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Fitness with style: At Rue La La, Corporate Challenge is a chic fit

Rue La La will be fielding its largest team ever at the 2014 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston.
Rue La La will be fielding its largest team ever at the 2014 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston.

In the chic world of Rue La La’s fast-changing online sale boutiques, fitness plays an important part.

Fitness Fridays at www.ruelala.com feature trendy topics like the “gym and tonic” movement, described by The New York Times as a fitness party craze where celebrations are notable because more calories are burned than consumed. Also chic at the Boston-based online company incorporated in 2007 is participating in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® on the Boston Common.

“Each year, the number of associates who participate grows and this year we are at our highest level of participation, with 69 runners,” said Dani Brehm, a South End resident and Junior Recruiter serving as the company captain for the third year. “Those who participated in years past spread the word throughout Rue La La and inspire their colleagues to sign up.”

At this year’s J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston, Rue La La will be participating for the fifth time. It will join a capacity crowd of 12,000 — the 20th year in succession that Boston has reached its limit of entrants — for a 3.5-mile team run on Tuesday, June 24 beginning at 7:15 p.m.

For Rue La La, the reasons for being a part of the scene at the Boston Corporate Challenge start with fitness.

“Our associates are all very active and we encourage them to lead healthy lifestyles,” said Brehm. “We had four associates run the Boston Marathon this year. Rue La La offers a variety of perks to all our associates, from everything from gym membership discounts to boot camp classes. In retail, the end of the year and holidays are very busy for the business and we often offer onsite yoga as a break in the day.”

Rue La La also values the Corporate Challenge as a team-building opportunity.

“The Corporate Challenge isn’t just a one-day affair for us — we have associates who design our Corporate Challenge tee-shirts as well as others who organize running clubs to train for the race,” said Brehm. “I love the race because of the camaraderie and teamwork it encourages throughout the company. We have an All are welcome policy — it doesn’t matter if you run marathons or you walk the whole race.”

Amy Hughes is a case in point.

“Last year, our Department Executive encouraged me to join her in signing up for the Couch-2-5k program, knowing that I wanted to get back into running but felt demotivated about the gym,” said Hughes. “We trained together for the nine weeks leading up to the event, running three times a week together, rain or shine. She literally got me off the couch and the ultimate goal was to run the Corporate Challenge (a 5.6k event), which we did!”

Given that type of attitude, it is not surprising that Rue La La’s team is all-inclusive.

“The Rue La La team represents a great cross- section of our employees, with a wide range of participants from every department and level,” said Brehm. “Our CEO, Steve Davis, is a great supporter and participant! Our Chief People Officer, Heather Hartford, is a great supporter of the race as well. She inspired and supported our talent team in training for the event and completing a fitness goal.”

And, of course, at Rue La La, it is all done with a certain style.

“The Corporate Challenge is an opportunity to get out there and participate in something for a great cause (supporting BUILD and the Greater Boston Food Bank in 2014),” said Brehm. “I think our team likes to participate as a way to share our company pride and work towards a common goal, which is what we do every day, but it’s fun to do it in a different way.

“It’s such a unique and special experience to run together for Rue La La, and one of the reasons why we love this event,” Brehm added. “It’s great to be able to show our support for this cause and the camaraderie between all the participants from all companies is palpable. Our associates love representing Rue La La, and being a part of this larger community.

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