Ed. note: This post is a part of our continuing blog series featuring our colleagues’ stories. Today, we hear from our very own Armen Vartanian – Manager of our Facilities Project Management Group – who not only spends his days managing the Health and Wellness needs at LinkedIn, but also training for the Olympics. Yesterday, he led Team LinkedIn to a record breaking win at this year’s Bay to Breakers. Here’s Armen… 

Over this past weekend, I got to share my passion for running with my LinkedIn colleagues at the 100th Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. For the second year in a row, we organized a team of elite runners attempting to set a new course record for the “World’s Fastest Centipede”. Not only did we break the course record by 0:40 seconds yesterday, but we also set a world record coming in an official time of 37:00. Even more gratifying was LinkedIn’s strong overall presence, with about 100 employees who registered for the sold-out course.

Running has always been my true passion.

When I joined LinkedIn in the Finance department three years ago, I started training for my ultimate goal: to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games Marathon.

I’m fortunate that I get to pursue my dream while working in a career that’s in line with my passion for the health and wellness industry. When LinkedIn offered me a chance to move from my former Finance role to the Facilities team to start LinkedIn’s Health and Wellness program, I didn’t have to think twice. It was a natural fit, given my athletic background. (I ran Track and Field and Cross Country in high school and college, and I’ve competed professionally in triathlons, marathons and Ironmans). My managers have allowed me to have a flexible schedule, where I can run 15-20 miles a day and still work a full-time gig.

As part of the Health and Wellness program I developed, LinkedIn offers great perks like our on-site gym, boot camp facility and yoga/dance studio. We also have miles of open trails surrounding our Mountain View Headquarters for runners like me who want to build camaraderie while hitting the trails with our colleagues.

The Health and Wellness program has been an amazing success—about 65 percent of LinkedIn Mountain View employees take advantage of free classes like Yoga, Pilates and Zumba, which are offered throughout the day to accommodate their diverse schedules. We also have a unique nutritional program based on metabolic typing.

We take it a step further, by encouraging employees to register for local sports leagues and big events, like the Global Corporate Challenge and Bay to Breakers.

I’ll proudly be wearing my LinkedIn gear when I run the Chicago Marathon this fall. It’s my way of saying thanks to a company that has supported me in pursuing my Olympic dreams while giving me the opportunity to create an employee program around my passions – this speaks volumes about how important employees are to the company.