Jacobo - worldwide wellbeing extroardinaire

Meet Jacobo, People Systems Analyst at our European head office. When he's not busy being a people person, he's travelling the world completing wellbeing challenges. From donating blood to park runs, we caught up with him before he conquered the Amsterdam marathon...

Jacobo Blijdenstein

People Systems Analyst

You were amazing in our MOREathon (ASW’s internal walking/cycling/running wellbeing challenge). What’s your secret? 

Training for a marathon! I ran around 45km during the week and 15km on the weekends, so that helped. I also try to cycle as much as I can, and the transportation here in London makes it an easy decision. I’m either walking 35 minutes then waiting for a train to get into work, or I can hop on my bike for 20 minutes and I’m there! 

15km on a weekend is admirable, if we do say so ourselves! 

Can I do a shameless plug for park runs? My wife and I did our first one when we moved here around 4 years ago, and we were like, oh, this is quite fun. We then realised our local park did one every so often, so we made it a regular thing. We invited my wife’s family to do one with us and they all loved it as they’re so sporty. So much so, whenever we go to visit them, we do a park run – we’ve already done around 100 so far! 

You did a half marathon yesterday, and now you’re here as if nothing ever happened. How do you do it? 

It’s just the training! If you see it through, you’ll be amazed at what your body can do! I didn’t actually get into running until university, where I had to take up an athletics course as part of my degree. My teacher was really good, he pushed me to try harder and I realised I actually enjoyed it. A couple of my friends had also ran marathons and stuff before, so they started to push me too. If I ran 5km they’d be like, “Okay, good. Now make it 10km!” 

How do you fit all your training into your busy schedule? 

I wake up early! Well, not that early as it only takes me 20 minutes to cycle to work! But I’ll get up, go for a run, jump on my bike and shower once I get to the office. I’d much rather get up early than go to bed late, but that’s just me. Everybody’s different – you’ve got to find what works for you. 

Top tips for getting active? 

Try to maintain a certain level of fitness. Once you do that, it's quite easy to stay active. Walking 20 minutes from the train station might not be ideal in the rain, but it's not the worst thing in the world and it saves you money! If you're hopping on the bus for two stops, leave earlier and walk instead. It's the little things, you know? Elevators are another thing - take the stairs whenever you can!  

Do you have a highlight from our CSR wellbeing quarter? 

The wellbeing bingo was something different and it really challenged me. I’ve donated blood a couple of times, but for the bingo I went with my colleague Jemma, and her freaking out was definitely a highlight! Some of them were too difficult for me, though. I could never go vegan for 4 weeks! I’d try one week, for sure… 

What else motivates you? 

Just being healthy and stepping up to challenges and going for it! I don’t want to be sedentary as I get older. I know I probably won’t have a choice, but it’s worth a try, right? My wife is also very active and competitive, so it just comes naturally. 

Finally, what’s your favourite ASW memory? 

Before I left to get married, the team surprised me with a little celebration. For birthdays, you kind of expect something to happen, but I was completely caught off guard! We had champagne and everything, it was lovely.

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