Join us for the Catalyst Stairs Challenge
(and beat Damion’s PB)
Catalyst’s new location in an eight-story tower has created a gruelling daily workplace challenge where competitive team members race to the top floor in a bid to get fit, ward off long-term health problems and score petty victories.
And we’re looking now for a client to beat a new record of 3.01 set last week by the reigning champion Damion Jones.
It all started when I decided to loosen my aching back by trekking up and down the stairs in Seacourt Tower. The more sedentary members of the Catalyst team remained glued to their computers, only moving to make tea, inhale biscuits or take the lift down to lunch.
Then one day a shock health warning changed everything. Scrolling through the news, Georgie Riley was electrified by a terrifying headline: ‘Sitting is the new smoking’. Her biscuit-filled hand frozen half way to her mouth, she gave us the lowdown:
“Spending too much time sitting down may contribute to tens of thousands of deaths a year in the UK,” she squeaked, spluttering crumbs far and wide. “Some experts are comparing sitting to smoking!”
The team exchanged nervous glances as Georgie quickly emailed the worrying story to the rest of the team. The anxious silence was broken by a question from Rachel Levis: “Heather, where are the stairs again?”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Rachel grabbed her phone and immediately started a time trial. The keen runner returned swiftly, barely out of breath, having run to the eighth floor and back again. Her time was a cool 3 minutes 30.
Quietly, Damion disappeared and returned minutes later, slightly pink but triumphant. His time? A record breaking 3.01.
Delighted to have athletes tackling my tedious stair-climbing jaunts I rushed to beat their records and secured a personal best of 3.31.
Next Stan Laidler joined in. At first, he chose a more dignified ascent aimed at improving his fitness, rather than injuring himself in childish workplace challenges. But the next week, he threw caution to the wind and attacked the stairs two at a time, nailing an impressive 3.22. Rattled by Stan’s lightning performance, Rachel secured a breathtaking 3.15.
Every day, the furious competition rages on.
More recently, Katie Simpson has taken a more sociable approach to the challenge, joining me for a chat as we scale the tower together. But with talk of a new fitness regime involving 500 stomach crunches a day, I predict she will soon ditch the chat and fling herself into the competition with a vengeance.
As for me, I’ve hurt my back slightly in the challenge and am forced to return to a more mature light jog.
We’re now looking for a visitor to beat the Catalyst record. Can you beat 3.01? Come to Oxford and find out. We’ll ply you with tea and biscuits too.
senior copywriter and founder of the Stairs Challenge.
24th June 2019