[pic]: Sittingbourne plant Shift Manager Mike Howland snaps himself and his Knauf team mates out training for the Tour de Knauf during a practice run in August.
On Friday the 9th of September, 27 riders from Knauf UK will set off on an epic 400 mile trek from Sittingbourne to Immingham, all in the name of charity and health.
Taking inspiration from Team GB’s amazing medal haul in the cycling in Rio, Knauf employees are gearing up to take on the challenge. The four day ride is the reverse of Knauf’s accomplishment in 2012 when 20 Knauf riders made the trip from Immingham to Sittingbourne in an effort to raise money for charity.
As part of the Knauf Wellbeing initiative established to improve the health and wellbeing of its employees, the Tour de Knauf is the latest activity organised for staff members. Adding to this, participants are raising funds to support Demelza Hospice Care for Children.
The challenge has engaged the interest of riders and non-riders from all sectors of the Knauf businesses including employees from both Immingham and Sittingbourne as well as participants from the marketing and sales teams.
The Tour de Knauf is all about getting healthy and raising money for a good cause. Demelza is a children’s hospice for charity in the south east of the UK, providing vital care to families across East Sussex, Kent and South East London.
Responsible for organising the event is Sittingbourne Factory Manager John Maude, who also organised the 2012. John is looking forward to the event and explains that a lot of training has gone into getting riders into condition for the ride.
“I think this is going to be another big challenge, riding 70 to 80 miles a day is a challenge for a lot of people and that is why training will definitely come into it,” John explains.
“At Knauf we have undergone a lot of physical activities as part of the Knauf Wellbeing initiative but other events, like go-karting and football, people don’t necessarily have to train for which means success is short-lived. This cycle race is making people train hard for months prior to actually achieving their goal which makes it even more special.”
On September 9th the 27 riders will set off from the factory in Sittingbourne and make their way north to Immingham. Two courses have been established in an effort to involve more riders with a 400 mile slog working in conjunction with a separate 300 mile journey. While attempting different routes, all riders will meet at points along the journey stopping at Colchester, Norwich and Boston for the nights.
Training is well underway for most riders with a group training session taking place on Sunday the 21st of August from Sittingbourne. Improving physical condition and fitness levels a driver behind the Knauf Wellbeing initiative which was established in 2014. Starting out small with fresh fruit and dietary information, the Knauf Wellbeing programme has expanded to included events like the Tour de Knauf.
“This is a great example of an activity that anybody can get involved. The only pre-requisite is that riders must be able to ride at least 10 miles an hour meaning that they will make it the required distance across eight hours,” John explains.
“The idea has been to get people that are not riders and have never done something like this before and get them involved. People have been getting out on their bikes for the last three to four months to train and for most it has become their personal goal, it will be their biggest achievement this year.”
Fundraising is well underway with efforts so far raising almost £700 on the way to the target of £1000. Knauf is seeking further support to reach its goal and a Just Giving page has been established to make this easier. If you would like to give please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/knaufbikeride