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HCSS Runners Take First Place at Texas Independence Relay

April 7, 2015
 / HCSS / 

KishanTIR2015-1You know HCSS products can help you run your business.

But HCSS employees are runners too -- fast ones.

The HCSS Fast Track team of runners won the Corporate division of the Texas Independence Relay on March 28-29, finishing the 200-mile course from Gonzales to LaPorte, Texas in 24:37:46. It was the fifth-fastest time for a corporate team in TIR history, and the team finished No. 7 overall out of 159 total teams.

HCSS had two teams competing in the 40-leg relay -- the Heavy Haulers finished No. 38 with a time of 28:23:45. Both teams started the race Saturday morning, running through the night to win the prestigious "Corporate Cannon," given to the winning corporate team. Chevron was the most recent holder of the trophy.

"The race went beyond our expectations, and I and the rest of the team are extremely proud of what we have accomplished," veteran runner and HCSS Business Analyst Steve Maliszewski said. "Winning the TIR Corporate Cannon has always been a dream for a number of the members of the team. Now that we have finally realized our goal, we will have to work even harder to defend our title." 

While each runner had his or her challenges, some were worse than others. HCSS Software Development Manager Kishan Patel was fired up for his last leg of the race, which started around 2 a.m., and would end with breakfast tacos. But while he finished with his fastest time of the his three runs, he noticed something was wrong.

"I got done and took my shoes off, and one toe was black and the other was bleeding," he said. "I didn't notice while I was running. It was painful when I was running, but everything was painful so I thought it was fine."

While employees shed blood, sweat, and tears to win the race, they were also followed on the course by support vans driven by the runners who were not on duty. The vans were equipped with HCSS GPS devices to keep track of the course, their locations, and so others at home could follow along on the run.

Maliszewski also provided his team members with small maps of their legs on the course, which was not well marked as it ran through countryside and small towns across southeast Texas.

The course started in Gonzales, the site of the birthplace of Texas. It traveled through small towns Shiner (home of Shiner Beer), Moulton, Flatonia, Schulenburg, Weimar, and Columbus before reaching the nighttime portion of the race. In the dark, runners navigated Eagle Lake, Wallis, Orchard, Simonton, and Fulshear, reaching Cinco Ranch in Katy as the sun came up.

"My second leg was at night, and it was really pretty in the countryside," Project Coordinator Amy Chien said. "Everyone did well at night. It is so beautiful out there. You look up and there are so many stars, and you're not interrupted by all the traffic."

TIR-2015-Van-1-Tracks
Van 1's course throughout the race, as shown by HCSS GPS
TIR-2015-Van-2-Tracks
Van 2's course throughout the race, as shown by HCSS GPS

The course then wound through several Houston parks on the second day, through downtown Houston, and out the other side to Channelview, before runners crossed the finish line at a party at the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument, at the site where Texas defeated Santa Anna's Mexican Army and won its independence.

This was HCSS' eighth appearance in the race and their fastest posted times to date. HCSS offers employees a wellness stipend each year that can be used to pay for races and other wellness events of their choosing.

"It was one of the best experiences I've had," Chien said. "I was nervous because it was my first time, but everyone was so supportive and encouraging. They say being cooped up like that and tired, that people start to get cranky. But that didn't happen. We all had a great time and formed new friendships."

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