Williams F1 Takes to the Streets for SIA

WILLIAMS F1 TAKE TO THE STREETS FOR SIA On Sunday 26th April, a group of Williams F1 employees will take to the streets of London to run the capital's marathon to raise funds for the team's chosen charity, the Spinal Injuries Association ...


On Sunday 26th April, a group of Williams F1 employees will take to the streets of London to run the capital's marathon to raise funds for the team's chosen charity, the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

Team Principal of the AT&T Williams team, Frank Williams, used to be a keen runner before his car accident in 1986, after which the SIA provided invaluable support which is now reciprocated by the team. Running also remains an important element of fitness training for many at Williams who spend long hours working in and around the Formula One tracks of the world.

Simon Forester, Brand and Licensing Manager of the Oxfordshire based team, is one of six runners attempting the marathon and decided to take part as a mark of admiration for Frank and to help make a difference to those that suffer the impact that such injuries have. The dedicated six man crew have spent the past six months, invariably the busiest of the year, squeezing in training during their lunch hours and at their homes in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

"The SIA is our official charity and is held very close to our hearts. Even though time is precious as we are about to start our racing season, Frank still visits each individual to ask how fitness training for the marathon is going. He is very proud of us and his understanding of running often leads to extremely helpful suggestions.

"We see Frank every day and it reminds us of how fortunate we are to be able to run. It's fantastic to have the opportunity to achieve this personal ambition before I turn 40, while raising funds for such a worthwhile cause. These factors are extremely motivating." said Simon.

There are plenty of opportunities for those with differing abilities to run for SIA. These include London's 10K and Run to the Beat, with 17 music stages situated around the course, The Great North Run, the Berlin, New York and Chicago marathons. You could literally get hooked and end up travelling the world.

The Williams F1 London Marathon team is made up of a mixture of characters. Kirsty Allan from Oxford has been training intensively over the past six months. Being one of only three women in a male dominated design office, she is determined and outgoing; two traits that will help propel her on the big day. Tom Lee from IT is a naturally fit and active character. As he resolves technical issues throughout all departments, he is expected to gain a raft of personal sponsorships from colleagues, particularly those with computer problems!

Ian Mattocks from Witney is part of the team responsible for freighting Williams F1's kit all around the world. His outgoing nature and co-ordination skills promise to play a useful role in ensuring that the marathon team are delivered at the finishing line within decent timeframes.

Camilla Graham-Enock and Phil Kennard are from Oxford and Newbury respectively and work in marketing with Simon who commutes to work from Woburn Sands each day. Taking time to recover from an operation over Christmas knocked Camilla's training but she has been catching up since February.

Great things are expected from Phil, a keen sailor, who completed the Blenheim Triathlon for charity two years ago so he is no stranger to athletic competition, although he rated the run as his worst discipline! Simon, father of two small children, has time management off to a tee by lapping the local village and factory at lunch times and completes long distance runs at weekends.

"Each year, 550 Williams F1 employees pull in the same direction to build up to seven cars, so working as a team is embedded within our business culture. Pulling together and encouraging each other for the marathon comes as second nature and there is plenty of banter and advice sharing between us all. We will start the race together and possibly break into smaller groups later according to our abilities," added Simon.

Although all are pushing for respectable times, they do not plan to carry iPods, rather soak up the atmosphere as they run past some of London's most historic sites. As many runners testify, although it is a long run, the London Marathon is so enjoyable that it is over as quickly as it started.

"We have not attempted the London Marathon before but would like to make it an annual event within the company. It fits well with helping to ensure employee wellbeing and we have proved that building a training programme around your working hours is easy. The sponsorship pledge for each race is easy to meet and we never cease to be amazed by people's generosity. You just have to scratch the surface of our factory's population and you will find plenty of potential runners. It would be nice to think that we could put together a crack running team for future events after all, racing is our business," concluded Simon.

If you would like to support the Williams F1 London Marathon team please visit www.justgiving.com/williamsf1 or the individual sites of the team. If you feel spurred on to run in an event, call 08456786633 or visit www.spinal.co.uk.

-credit: williams

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Charity , Formula 1
Drivers Frank Williams
Teams Williams