Who works for Interchange?
Who works for Interchange?
The Interchange Group employs hundreds of people worldwide, from many different countries and cultures and a lot of varied backgrounds. However, within such a large organisation, it is inevitable that there will be groups of people that have similar passions, and Interchange is no different to anyone else.
For example – here is just a handful of some of our truly inspirational sports people!
Jana Noskova (Prague Office)
Jana says that she was never a big athlete, but a year after the birth of her son (in 2012) she found herself paralyzed in both legs and she was so worried that she might never walk again or even stand, that she swore that if she ever did, she would walk, run and jump like crazy!
After a year of recovery and getting used to being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Jana put on her first new pair of running shoes and despite her fear, she started to run. At the beginning it was very difficut as her legs, she says, didn’t listen very much, but within a few months she found that her original pledge had become a passion and she started to run regularly, to the point that she dedicated nearly all her free time to it. Her friends, family and colleagues thought that it didn’t make sense, but for Jana, it was as if running had given her wings, and soon everyone could see how happy she was and started to support her.
In September 2016, Jana tried her first race and the atmosphere was so incredible that she began to run for the Sportisimo and Adidas teams, and in her first half marathons she did some really good times. Her fastest half marathon was in Prague in a time of 1 hour, 35 minutes (which means a speed of about 4:29 for 1km), and a month later she ran her first marathon, in a time of 3 hours, 25 minutes ( 4:51/km). In the summer of 2018 she tried her first mountain ultra-marathon (50km) which she finished in a time of 5 hours, 6 minutes and during that year she completed 5 half marathons, 1 marathon and 1 10k, where she was first in her age category. Who knows what 2019 will bring!
Jana says that running is her obsession and she runs until she cant run any more – her legs are proof that anything is possible if you want it enough.
Andrew Burton (London Office)
Andrew’s first sport was football and having been told at 11 years old that he would never be a successful striker, he became a goalkeeper! He soon was part of his school’s team and when he was 16 the team got to the English Schools final, unfortunately getting beaten 2-0.
That led to Andrew receiving an invitation to play for Leeds United Juniors, where as an understudy to David Seaman and John Lukic – who both went on to play for Arsenal and England – he played in the Youth European Cup. He then went on to play for Bradford City in the Football League, keeping 5 clean sheets in 5 games and getting paid the princely sum of £20, maybe the reason why he decided to go to university rather than signing up full time! Andrew continued to play football
during his time at university, including playing for the team that represented England Universities and scoring an international goal against Wales.
Andrew says that he had always enjoyed hill walking and his challenges included hiking the British Three Peaks – climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in a targeted 24 hours – before going on to trek to Everest Base Camp and to summit both Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc.
Having run relatively short distances for general fitness – goalkeepers never had to run very far! – he also had a personal desire to run a marathon before he got to 50 and he managed to complete the London Marathon on the day before his 50th birthday. Whilst his birthday celebration the next day was somewhat muted, the support of friends and colleagues meant that he raised a substantial sum for the UK ‘Kids with Cancer’ charity.
Having achieved his marathon target, Andrew decided to become more active in some of the “sitting sports” that the British have a reputation for being good at! He had always cycled and still enjoys a weekend morning ride but he also learnt to row after seeing GB’s success in the 2012 Olympics. His bad back permitting, he now rows regularly, competing in many “Masters” events, having medalled at the British Masters Championships and, in 2018, having the fabulous experience of rowing in the Vogalonga, a 30km row around Venice and the surrounding islands, with the finishing straight down the Grand Canal. Despite it technically not being a race, his competitive spirit helped his team to finish 3rd out of over 2,000 entries.
Whilst still making time to ski, occasionally play golf and tennis, plus having recently started yoga to help his aching body recover, he says that putting together his sports CV for this blog has made him wonder what the next challenge can be – maybe a triathlon??!
James Whitman (London Office)
James works in the accounting department of the head office in London but whilst he works long hours he says that sport has always been and always will be an important part of his life, since he finds that exercise is the best way to take care of his mental health.
As a child/teenager James played both football and rugby union for his school and local teams. He also gained a black belt in Judo, a sport in which he won the English championships. However, once he started university he turned to boxing, which became his main sport, winning the British University championships on three different occasions and progressing to the semi-finals twice in the largest national annual boxing tournament in England. He also represented English universities in an international tournament in Japan.
Sadly, as could be expected after several years of boxing, injuries started to prevent James from competing in the more physical sports, so he turned his attention to running and cycling, for leisure rather than competition.
During the last 5 years, James has run the Dublin marathon, the London marathon (2018) and completed the famous ‘Marathon Du Medoc’ (a full marathon where runners run through vineyards in Bordeaux drinking red wine) twice. He also cycled from London to Paris in a 1 day challenge last summer and completed the ‘Welsh 3000s’, where the challenge is to reach the summit of the 15 mountain peaks of Snowdonia (in Wales) within 24 hrs.