It’s 2pm and a fit and focused Chris Thurlow is hitting the streets of Wellington for his daily run. It’s a far cry from where this Coke employee was just four months ago before a casual weekend challenge turned into a way of life - one kilometre at a time.

Regional Sales Manager at Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand, Chris grew up as a sporty guy. He played rugby, went running, and generally stayed fit. But then, as it so often does, life had other plans.

“I had a young family and a new job with more hours - the usual pressures of work,” Chris explained. “I put on quite a bit of weight, and lost a lot of energy.”

Taking Up the Challenge

Chris Thurlow before he took up the Powerade Challenge

In June this year Chris weighed 110 kg and was ready for a change. It came in the form of the Powerade Challenge - an 8 kilometre running course along Wellington’s waterfront.

It was the element of competition that Chris says got him to keep running. Beating the times of other Challenge participants, joining a work weigh-in challenge, and sharing his progress on Facebook with friends and family kept him motivated. Today he’s 25kg lighter as a result.

“I run five or six days a week now,” said Chris.

“It makes me feel energised. My partner has been really supportive – she’s seen the benefits of me being fitter and more engaged. It’s the same with work, I’m literally bouncing around the office!”

Each week Chris schedules in his afternoon runs for the upcoming days, and uses the time to improve his happiness as well as his health.

“It’s a time when I can be free from other stuff that’s going on,” he explained.

“I balance work and family like everyone else, and running gives me a third dimension.”

Tackling Energy Balance

Chris Thurlow

As Chris’s health has improved, so too have his eating habits. He said moderation is the key to his happier new diet.

“I have treats more regularly than I did before, because I’m balancing it with a healthy diet and active lifestyle,” explained Chris.

‘I keep an eye on my kilojoule intake and exercise more on the days when my intake has been higher and eat less when I can’t exercise.”