By Amber Bentley
Earlier this summer, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) hosted its inaugural virtual 5K run/1 mile walk to promote staff connection and unity. OBO Division Chief Stephanie Felton created the idea, and OBO’s External Affairs team brought the vision to life in just three short weeks.
“The silver lining to stay-at-home orders is having more motivation to get outdoors and more flexibility to fit in regular runs,” said Felton. “This made me think that we could do something running/walking related, together as an organization.”
On race day, more than 100 OBO employees participated from diplomatic posts such as Nairobi and Mexico City, five different states, and in Washington. Director Addison “Tad” Davis IV hosted a pre-run pep rally on WebEx where he sounded the horn for the race to begin. OBO hosted another WebEx gathering following the race to signify the “closing ceremony.”
After the event, participants submitted their run/walk times for consideration in the competition, as well as photos and videos from their workouts. OBO acknowledged the male and female 5K winners and mailed them homemade trophies designed by OBO Program Analyst Stephanie Bridgewater. OBO Communications Manager Rachel Yates took home the female’s trophy.
“What an honor it was getting notified that I was the female winner of the first annual OBO Virtual 5K event,” said Yates. “It amazes me that while society—and the world—has to be socially distant, OBO is continuing to surprise employees with innovative ways to keep us virtually connected.”
The Bureau received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from this event, as well as some great ideas for how to improve it for next year. Some of the best traditions are often developed in the most unexpected times, and this certainly was one of them. The race served as a great opportunity to strengthen and sustain the unity in OBO’s community. To view photos from the event, visit OBO’s photo album of the event online.
Amber Bentley is a press analyst for the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.