Volunteering at the Berne Grand Prix

Helsana employees – including CEO Daniel H. Schmutz – ran with the Special Olympics athletes at the Berne Grand Prix. The joint run was a great experience for everyone.

It’s raining, windy and stormy. But everyone’s in a good mood. The run is about to begin. Suddenly there’s a loud bang to start the race – triggered by former Federal Councillor Adolf Ogi. Rinaldo is off. The Special Olympics athlete is fast, too fast for Martina, the Helsana employee. Or will she manage to run a personal best time by the end of the race?

Rinaldo, Martina and 32,000 other people took part in the Berne Grand Prix on 11 May. This was the 38th time the street run has been held. The approximately 85 participants in the category “Special Olympics Unified” had the honour of opening the event. They ran the 1.6-kilometre “Bären Grand Prix” course together with their helpers.

Strong team at the Berne Grand Prix

Eighteen Helsana employees ran with the team. The volunteer helpers assisted the athletes with the warm-up and during the race so that the athletes could put in their best performance, stay focused and arrive safely at the finish line. For the last four years Helsana employees have shown their social commitment through their involvement in the Corporate Volunteering programme. The Grand Prix is one of the highlights of this programme.

Helsana employee Jasmin was thrilled after the race: “The joy of the athletes was contagious, and the rain didn’t bother us at all. It was a great feeling to celebrate with the athletes as they crossed the finish line and to experience this special moment.”

Best times of athletes and helpers

A few of the athletes crossed the finish line with personal best times. Some of the Helsana employees came in just behind the athletes. That’s not surprising, considering that the athletes train two to three times a week and are very fit.

Martina, who ran together with the fast Rinaldo, could hardly believe her time at the end of the race: “I ran my best time ever. I didn’t think I could run so fast.”

Touching hearts by volunteering

Helsana CEO Daniel H. Schmutz also took part in the run: “I was touched by how happy the athletes were and how hard they ran. It’s great that the run for Special Olympics athletes is part of the Grand Prix and that they can line up at the starting line like any other athlete.” Schmutz was also pleased to see how many Helsana employees took part. “We can touch some hearts with our volunteer work, while also spreading some joy and demonstrating real commitment.”

He stressed the importance of setting an example by working for socially disadvantaged people. “It’s beautiful to see that so many Helsana employees also think that way.”

The employees and the athletes will have fond memories of an unforgettable day, whether it’s because they are proud of their performance or happy about the new friendships they made. Helsana would like to thank the team from Special Olympics for organising this unique event.

The Special Olympics is the largest sports movement for people with intellectual disabilities. The organisation wants people with intellectual disabilities to be able to fit in everywhere. The Special Olympics helps them develop their performance through sport. Helsana is committed to the Swiss Special Olympics organisation by being a premium partner and through the work of its staff (Corporate Volunteering).


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