Who is Annie Ross?
Me. I am the mind and energy behind this all. I had the crazy idea to commit to 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks while working in banking - it turned out to be a career defining decision - made one sleepless night trying to figure out how I could make the next year better than the last. The video on this page gives a flavour of the success of that - it was a year like no other!
The 52 challenges in 52 weeks happened in 2015. A lot happened that year. Good and bad. The bad I share behind closed doors - I sometimes find myself talking about it in interviews, on podcasts or in my talks…but I never quite know when. The good was that I became a health & fitness columnist for the Evening Standard Online, completed the challenges, kept my job and met a whole host of incredible people.
I left banking in 2016, flying off to work in Colombia, Nepal and Mexico on sports events and active travel journalism (the dream!). Now back in the UK, I work full time helping people find their fun in staying active through awesome team challenges - namely Team52, writing and a few other cool projects too!
Follow me with my attempts at keeping you updated on social media.
What is (was) Exerk?
Exerk is the name of the project that started it all, the “Exerk 52in52” …Exercise + work…Exerk…get it? 52in52 because it was the structure I needed: 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks. Bitesizing a massive goal, one step/ week/ challenge at a time. Nothing grand. Just mini adventures, little and often.
My favourite bits were
1. That over 450 people joined me over the year
2. The charity I was supporting, Sported, did their own 52in52 between the 20 or so of them (the very first Team52!!)
3. The range of challenges meant we could do anything we wanted to: from 5km swims and triathlons to mountain biking, circle line running relays, backwards triathlons, hulahooping and roller blading
The name, Exerk, has stuck but really Exerk is just “Annie Ross” and everything I stand for - it tells the journey of exercise and work, and how my obsession with fitting exercise around work, has meant that it now is my work (and pretty awesome it is too!)
Why do you what you do?
If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to share the joy of being outdoors and active. So that’s what I do, in the best way I know how.
I dedicate my time and energy to this mission knowing that, while there may be more important things in life, staying active is a great place to start. For habit formation, mood improvement, social relationships, quality family time, work efficiency, feeling drive and purpose, managing stress and anxiety and being able to move the way you want to, I think light-hearted and fun sporting challenges are the bees knees.
Fitting exercise into our lives can be tough. Our good intentions fall away at the smallest obstacle...the push of a lift button, a friend cancelling, a dark rainy morning or hitting snooze on your alarm.
The guilt, disappointment and focus on aesthetic so often found in the fitness space is excluding people. Instead, I do what I do - sharing the joy of being outdoors and active through awesome team-building sporting challenges - because it brings people together, with smiles on their faces, for the benefit of the individual (who usually surprises themselves at the things they can do) and the community (who get to know each other in a different context and meet new people they connect with).
We won’t always be able to take the stairs, cycle through a forest, walk to the top of a hill nor run along a river path. For that reason, I encourage everyone to celebrate movement in their own way - opt for the more active route when given a choice, explore with friends, spend time in nature, breathe fresh air and stay curious about the world around…a bit like we did as children. Our mind and bodies feel better for it, and the people around us benefit as a result.
Exerk in the media
Click on the images to watch or read more