From start to finish, the 2009 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge on July 8 was a great experience for Stacey Ward. In inset photo, she joins Steward Haynes (7382) and Andrew Rayner (7389) of Runners Need in a pre-race start pose. About 19 minutes, 4 seconds later, Ward broke the finish line tape held by British Olympians Colin Jackson (left) and Steve Backley. (Ingrid Abery photos)
Debuts prove to be great runs for champs
at sold-out London Corporate Challenge
| Photo Gallery | July 9 London story
Scenes at Battersea Park on a cool rainy nights included, from top: Priya Chetty of VIP Wednesday (7809) and Claire King of Mercer (5710) reacting after finishing; Tom Nguyen (11909) and Diana Lee (11906) of Pimco Europe, LTD., racing to the finish with smiles; and Lisa Da Silva (4327) company captain of RPS, giving her name to a race spotter after finishing second in 20:07.
LONDON, July 8, 2009 — Stacey Ward was making her J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge debut on a cool, rainy night in Battersea Park. She sure made it count.
The 24-year-old was one of 1,000 Deloitte entrants on the starting line, and the one that delivered the glory. She covered the 5.6-kilometre course in 19:04 to win the women's individual crown by more than a minute and highlight the first night of competition at the 23rd running of this corporate competition.
“I can't believe I won,” Ward said. “I train every day so I hope to get a great time, but it was my first time. I've only been at Deloitte two years and couldn't attend last year. I thought it would be fun, and it was.”
Ward topped a women's field that was loaded with talent. Runner-up Lisa DaSilva of RRS was a solid second in 20:07 and the third through fifth finishers were all in the 2008 top five at this race. Defending champion Lara Bromilow of HSBC was third in 20:32.
A capacity gathering of 12,932 from 319 companies took part, making this the sixth JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series city in 2009 to achieve sold-out status ( Johannesburg, Singapore, New York, Frankfurt and Boston also earned the distinction).
Another Corporate Challenge rookie, Mark Miles of Asics, came close to earning a spot of distinction of his own. His men's winning time of 16:25 was the second fastest time in the Corporate Challenge Series this year, bested only by the 15:59 turned in by Raphael Schäfer from the Ministry of Interior and Sport in Frankfurt, Germany on June 17.
“This race is brilliantly organized and the setting is fantastic,” Miles noted. “I actually run in Battersea Park with my athletics team. I've been training for 15 years and have always enjoyed sports so I was hoping to get a good time. I've also been told I've got to get involved next year and really can't wait.”
In March, Miles (who runs for the Belgrave Harriers) earned the English Half Marathon Championship, running an impressive 64:11. Clearly maintaining his fitness, Miles broke the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge finish tape ahead of game efforts from Marty Cryer of Bank of Ireland (16:55) and Gavin Thomson of Asics (17:12).
The sold-out crowd not only gathered for a night of healthy competition and camaraderie, but also to support a variety of charities. The 300-plus companies had the ability to set up a fundraising page with the ability to select up to six charities. The Corporate Challenge provided special incentives for companies who chose to donate to SportsAid's Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme.
Mark Miles of Asics breaks the finish line tape held by Tim Brabants of SportsAid (left) and Andy Bush of Fortune. Miles won in a time of 16:25.
The potential of the SportsAid program was evident on the start stage. The runners and walkers were sent out onto the leafy course after encouraging remarks by three starry SportsAid alums — Steve Backley, Tim Brabants and Colin Jackson. Backley (javelin) is a former gold medalist at the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games who also earned Olympic silver medals in 1996 and 2000. Jackson (110 metre hurdles) was the silver medalist in the 1988 Summer Olympics and a two-time World Champion. Brabants (sprint canoe) was a three-time Olympic medalist, including gold in the 2008 Games.
Gaining motivation from the Olympians were members of the corner office set — officially, entrants in the Most Senior Executive (MSE) category. Winning MSE's were Patrick McDougal of Nexus Alpha (an impressive 20:27) and Veera Johnson of ProcServe (33:02). For Johnson, it was the continuation of a nice run of personal success. In May she was named “Business Woman of the Year” at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.
“I really am having a great year,” Johnson said. “This is actually one of my first races and I'll definitely do more. The atmosphere is fantastic and it has great social element. My colleagues started running as a fun way to keep fit and asked me to come along. Our team of 12 will be so pleased.”
Antonio Dos Santos, the head of operations for GLG Partners, didn't make it to the winners' circle, but still found the event to be a tangible success.
“This is my fourth year at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge and it's a fantastic event,” Dos Santos said. “It really gives you the opportunity to meet people you've been talking to all year round and cement relationships.
“It's not only fun,” he continued, “but a great networking event. And I trained for several months to smash my time from last year.”
Tudor Capital is building a creative tradition. It won the T-Shirt competition for the second time in three years, earning a donation to the charity of its choice.
Heena Patel of the Bank of New York Mellon finishes ahead of a long line of runners stretched out over the green expanse of Battersea Park.