Phil Wicks (in yellow shirt in center of photo) displays a classic running style as he begins a 2010 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge run on July 8 that would bring him his third individual title at London, this one in an excellent time of 16:21.
Wicks returns with impressive victory;
sets sights on Championship
Susanna Pitts of Liquid Capital, winner of the American Airlines Company Captain drawing, receives vouchers for two American Airlines' roundtrip flights to anywhere in the U.S. and the Caribbean from Nick Harmon of American Airlines (left). Also pictured are Bruce Bettencourt of J.P. Morgan (second from left), and Matthew Samwell of Tiffany (right). Photos: Ingrid Abery
LONDON, July 8, 2010 – One of the fastest runners in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series is back, and in top form.
Phil Wicks of Legal & General – a two-time top-five finisher at the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship – blew away a sold-out crowd at Battersea Park, posting a time of 16:21 for his third J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge victory in London.
Wicks had posted splendid times of 16:11 and 16:17 respectively in winning the London individual men’s title in 2007 and 2008 respectively. He did not take part in 2009 due to a conflict with the United Kingdom’s national track and field championships.
“It was a shame because the races last year were on a Wednesday and Thursday and I was scheduled to compete in the 10K on that Friday,” Wicks said. “Still, I made sure I came to the Corporate Challenge to support the other Legal & General runners.”
This time he supported them from the front of the pack. Wicks’ impressive effort could give Legal & General a leg up in qualifying for a berth in the next JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship, to be held in the spring of 2011 in Singapore.
“It would be absolutely fantastic to represent Legal & General with my colleagues in Singapore,” Wicks said. “I have never raced in Asia, and it would be so meaningful to get back to a Championship and proudly race for a company that has been so supportive of my running.”
A full-time pensions consultant at Legal & General, Wicks finished 5th (2007) and 3rd (2008) in his previous two JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship efforts, both in New York City. He was the first male runner from outside of South Africa in both of those events.
Racing in Singapore, Wicks related, would add to a rather ambitious, joyous itinerary he has lined up for the near future. He will be marrying fiancé Emily Adams – a two-time Corporate Challenge champ herself – in August, then will be competing in his first marathon in October. The move up in distance is part of a long-term plan that Wicks hopes culminates in him competing for England in the 2012 Olympic Marathon, on his home turf.
With the clock reading 19:24, one second slower than her official time, Svenja Abel of Runners Need breaks the finish line tape held by Margherita Taylor, representing Help a London Child, and Matthew Samwell of Tiffany.
“It’s a dream of mine,” he said. “That’s why I’m training every day in the early morning, seven days a week. But the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge has its own special place also because of what it means to Legal & General. We have been fortunate to qualify for several Championships, and to get to Singapore would be very special for us as a company.”
The men’s runner-up was James McMullan of KPMG in 17:18. McMullan’s time would have been good enough to win the Tuesday night race in Battersea Park.
On the women’s side, Svenja Abel of running specialty store Runners Need earned her first J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge individual crown, covering the 5.6km course in 19:23. She led from start to finish, besting runner-up Hayley Beard of Pepsi Co. and third-place finisher Lisa Da Silva of RPS by a significant margin.
While Abel doesn’t have the on-course experience with the Corporate Challenge of Wicks, she was very much aware of the event.
“I came last year to watch and I thought, ‘Wow, what a cool event’,” Abel said. “I have never been with a company that had run before, so when I got the job at Runners Need this year, I made sure I entered.”
A retail sales assistant at Runners Need’s Liverpool Street store, Abel is a native of Germany and aspires to return home one day and represent her country in national competitions.
“But, for now, I love it here in London,” she said. “I’m part of a strong running community. And this was a fantastic event with a remarkable atmosphere.”
With idyllic weather to boot. It was 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) at race time and the sold-out crowd lingered in the hospitality areas long after the final finisher, enjoying a creative summer outing.
The total number of participants over the two nights on the edge of the River Thames was 25,433 from 622 companies. The largest outfits on this night were Deloitte (an even 1,000 runners and walkers), Morgan Stanley (708), Goldman Sachs (701), HSBC Group (554), and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (434).
London maintained a year-long trend of growth within the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, now in its 34th consecutive year of operation. Total participation at 10 events held to date in 2010 is up more than 11-percent over a comparable period in 2009, with each race enjoying an increase in total participation.
One item that is popular with the burgeoning crowds is the Corporate Challenge philanthropic effort. The two nights of fitness and camaraderie in Battersea Park helped provide support to 95.8 Capital FM’s Help a London Child. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation made a donation to the not-for-profit organization, with many of the entrants contributing in advance via online donations.
Help a London Child was founded in 1975 by Lord Attenborough CBE, as 95.8 Capital FM’s charity, to assist and give opportunities to thousands of London’s children and young people experiencing abuse, homelessness, disability, poverty and illness. Entrants who would like to commemorate their Corporate Challenge participation can still contribute by visiting www.justgiving.com/jpmorgancc.
Members of Torus Insurance celebrate their victory in the T-Shirt Design Contest.
Torus Insurance – a worldwide provider of property, casualty and specialty insurance – designed a t-shirt with the objective of raising awareness of the event’s fundraising effort. Each of Torus’ 23 entrants had a t-shirt emblazoned with a “We’re in it for the money…for charity” slogan. On the back of the t-shirt, cleverly, was the signature of the individual participant.
“What better way to pledge their commitment to the team and the cause than to sign on the dotted line...on their t-shirts!” explained team captain Laura Molloy. “We all ‘signed up’ to support the RNLI and a charity close to one of the Trotter’s hearts, Thatu, as well as the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge chosen charity, Help a London Child.”
That creative flair was why Torus was selected as the winner of the T-shirt competition. It earned a $1,000 donation from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to donate to the charity of its choice.
Torus also looks at the Corporate Challenge as the perfect opportunity to bring together its burgeoning workforce.
“Torus was only launched in June 2008 but we’ve entered the JP Morgan Chase Challenge from the start, so this is our third year,” Molloy said. “Our very first team consisted of eight Trotters. Now we are 23 and will continue to grow – especially as that means wearing an award winning t-shirt!”
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at email@example.com)