Vader’s Legion steps out and answers the ‘Challenge’

Adela Talbot // Western News

Vader’s Legion, a group of Facilities Management co-workers, took the top spot among Western’s teams in the recent Global Corporate Challenge. The team was comprised of, from left, Phill Scott, Ethan Langerak, Georgie Bull, Randy Collins (sitting), George Rawski and Marc Vanden Heuvel (Mike Ullerick, not pictured). As a group, they averaged more than 24,000 steps each per day over the 100-day event. Vader’s Legion finished 13th in Canada and 418th in the world, among than 42,000 teams.

You can say that ‘The Force’ is strong in this team.

Vader’s Legion, a group of Facilities Management co-workers, took the top spot among Western’s teams in the recent Global Corporate Challenge (GCC). Made of up of grounds workers Marc Vanden Heuvel, Phill Scott, Ethan Langerak, Georgie Bull, Randy Collins, George Rawski and Mike Ullerick, the team averaged more than 24,000 steps each day over the 100 days, taking them close to 7,000 miles – or London to Vancouver, back to London and then to Vancouver, yet again.

Vanden Heuvel, a Vader’s Legion team leader, said GCC was a great way to get healthy once again.

“This past winter, we worked odd hours,” he said. “We work late nights; our sleeping and eating patterns were destroyed; we were eating junk food; I gained like 30 pounds. I said this was the end of it.”

With his daily walking and commuting to work on his bike – not to mention extra loops through Springbank Park and local neighbourhoods to hit 50 km some days – Vanden Huevel lost 25 pounds through GCC and plans to “keep it up,” having since joined a gym.

“It’s a whole lifestyle change, exercising and watching what you eat,” he said of the program. “It makes you aware of what you’re doing. And work benefits too because if there’s healthy workers, there’s less sick time.”

While tops at Western, Vader’s Legion also finished 13th in Canada and 418th in the world, among more than 42,000 teams.

In total, more than 550 Western employees recently wrapped up a healthy lifestyle makeover, thanks to GCC.

Founded in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003, what started as frustration at the increasingly sedentary society soon developed into a global movement that has reached 1.5 million employees and 4,700 organizations across 185 countries.

Billed as a workplace health and engagement program, the GCC is built around 100 days, where participants, in teams of seven, take part in the competition by challenging themselves to increase their physical activity levels through walking, swimming and biking, improve their diet and better their quality of their sleep.

Louise Koza, Director of Human Resources (Total Compensation), said hundreds of Western employees took part by walking, swimming and biking their way to well over 350,000 miles.

“All indications point to a huge success over the past 100 days,” said Koza, encouraging participants to keep their pedometers and continue with their program, as the GCC website’s portal and resources remain accessible right up to May 2016.

Western is planning a ‘finish line’ celebration to recognize the winners of the challenge and review overall results at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in Room 2050 of the Social Science Centre.