Just less than one year after becoming CEO at Quintiles in 2012, Tom Pike competed in his first-ever half marathon, not surprisingly, the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon, which the company first sponsored in 2010. Fifty-three at the time, Pike posted an impressive finish of 1:51:20. Although it was his first half marathon, and only second race ever, he had been running for over 22 years.
Pike first began running in his early thirties. He had just started a new job, had a newborn son, and was 40 pounds heavier. “The real issue was that I didn’t feel good,” says Pike. “I was working long hours and our son was recently born, so we weren’t getting much sleep at night. I knew I needed to begin taking better care of myself.” It was rough getting started, he admits.
He made a commitment to exercise every morning and improve his diet. It didn’t seem like much initially – sometimes it was 10 minutes, others times it was 30 or more – what he called a “better-than-nothing” workout, or BTN. But now, at 56, he has whittled his half marathon time to 1:40:17. Still, despite his impressive half marathon times, Pike doesn’t claim to be a racer.
“I am really just a recreational runner, in it to get exercise,” he says. “I like to say I am ‘running from heart disease,’ as my mother had a stroke at a very young age, just a little older than me. But over the years, we’ve learned there are so many other related health benefits to being fit.”
Fitting a run into his sometimes-hectic travel schedule can be a challenge as well, but Pike says it’s worth the effort. “I’ll often meet-up with employees and we get the chance to run together or join in a local short-distance race. It’s a fun way to see different cities as well.”
Pike’s commitment to fitness reflects and reinforces Quintiles’ commitment to providing its employees a healthy work environment, which includes things like a Physical Activity Reimbursement Program. The program encourages physical activity and stress management by providing a monthly reimbursement for gym membership, personal training, athletic event fees, yoga, Pilates, dance, massage, outdoor adult bicycles, or home gym equipment.
Not only does Quintiles engage its employees in leading healthy lives, it also engages the local community through its sponsorship of events like the Wrightsville Beach Marathon Madness weekend and support for organizations such as Girls on the Run. Most recently Quintiles became the title sponsor of Endurance Magazine’s Quintiles Bull City Race Fest & Food Truck Rodeo, which takes place October 18 in Durham.
“‘Health and Wellness’ has become a buzz word in medical circles,” says Pike. “To me, it means aspiring to a healthy life, with routine doctor visits for early diagnosis and prevention. Our own wellness is a very personal choice, and for many busy people it is too easy to say you’ll get to it later.” He also believes in personal fitness as a service to our loved ones in terms setting a good example and making sure we’ll be there for them. “It’s not easy to get started, but setting aside even a little time each day is better than nothing!”