine, her ‘gentle’ recommendations were for me to lose a few pounds, substitute some healthy food choices for the high-sugar/high-fat foods that made up the bulk of my diet and adopt an exercise routine.
“‘Exercise?’ The only ‘planned’ exercise I had in my regular schedule at that time was the annual NBM marathon and that was because I wanted to participate as a member of our NBM family.
“I am no longer lethargic. Walking is now a daily event and has moved from 20 minutes to an hour or more. When I find I need to skip a walking day, I become quite disgruntled. Whoever would have guessed how important those walking times would become? Certainly not me! My one-year anniversary is … May 1. I have lost a total of 65 pounds and look forward to what the second year will bring. I am upbeat with lots of energy. I am looking forward to the 2018 NBM Marathon. I take delight in knowing that this year I’ll be able to run up that Frog Hollow hill (and by Carol’s Hungry Mind, too) with ease. The possibilities are endless!”

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