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For many years Pietermaritzburg had a successful inter-company relay in Alexandra Park. Businesses would come out en masse and their employees would take part in the 5km relay.
Each business would have a designated site. Colleagues and their families would braai and socialise. It was an event for the whole community.
I remember taking part every year. It wasn’t so much about the relay as it was about representing your team and of businesses coming together in a fun way.
Sadly, the event hasn’t taken place for a couple of years, mainly because the venue became unsuitable and the event became more about winning than about taking part. Companies began to buy in runners, and so the fun was lost.
In its original format, the event played an important cohesive role in the Pietermaritzburg community, and locals have been suggesting for some time that we should |attempt to bring it back. The chamber is well placed to do so, and we decided to give it a go.
Instead of an ordinary relay, however, we decided to launch an interactive fun relay, which is completely about fun and networking and not at all about winning.
Rather than having a serious race, we opted for a kind of business-obstacle race, during which competitors had to complete |various fun business-related tasks en route to accumulating points.
Nashua Pietermaritzburg agreed to be naming-rights sponsors and the inaugural OTT Nashua PCB Enterprise Relay was held on Friday evening at the Royal Showgrounds.
It is exciting and a bit nerve-racking to stage new events, and of course there is a great deal of work that goes into staging it, but I am pleased with how it turned out. We had a great response and, yes, it was silly, but this translated into plenty of fun and laughter.
It also attracted a wide range of businesses from all communities. The benefits for those who took part was the strong team-building element, brand exposure and the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones.
The businesses stationed along the route contributed signifi-|cantly to the success of the event, and, in return, they enjoyed excellent exposure.
For me, it was about more than this. It was very much about social cohesion and building a closer business community. You should never underestimate the value of business unity. Without it, you don’t have a strong voice.
Now more than ever, we need to stand together. This is not something that happens automatically. Like all relationships, it requires effort and investment. This was a worthwhile event and we’ll definitely do it again next year.