Yellow T-shirt-clad Washingtonians will jog in greater numbers this September because an overweight Madison Avenue advertising executive7s switch from three-martini lunches to jogging resulted in a dream public service program for his corporate client.
The District is one of 10 cities targets this year for Connecticut Mutual Life's 14-week jogging course. Next year the course will expand to 50-100 more cities and the nation7s schools as quickly as qualified local instructors can be company-trained and certified.
"The weekly one-hour teaching progression supplemented by 'homework' jogging assignments is designed to get entry-level joggers started safely, overcome physical/psychological barriers to fitness, and build up to jogging three miles or 30 minutes without stopping by the end of the three months," said Peter Moore, father of the insurance company's nationwide Run For 1life fitness program.
The course is the latest extension of the company's $500,000 joggoing program that debuted in April 1978 with fun runs and instruction clinics. Allegedly the work largest running event, a simultaneous national Run For Life day in 125 cities May 19 of this year raised nearly $1 million for the American Heart Association.
1moore, now the 40-pounds ligherter communications chief for Connecticut Mutual, gave birth to a PR oerson7s dream: an innovative but non-gimmecy, cost-effective but limited- budget way of developing a leadership image for this prestigious company that previously had maintained a low profile on the national advertising scene. The program had to be substantive enough to draw notional attention yet able to be handled by local insurance agents who add their own touch.
For instance, Paul Love the local agent-jogger who is coordinating Washington-area Run For Life acticities, is sponsoring a bring-your-own linament "ache-athon" picnic in Rock Creek Park for course participants to acknowledge the brief aches and pains that accompany a new runner's experoemces.
The $75 course, which begins September 12 at George Washington University's Marvin Center combines verbal in instruction, warm-ups, jogging sessions at the mall, and cool down exercises in a sophisticated weekly progression, said Paula Cox, one of the instructors.
1love and Cox particularly want to attract "workaholic Washingtonians -- competitive, deadline-oriented professionals under stress -- who need planned fitness in their lives before they become 'medical failures.'"
Since Run For Life originally was conceived as sales-marketing effort, Connecticut Mutual has no company-wide figures or surveys on related sales and recruitment increases. But scattered success stories filter up to Hartford headquarters: increased sales in Indianopolis by as much as 20 percent by one agent, recruitment successes in the competitive insurance business in San Antonio, heightened community awareness in Harrisburg. Now the program will be used by local agents to position themselves specifically in communities to increase business.
In just over a year, the conservative Connecticut company cornered the market on the educational approach to this nation's hottest fitness craze and "placed the Connecticut Mutral Life name positively in front of more people than ever before in the company's 133-year history." Moore said .
At the headquarter of the health-conscious company, which lists calorie totals on cafeteria food, provides employe exercise facilities as do a growing number of companies, and uses the Run For Life program as an employe morable booster, some non-runners are also spotted carrying jogging shoes to work to 'get ahead." CAPTION: Illustration, no caption, By Robert Barkin --The Washington Post