Three Hiller Athletes Conquer Zafiro Palma Marathon

Three Hiller athletes from Mobile participated in the Zafiro Palma Marathon in Palma, Spain on October 10 courtesy of Hiller’s parent company, Pon. Pon encourages fun and fitness through their Pon Fit program, and employees often have the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in international events. We caught up with Kristen Miller, Marcus Porter and Ward Faulk upon their return from Spain to see what their experiences were like. Kristen ran the half marathon and Marcus and Ward ran the full event. We are proud of both of them for tackling this endeavor and seizing the opportunity for international travel!

What was your favorite part of the trip?

Kristen – Surprisingly enough the race itself. After a few days of meeting everyone (the rest of the Pon participants), there was such an electric feeling when you passed one of them on the course. People I hardly knew would give me this big smile, wave and maybe an encouraging word and it would just light me up. Then seeing my husband at the finish line right next to the Pon Fit crew cheering gave me this feeling of honor and pride. In that moment, I had accomplished something I never thought I could and had more support than I could ever wish to have.

Marcus – My favorite part of the trip was getting to meet more of my foreign colleagues and learn about what they do for Pon.

Ward – Tough question – As was Amsterdam in 2019, it was awesome! I really enjoy spending time with my PON co-workers and getting to know new people. Pon is a wonderful host to not only put this together but to take us to some unique places to eat and spend time with the other Pon attendees. After the event, I did enjoy handful of days exploring other parts of the island and learning more history of the area.

What is the best thing you got to see/do?

Kristen – That is a hard one! Walking through the Catedral-Basilica de Santa Maria de Mallorca and Basilica de la Sagrada Familia with my husband was a breathtaking experience. But the best thing I got to do was have dinner at the Santuari de Cura the first night with the whole Pon group. The 14th-century monastery was at the very top of a mountain overlooking the whole island. As the sun went down, I got to try new foods, listen to a wonderful little band and interact with people from different countries. I’m usually shy but Ward and Marcus encouraged me to embrace the moment, and it turned into the start of a wonderful trip of learning about others’ culture and life experiences. 

Marcus – The Chapel in Palma was tough to beat. It was an amazing place to finish a race of that caliber.

Ward – The overall experience – interacting and spending time with my co-workers from all over the world is really a great experience. I will keep up with many of them in work and outside of work. And while we all challenge ourselves to do our best in a physically challenging race, doing it together is just fantastic.

What are your thoughts on going on this trip through Hiller sponsorship?

Kristen – To be honest, on the flight over to Mallorca, all I could think was: what have I done to deserve this? Hiller gave me so much support it was overwhelming. There are very few people who would get an opportunity like this from their company. And even fewer that have the support of every single person at his or her company.

Marcus – Representing Hiller is something that our employees take very seriously, even when it falls into the “Make it Fun” category of Pon’s core values.  The variety of PON companies and personnel that were present gives us, as Hiller employees, an opportunity to showcase our professionalism and passion to perform to our foreign colleagues.  Professional presence and a willingness to approach colleagues with an open mind is a major part of these events.  Pon wants its employees to not only meet and have fun, but to brainstorm and find ways that we can work together through these new relationships to benefit everyone associated with Pon in the future.

Ward – I am 100% for it. I have believed strongly that a physically fit body leads to a healthier mind and life, which makes a happier and stronger employee. I have been pushing along for fellow Hiller co-workers to join the triathlon team. But a better fit would be for Hiller and Pon to work together and expand the “Pon Fit” to a stronger presence in North America. Marcus and I have been talking about this for a while and had the opportunity to talk to Rogier Kuiper and many other Pon members who all would love to come to the states to do marathon or some kind of race.