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Cigna – Why Employees Run – Erik Harr

Cigna® is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Denver Colfax Marathon. The Denver Colfax Marathon in the Rocky Mountains is a beautiful location and provides the opportunity to meet athletes from all over Colorado, the nation – even the world.

Employees of Cigna run in this event to engage and support our community. The team participates in the event in a variety of ways, from the Health and Fitness Expo and volunteering at the event to running in the full marathon, half marathon and relays. Erik Harr is Vice President of Client Management at Cigna for the Mountain States. Erik is part of a relay team again this year and he shares his experience and plans for Denver Colfax Marathon.

Why did you decide to do DCM again?
The Denver Colfax Marathon is a fantastic way to combine activities that I enjoy. I can be involved in the community, run with my Cigna family and support a variety of charities. Charities, like Girls on the Run, in which we help youth with a healthy lifelong journey by investing in their entry fees for the marathon. The race offers a fantastic opportunity to do something healthy and be a part of Denver’s running community. The race and surrounding events have provided a chance to meet others in our community who have similar goals to improve their health.

How is running an escape for you?
Running is an opportunity for me to clear my mind and to be present in the moment. My job is remarkably busy, and at times stressful. Running serves as daily stress relief and way to clear my mind. Training for the Denver Colfax Marathon is like an appointment; it is a health appointment for me. I find that training has increased both my physical and mental resilience. Resilience is so helpful to our wellbeing. You can learn about resilience on our website at: Cigna Resilience

When things get really tough in the race, what mentally keeps you going?
It helps to break large challenges into a series of smaller challenges and to continuously build on small victories. I often find myself repeating the following mantra in my head: “I can do anything for another minute, mile, etc.” Knowing my colleagues are counting on me keeps me going. I also like to enjoy a fine meal, a massage, and a beer to celebrate after the race and all the post-race festivities are complete. Knowing friends and family are at the finish line to celebrate is inspiring.

What do you do before every race to ensure success?
I try to ensure that I have had enough sleep along with proper nutrition and hydration. I like to have oatmeal and berries in mornings leading up to the race and find a nice whole wheat pasta with olive oil and fresh veggies, along with lots of water the night before, is a good source of energy. I reflect on the training and preparation for the race I did, and remind myself I should be ready and able. Lastly, I remind myself to have fun and enjoy the beautiful course.

Why would you recommend running to others?
Running is both a mental and physical challenge. Accomplishing a goal while running, whether it be a distance goal, speed goal or a combination, builds both confidence and resilience; two attributes that prove invaluable when coping with adversity. I find I can apply the same principals to my work life. Now the trick is to keep up these good habits beyond the Colfax Marathon!