STRIVE CHALLENGE: Tracking the Team into the Final Leg

Strivers read some encouragement en route. (via Instagram @bransonsam)In their final leg of the first-annual Virgin Group Strive Challenge, the 11 person core team has run, biked and hiked their way into the home stretch of a more than 600 mile journey. Along the way, the team’s faced victories (and a few rough patches – we’re looking at you, Tropical Storm Bertha), showing just how much they’re capable of and how far a team working toward a common mission can accomplish almost anything.

In support of the UK’s Big Change, the team will wrap the Strive Challenge on September 4, celebrating their success at the summit of Europe’s iconic Matterhorn (nearly 15,000 feet!). As they climb their way to victory, we wanted to take a look their journey and some of their standout achievements to date.

Sam Branson proudly showcasing steps earned from the marathon on his Max device. (via Twitter @sambranson)Running: Kicking off on August 7 from London’s O2 Dome, the core team ran more than three marathons in three days, joined by crowds of supporters (including our own Fran DeYoung, who ran the final race leg) along the trek to Dover’s picturesque coast line, some 78.6 miles away.

Rowing: On August 11, the core team came together to row their way across the English Channel to Boulogne-Sur-Mer in Northern France. Unfortunately, the team was forced back to harbor by Tropical Storm Bertha.

Biking: Pushing past their disappointment, the team got right back on track to spend the next eight days cycling the nearly 1,050 miles between Boulogne-Sur-Mer to Verbier, Switzerland.

Strivers cheering at the end of their cycling leg. (via Instagram @richardbranson)There were some stumbles along the way as a few riders came off their bikes mid-course, but the team worked together to ensure no Striver was left behind. In the final miles, none other than Sir Richard Branson swung by to say hello and encourage the team to push through to the end.

Hiking: Today, the core team’s climbing their way through final leg of the Strive Challenge – a seven-day trek through the grueling Summer Haute Route, a journey that typically takes nine days.

As the core team wraps the challenge of a lifetime, their achievements remind us how business can be a force for good and that when working together toward a common mission, people can do amazing things.

Good luck in the final week, Strivers! We’ll be (mentally) cheering you on at the finish.

You can join in on Strive, too! Track the core team’s daily progress and social updates and share them socially or consider donating to help drive the Strive mission. Don’t forget to check back here, and follow @VirginPulse for updates! 


DSC_0202Sir Richard Branson recently completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and donated to the cause, nominating all Virgin Group companies and employees to follow suit.

Despite last week’s chilly temperatures here in the Boston area, Virgin Pulse stepped up to the plate. More than 60 Virgin Pulse employees joined our CEO, Chris Boyce, in accepting Sir Richard’s nomination to support the ALS Association (ALSA) by donating and filming our own Ice Bucket Challenge.

See how it went down in our video below!


Now, we’re nominating all Virgin Pulse members, clients and partners. Film your own video, post it to social sites using #IceBucketChallenge with a @VirginPulse mention, and don’t forget to donate! For every Twitter post featuring a unique Ice Bucket Challenge video, along with the hashtag and Virgin Pulse mention, we’ll donate $1 – up to $500.

Wondering how the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a difference and why Virgin Pulse took the plunge? 

  1. The Virgin Group uses business as a force for good to benefit people and the planet, and at Virgin Pulse we’re committed to changing lives for good. Accepting Richard’s nomination is right in line with the mission driving our organization and we’re happy to help raise awareness and funds for ALSA.
  2. #IceBucketChallenge went viral weeks ago, and is gaining major attention. In fact, ALSA has reported it’s received more than $79.7 million in support of the cause – compared to $2.5 million from the same time period (7/29 – 8/25) last year.
  3. Donations have come from both existing donors and 1.7 million new ones – meaning the campaign is succeeding in its goal of raising not just money, but awareness too.

Did you already accept a nomination and film your own #IceBucketChallenge? Share your videos!

STRIVE CHALLENGE: Maintaining Momentum with Healthy Habits

lady-running (1)Virgin Group’s Strive Challenge – a month-long journey to the top of the Matterhorn in support of Big Change – is well underway. This week, the core team completed their final leg of the challenge’s cycling portion, racking up a whopping 620 miles on both foot and bicycle. Now, they’re prepping to hike alongside Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, across the Haute Route Trek between Verbier, France, and Zermatt, Switzerland.

The Strive Challenge is the ultimate endurance test. Prepping for this kind of feat is important, from the physical training that ensures athletes’ are in peak shape, to logging enough sleep to help speed up recovery, to eating healthily and hydrating so participants have the fuel to conquer their goals.

Spending weeks getting ready, the core team and other participants certainly haven’t slacked in their efforts. But keeping healthy habits in check isn’t just important for Strive’s core team or professional athletes. It’s a key component to living an energetic, focused and productive life, and it impacts everyone – including the companies we work for.

Why? Because healthy employees are the secret sauce to a successful business. But in today’s time-squeezed world, making physical activity, nutrition and sleep a priority isn’t always easy – especially as we’re all working to balance our lives on the job and off. We’re often tossing healthy habits to the side, and our energy levels, brainpower, focus, and motivation is paying the price. Instead of coming to work each day packing a productivity punch with super-charged brains, employees are often disengaged, checking off the bare minimum just to get by.

The organizational impacts of an unhealthy, disengaged workforce can be crippling. Business operations take a hit – including productivity, absenteeism, turnover, safety and quality incidents, shrinkage and profitability, Gallup reports. Companies with low engagement rates witness productivity losses of up to $550 billion annually, according to the same source.

Wondering how to turn it around? Encourage your employees’ to keep their healthy habits, like exercise, eating right, and getting quality sleep, top of mind. Experts agree that regular aerobic exercise improves employees’ attention, reasoning, and memory, making managing workloads and home life a whole lot easier. And – if you’ve ever had one too many helpings at a holiday dinner – you probably know first-hand how poor nutrition from eating too much sugar, carbs or fat can cause cognitive impairment (hello, food coma). Finally, while sleeplessness leads to lower energy, poorer cognitive function and less productivity – among other issues – these effects can all be reversed by making sleep a priority.

Employee well-being has big business benefits, including higher rates of engagement, productivity and focus. But the impacts go beyond the corporate walls, helping employees feel their best so that they can get on top of their lives. Support your employees across all aspects of their lives and you’ll have on your hands a workforce that walks through the door ready to perform at its peak.

Whether you’re competing in the challenge of a lifetime like the Strive core team, or you’re simply hoping to feel your best, prioritizing healthy habits is the surest way to meet your mark.


You can join in on Strive, too! Track the core team’s daily progress and updates and share them socially or consider donating to help drive the Strive mission. Don’t forget to check back here, and follow @VirginPulse for updates! 

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Virgin Pulse clients and members discuss how we change lives for good!

Virgin Pulse clients and members discuss how we change lives for good!