When PLMR Advent was founded as Advent Communications back in 1998, it was not only a PR agency, but a sports news agency too.
Founder Adam Dent and PLMR Advent director Lee Corden would regularly head to Coventry City’s former ground at Highfield Road to report on the matches there, before syndicating their copy to newspapers around the world.
More than two decades on, although the sports news agency service has gone, PLMR Advent still values its connection to sport.
A number of former and current staff were sports journalists earlier in their careers, and many either play or follow sport religiously outside of work.
PLMR Advent counts the Coventry Building Society Arena – the current home to Coventry City FC – as a key client, and is also playing a major role in the comms activity in the ongoing International Blind Sports Association’s World Games in Birmingham.
A group of us also enjoyed marking the NHS’s 75th anniversary by taking part in Coventry parkrun around War Memorial Park in July.
So, when the UK Corporate Games – a major sporting event for businesses large and small all around the country – came to the University of Warwick earlier in August, it was an opportunity for PLMR Advent to indulge in a spot of sporting competition alongside helping the Games get some positive coverage through a trio of press releases through a sponsorship tie-up.
Adam Manning, Tom Davis, Tom Howell, Rob Milne, Will Savage, ably supported by Alex Kerr and Sean Rose from our long-term clients Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, signed up to form the five-a-side football team and, being a keen club runner, I volunteered for the 5km running event.
We expected a fun, yet competitive day of sport, with opportunities to show off our skill and network with new companies.
What we weren’t expecting was the biblical levels of rain at the University of Warwick Sports Hub on the day. Despite the relentless deluge, everyone turned up as expected that morning – I was expecting a couple of creative excuses!
The footballers tentatively ventured out to the five-a-side pitches in the downpour and took part in four matches to attempt to qualify for the knockout rounds.
It was clear the football team had a way to go to match some of their opponents – but considering one of them was IBM, who employ thousands of people, the team punched above their weight despite exiting at the group stage.
Superb goals were scored by Will and Alex, while Adam made a string of excellent saves to keep the games competitive.
Meanwhile, my fellow runners and I were told the planned course was used by the University of Warwick’s cross-country team for their training sessions. It wasn’t the news I wanted to hear.
Hills, puddles and mud were the order of the day, all experienced in driving rain and wind. A gentle fun run this was not.
As the race panned out, I was stuck in what I thought was seventh place with no hope of catching the very quick runners in front of me. That is, until they all went in for a second lap.
I realised they were competing in the 10km race, so with new-found energy I turned a left corner to the finish and sprinted to the line. Incredibly, no-one in the ‘Open’ category came ahead of me in the 5k, so I took home the gold for PLMR Advent!
With one gold, PLMR Advent appeared on the medal table above the likes of Honda and John Lewis – I think we can be proud of that.
Events such as the Corporate Games, taking part in initiatives such as parkrun, and encouraging staff to play sport outside of work isn’t the primary goal of PLMR Advent or the wider Group, but it is still very important.
Participating in sport, whether taken seriously or not, brings our colleagues together, and is a major boost to physical and mental health.
And with PLMR’s commitment to offering private health cover and subsidised gym membership, its mental health initiatives like Tea and Talk, and encouraging staff to form sports teams in netball, rounders and more, it is clear the Group understands this.
Whatever the next competition is, I’m looking forward to it!