STAMFORD, Conn. - BUSINESS WIRE) - Jul. 25, 2012 - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced that its CEO, Frits van Paasschen, together with 25 other Starwood executives and associates, will participate in the company’s fifth annual Road to Awareness bike ride challenge. Launched in 2008, the Road to Awareness campaign has raised nearly US$1.6 million for UNICEF and includes fundraising initiatives by Starwood hotel associates across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The Starwood team will follow a training regimen developed by Sheraton Fitness partner, Mark Verstegen, founder of Athlete’s Performance and Core Performance, a world-renowned leader in professional athletic training, nutrition and physical therapy, whose methodology drives the Sheraton Fitness Programmed by Core Performance offering available at Sheraton properties globally. The cyclists will start the rigorous four-day bike ride in Chamonix on August 17th and will travel 354 miles to Monte Carlo, including some of the most challenging, high-altitude climbs from the Tour de France.
“As Starwood’s largest brand, Sheraton is proud to support the Starwood cycling team as they prepare to undertake one of the most challenging bike rides in the history of this campaign,” said Hoyt Harper, Global Brand Leader, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “Sheraton Fitness partner, Mark Verstegen, will leverage his years of experience training Olympic athletes, as well as NFL and NBA players, to prepare the Starwood team for this grueling ride, which will raise funds for a worthy cause.”
Verstegen visited members of the cycling team, including senior executives and hotel associates from across Starwood’s Europe, Africa and Middle East region, last month to assess their progress and conduct an in-person extensive training session. Moving forward, team members will follow a weekly training regimen developed by Verstegen to support their race preparation. With one month to go before the ride, team members are riding 186 miles per week and will augment their training with effective fueling strategies, active recovery techniques, and efficient and effective targeted training plans to prepare for the ride, which includes several steep climbs at high elevations.
This year’s Road to Awareness campaign will raise money for the UNICEF Early Childhood Care and Education program in Ethiopia, which aims to provide preschool education to the most disadvantaged children in rural communities. Funds raised by Starwood will contribute to the construction of 10 preschools, provide preschool education for up to 50,000 children aged six and enable UNICEF to train 10,000 young instructors to aid their learning.
“We believe that every child has the right to go to school. That is why, together with UNICEF, we have chosen to focus on providing children in need with access to education. We are convinced that for these children education is the door that opens opportunities and will enable them to become fully independent members of society,” Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts for Europe, Africa & Middle East says. “I am proud of our enthusiastic hotel teams, cyclists and supportive partners that all rally behind the idea of making a difference to the lives of children in Ethiopia.”
In 2011, Starwood raised over US$600,000 through the Road to Awareness campaign to help support UNICEF projects in Romania and Pakistan, directly benefiting approximately 150 schools in these two countries.
“UNICEF is incredibly proud of our long and successful partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Together, we are achieving phenomenal results for children,” said UNICEF UK Director and Chief Executive David Bull. “For more than 16 years, our partnership has served as a strong and unique example of our shared values and commitment to creating a world fit for children.”
In addition to the Road to Awareness associate fundraising campaign, Starwood continues its on-going guest fundraising efforts for UNICEF through the Check Out for Children program, which launched in 1995. It is a partnership between Starwood Hotels & Resorts and UNICEF whereby guests at participating Starwood hotels agree to the addition of US$1 (or local currency equivalent) to their bills when they check out. Last year, the Check Out for Children program celebrated a remarkable milestone with US$25 million raised through guest donations for children since the launch of the program.
To learn more about the Road to Awareness and make a donation please visit www.roadtoawareness.com.
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit www.UNICEF.org.uk
Mark Verstegen is the Founder of Core Performance, an industry leader in the wellness field, and Athletes’ Performance, the global leader in performance training, nutrition, and physical therapy for elite athletes and teams. In addition to his roles at Athletes’ Performance and Core Performance, Mark is the Director of Performance for the NFL Players’ Association and the author of five Core Performance books, including Core Performance Essentials and Core Performance Golf. Mark is featured regularly in Men’s Health and Outside Magazine, and speaks regularly internationally about helping executives, athletes, and consumers alike achieve their performance goals. Under Mark’s leadership, Athletes’ Performance has trained some to today’s top athletes including major champions in basketball, hockey, tennis, and golf. For more information please visit www.sheratonfitness.com.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1103 properties in 100 countries and territories with 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
Source: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
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