Aruba general manager's challenge helps charity and employee health

Mark Lyttleton-Frances, general manager of the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa, launched a health and wellness campaign earlier this year, which has his team on the run, literally! This week, after months of training with an ever growing group of runners, Mark led group on the General Manager’s Charity Challenge, a 5K run from the hotel lobby along Aruba’s Eagle Beach and back.

“The GM’s 5km (3.1 mile) road race was launched in an effort to encourage folks to get fit, get healthy and eat better,” says Mark. “A few colleagues pitched up for the first event, but it was great fun, so we did it again on two more occasions with an ever growing number of competitors. In total this year, the management team at the Resort has lost over 1000 pounds in weight, a real achievement and I am proud of all of them.”

More than 30 racers set out to beat the three-time champion general manager and raise money for a local charity.

“The police actually closed the road for us, and all the local media were in attendance,” says Mark. “We were sponsored, without asking, from all over. There were official timekeepers, water stations, a videographer and photographer!”

The charity run gained so much buzz, that it drew local television coverage and feature stories in 24ora.comboletinextra.com and Blati Bleki. Guests were invited to cheer the runners along the route and many made spontaneous donations toward the winners’ charity.

“Basically, everyone was out to beat me,” Mark says. “The deal is that we all paid 10 Florins entry fee, and if I won the money would go the Aruba Animal Shelter. If I lost, I would pay back all the entry fees and donate 300 Florins from my pocket to the charity of choice of the winner.”

Despite his valiant attempt, Mark placed third in the competition. Manuel Reyes of the beach and pool staff won the challenge, which means a generous donation to his charity of choice.

“Sadly, I got beat by the young, fit pool and beach guys, but I'm happy with third place," said Mark. "Now, the race is on for 2014.”    

Picture top right: Mark Lyttleton-Frances, general manager (front row, third from left), and his Challenge running team.

December 17, 2013
Photo caption:
A 5-kilometer road race, which started from a hotel’s health and wellness initiative and a challenge from the general manager, morphed into a successful, island-wide charity initiative in Aruba.