MEDIA & MARKETING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Square Mile Sport CEO gives a glimpse of Bloomberg Square Mile Relay

And why firms are excited for the Singapore leg.

Singapore Business Review recently caught up with Nick Keller, CEO of Square Mile Sport. His company pioneered the much talked-about team building and race scheme for corporations called the Square Mile Relay. This week, the race will be brought to Singapore and many prominent Singapore-based firms will be participating. Here's more from Nick Keller:

SBR: What inspired you to create the Square Mile Relay?

Firstly, I would say it’s those memories of school sports days – everyone runs the relay and remembers passing that baton on, but it’s something we never do as adults. And yet it’s so exciting – you look at the relays in the Olympic Games and they are some of the most thrilling events. I wanted to recreate this excitement and at the same time deviate from traditional races that are more individualistic. As such the concept of racing as a team came forward and the Square Mile Relay was born.

SBR: Why specifically target corporations?

Anyone who has played for a sports team and worked in a major corporation knows the many things they have in common! From the pressure to deliver to the importance of teamwork and the buzz that comes with success, there are so many parallels.

Added to that is the fact that the men and women working for these major organisations are competitive, high-performing individuals and you’re pretty much guaranteed a very exciting race with every single runner aiming to perform to the absolute best of their ability.

SBR: Other than winning bragging rights, how can corporations benefit from this event?

I think every corporation understands the importance of team building, with an increasing number appreciating the importance of safekeeping their employees’ health and wellbeing. 

A strong and happy team is much more enjoyable to work in, of course, but also much more productive and beneficial for the company. There’s also the question of collective pride – the bond formed between team members during training and at the race, and also with colleagues who come down to cheer them. It’s a truly special experience and a fun one too.

The fact that we get over 85% of companies returning each year in the London race goes to show how much firms enjoy the event, and we hope to see the same with the Singapore leg in editions to come. 

SBR: What inspired the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay coming into Singapore?

Singapore is a fantastic sporting city - it's young and dynamic - and you could probably use the same description about the business community here. Even though it’s a mature and established international business and financial hub, it has a very fresh and exciting feel. It really is a perfect fit for the event, with a stunning urban landscape and an audience with an insatiable appetite for running races.

It therefore made perfect sense both for us and our headline partner, Bloomberg, to bring the race to Singapore as the first step in our global expansion. Bloomberg are also very committed to this region, so it was a great choice for all involved.

SBR: What kind of teams can we expect at the race this Thursday?

We are expecting teams across a diversity of industries – from bankers to shipping brokers and from lawyers to pharmaceutical companies. The likes of Barclays and Goldman Sachs will be going head to head with Clifford Chance, Goodyear and Google. Teams with strong showing include the likes of Standard Chartered Bank with nine teams and Great Eastern Life with three teams including an all-women’s team.

SBR: Is there anything interesting about any of the teams that have signed up?

Firstly, despite the strong competition between teams, Virgin Active will be helping everyone out by leading all the runners in a pre-race warm up as well as with cool down and stretches post-race.

They did this brilliantly in London, and we are looking forward to having them do this in Singapore. There is also DHL who may be ‘delivering’ their baton around the course in an unusual way as well, but we’ll have to wait and see! 

SBR: How does the relay, with huge corporate participation, give back to society?

First of all, the winning team receives a cheque for S$10,000 to donate to their preferred charity, so there is an immediate grant on the night for one deserving organisation. But we’re very keen to also build a lasting legacy for Singapore around the race. We have partnered with SportCares to launch an on-going running programme for disadvantaged youths and young adults. This isn’t just about getting them out and improving their fitness, but also using the hook of sport to help engage and educate them and really make a positive difference in their lives. 

The creation and development of this SportCares programme will see not only coaching being provided, but also transport, refreshments and mentoring.

SBR: With such an exciting event, what else can participants expect other than sports element of it?

A big difference between the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay and other running events is what happens after the race. This isn’t just a case of a towel going round your neck and a bottle of water being put in your hand, then away you go. The runners and spectators come together for a fantastic experience – we have great food and drink, a DJ who will be spinning live, and in many ways the end of the race is just the start of the party. Entry into the Race Village on The Promontory at Marina Bay is free to all, so spectators should come along and support the runners as well as join in the celebrations at the after-party! 

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