Take the Corporate Challenge: Fred Rogers Productions Story

by Fred Rogers Productions
We like to celebrate together at Fred Rogers Productions — and as a company that has been making children’s media for over fifty years, we have a lot to celebrate! Just this year, we’ve had the great fortune of recognizing new television show developments, treasured staff retirements, and Emmy award wins. 

We’re also a company that believes in trying new things and supporting one another through difficult moments. The 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and FedEx Ground Pittsburgh Corporate Challenge presented us with the opportunity to do both! 

For as much fun as we like to have, we’re not (yet!) the kind of company that does a lot of physical activities together. Some 5K walks or pickup basketball games might be in our future, but they aren’t part of our recent past. Running long distances was, in fact, a new endeavor for most people in our organization, which presented a challenge in identifying who would be part of the FRP relay team. We ultimately assembled a mix of experience, enthusiasm, and commitment. We’re proud to say that our team included people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s!

The characters in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, one of the children’s series that we produce, share many strategies with young children and their parents. One such strategy, “When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do,” also worked well for our team. Just two of our relay team members started out as runners, and there was some concern from others on the team about what it would take to cross their respective finish lines. To counter this apprehension, we had regular conversations about what to expect before, during, and after the race. One of our team members even walked with another through her relay leg to ease anxiety about what to expect on the course.

Conversations around the office slowly changed as race day approached. In addition to the relay team, we had one staff member running the UPMC Health Plan/ UPMC Sports Medicine Pittsburgh 5K and another participating in the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Together, we shared playlists and training plans (thank you, couch-to-10K app!). We lamented over how the rain interrupted our morning runs and discussed the merits of kinesio tape. With time and training, a task that had initially felt overwhelming for many on our relay team was now something that we were looking forward to. Anxiety gave way to genuine excitement.

Race day was full of smiles and good times, despite the rain. We took several photos throughout the day — at exchanges and the finish line — and each is full of joy and accomplishment. We wore team shirts featuring Daniel Tiger and another one of his strategies: “Sometimes it’s okay to go slow.” We chose that strategy as a joke, of course! Knowing that we were not going to beat any records, we were happy with ourselves just to finish the race. Perhaps the joke was on us: we ended up finishing ahead of our anticipated time! 

The FedEx Ground Pittsburgh Marathon Relay gave us a chance to achieve a goal centered around health and fitness, determination, and teamwork. And we are already looking forward to next year’s event. And who knows? We may even beat this year’s time in 2020!

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