STAFF at a big Bournemouth employer have walked, run and cycled thousands of miles after the company laid down fitness challenges during the lockdown.

Insurance company Ageas – which employs more than 700 people at Deansleigh Road – issued the challenges as part of a commitment to employee wellbeing.

Staff had the choice of cycling 267km (166 miles), running 42km (26 miles) or clocking up 250,000 steps (approximately 108 miles).

Around 200 people took part in the trio of challenges and, of those who completed the feats of fitness, more than 17 million steps were taken (around 7,395 miles), 4,362km (2,710 miles) were run and 14,619km (9,083) cycled.

Claire Steele, who works at Ageas’ office in Bournemouth, clocked up 375km (233 miles) in the cycle challenge, as well as completing the running and steps challenges.

She said: “I love to challenge myself and was due to take part in my first triathlon in May, representing Ageas at Challenge Lisboa. Taking part in May’s virtual challenges has helped to lift my spirits up again.

“I’ve loved getting up in the early hours, to run along the beach or cycle into the countryside, enjoying the sounds and sights of nature. Taking part in this challenge has helped me find my mojo to train again.”

Lyn Nicholls, HR director at Ageas UK, said: “Our people have really embraced the three challenges and I’m impressed by the number of miles they’ve clocked up between them. Keeping active is a great way of looking after our mental wellbeing, as well as our physical health, so we’re pleased to be able to lay on these challenges for our employees.”

Ageas has been supporting staff during lockdown, with a particular focus on mental wellbeing. Other initiatives have included resources for busy parents, mental health first aiders and wellbeing guides.

The company has not furloughed any staff and has helped around 80 per cent of its employees to work from home.

Ms Nicholls added: “Like many businesses across the UK, we’re now looking at how our people who have been working from home can return to the office in a safe way, while also reflecting on our experiences over the last few weeks as an opportunity to think about how we want to operate in future.

“This includes looking at flexibility in working hours, changes to the office layout and using technology to our advantage. It’s vital we keep our people safe so they can do what they do best – help our customers during their time of need.”