With the start of the runDisney races just a week away from today I will be sharing with you stories from Cigna, runDisney’s presenting sponsor of the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. This year is the 25th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon! My first runDisney race was the Walt Disney World Marathon 5 years ago, during it’s 20th anniversary. I am so excited for the 25th anniversary and looking forward to completing my 4th Dopey Challenge.
Cigna, the presenting sponsor of the race weekend, held a contest for its employees. Cigna employs over 39,000 people and they offered a contest for the employees to share their stories to win a race entry. Each employee submitted a video to share why they wanted to be chosen for a race. As a health benefits company, Cigna is committed to supporting their runners through every step of their race journey. Preventative care check ups are also am important step when beginning a new sport. It’s best to get the go ahead from your doctor to make sure you don’t have any underlying issues that may hinder your experience or affect your health in the long term.
Cigna Employee Contest Winner For The Full Marathon – Amanda Slayton
The first story I will share is about Amanda Slayton. She lives in Carbondale, PA and works in Claim Operations as a Customer Satisfaction Supervisor
When Amanda Slayton was 12 years old, her neighbor and carpool ride joined the junior varsity cross country team. Since Amanda depended on her friend for rides home from school, she decided to join the team too. Little did she know that carpool necessity would lead to a lifelong passion for long-distance running. At Penn State, Amanda continued to run with the team.
A Mother Runner
Lilke me, Amanda is now married with two children, and says, “Running is part of my everyday living- I run because I love it, especially now that Fall weather is here and I need a long distance run to enjoy outdoors. I have a 1-year old and an almost-4-year old, so if I want to relieve stress, running is my only ‘me time.’” Amanda hopes to inspire her kids with her passion for running. “As you can see in my video, my older son loves to run around and pretend to be Mommy and put on my medals.”
How Cigna Helps
She’s worked at Cigna for four years handling escalated customer claims, and is grateful for all the perks and incentives the company offers to encourage wellness. She credits working with Cigna trainer Libby Aneskewich in the Scranton office for helping her get ready for her first full marathon in Orlando. An employee team of running enthusiasts are training together during the countdown to Disney. This will be Amanda’s first full marathon, after completing her first half-marathon in Scranton in April.
Her advice for newbie runners: “Run for your own enjoyment. Start at your own pace and build from there- it’s important to run relaxed and feel it for yourself. I would consult with a PCP to make sure your body is up to par before doing any strenuous exercise. Runners World magazine and other resources also have great tips on how to go from the couch to a 5k. My favorite running quote is from Steve Prefontaine: ‘If you give anything less than your best is to sacrifice a gift.’”