LinkedIn and Their World Record Centipede Team are Back!


LinkedIn is back as a corporate sponsor for the 101st running of the historic Bay to Breakers. This is the 3rd consecutive year that LinkedIn has been a sponsor and will be LinkedIn's largest showing to date. LinkedIn will have over 200 participants and volunteers as well as another showing by the two-time defending champion, world record-setting centipede team, led by LinkedIn employee Armen Vartanian.

The employee sign-up is managed and promoted through LinkedIn's global Health and Wellness program. Michael Susi, who runs the program summarizes why Bay to Breakers is included. "One of the goals of our Health and Wellness program is to remove as many barriers to participation in physical activities as possible. Along with that, having a common event with co-workers allows for team building and camaraderie. Bay to Breakers is an event that our employees look forward to every year." LinkedIn's global Health and Wellness program offers onsite classes from InShape (a bootcamp-style class) to yoga, TRX and meditation sessions. The program extends to all of its global offices and they recently opened a new gym at its Mountain View headquarters where employees can be led through circuit training by in-person trainers and virtual trainers via a television kiosk system.

The LinkedIn centipede team consists of 13 elite runners with almost all being aspiring Olympians that plan to run faster than previous years and compete with open field elites. That means a new world record is the goal of this year's LinkedIn centipede.

Some of the featured athletes that will be comprising the LinkedIn centipede are:

Charlie Serrano - Charlie has qualified for the US Olympic trials in the marathon. Charlie's personal record of 28:30 in the 10k make him an Olympic hopeful in that event.

Mike Sayenko - Mike has qualified for the US Olympic trials in the marathon. Mike represented the US at World Championships in the marathon in 2011.

Giliat Ghebray - Giliat has qualified for the US Olympic trials in the marathon. Giliat's personal best in the half-marathon is 63 minutes.

Yosef Ghebray - Yosef is an elite runner with a personal record of 13:30 in the 5k.

Stephen Shay - Stephen has qualified for the US Olympic trials in the marathon.

Bolota Asmeron - Bolota competed in the 2000 Olympics in the 5k and is a 2012 Olympic hopeful in the same event.

Chris Chavez - Chris has qualified for the US Olympic trials in the marathon.

Armen Vartanian - Armen is an elite runner and Olympic hopeful in the marathon representing Armenia.

Jimmy Grabow - Jimmy is elite runner and Olympic trial qualifier where he finished 10th in this year's US Trials with a time of 2:12.

Some of the athletes were recently asked why they run in the centipede. Mike Sayenko said, "It adds that team atmosphere that I missed so much from college back into the mix. Also, it takes the pressure off and you can just have fun, since you're at a crazy, fun, wacky race... strung down by a bungee cord." Chris Chavez also agrees, but also added, jokingly, "Sometimes you have to face the music and realize that the world records in your reach are limited. Seriously, how else am I going to be a world record holder? Oh, and something about being on a team..."

They also enjoy the atmosphere of the event. "Everyone is enjoying themselves and you get to see some pretty interesting people and costumes," said Mike.

Chris also notes, "Last year we were picking off elites as we went through the park. These are guys that we see at top-tier races across the country and whom I rarely beat on my own, but the power of the centipede was so strong that we were able to push ourselves past them by working together. That was a ton of fun."

Everyone on the team is agreement. Charlie Serrano said it best: "The centipede is one of those few instances where true teamwork is involved and you're not out there just running for yourself."

In addition to their accomplishments on the track and the road, Charlie and Mike also combined their artistic abilities to design this year's Centipedes uniforms and employee running shirts.

Needless to say, everyone participating in and watching this year's race, is excited to see what this band of elite athletes will accomplish!