Andy Greenleaf is all smiles as he breaks the tape to win the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in London on July 9. At right, Emily Adams successfully defends her title, running two seconds faster than in 2008. (Ingrid Abery photos)
Fast-starting strategy wins for Greenleaf;
Adams repeats as women's champion
Results | Photo Gallery | July 8 London story
Peter O'Brien of Beaufort Underwriting Agency (21628) and Alpa Shah of QBE (16485) are two of the sold-out crowd in London that help push total participation in the 2009 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge series over 200,000 for the ninth consecutive year.
LONDON, July 9, 2009 — Andy Greenleaf of Bank of America Merrill Lynch finished ninth at the 2008 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Battersea Park. That, he figured, was a more than respectable effort.
“I train a lot, but usually run longer races,” Greenleaf said.
This year, the 26-year-old decided to take a chance on the 5.6-kilometer course. He took it out fast with the Corporate Challenge veterans from Legal & General, including the 2008 second and third place finishers, Stuart Major and Nick Hodges. The experiment worked.
Greenleaf stunned himself and the field by breaking the tape in 17:22, three seconds ahead of teammate Ben Reynolds, 15 in front of the third-place Major and 37 ticks quicker than fifth-place Hodges.
Greenleaf's effort was the headline-grabber on a comfortably warm second night of racing by the River Thames. The event drew another sold-out crowd: 12,264 hearty participants from 304 companies. Combined over the two nights, the Corporate Challenge drew 25,196 entrants from 623 companies. London joins Johannesburg, Singapore, New York, Frankfurt and Boston as cities that hosted capacity events in the 2009 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series.
With only San Francisco (September 16) remaining on the 2009 Series schedule, the Corporate Challenge will attract over 200,000 total participants for the ninth year in a row.
“I can't believe I came in first,” Greenleaf said. “Last year I had a time of 17:49 and I knew I had to do better. My strategy was to get up front early and hold it.”
Greenleaf was the star performer out of a large Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit and noted that the “social aspect” of the race is what will get him back next year.
Man Group celebrates its victory in the T-Shirt Design Contest.
It was the challenge of defending a title that brought Emily Adams of actuarial firm Punter Southall back to the Corporate Challenge starting line. After logging a 19:52 time to win in 2008, the 24-year-old Adams did herself two seconds better this year (19:50) to top Joanne Ronaldson of Arup (20:13) and Azmera Gebrezgi of Kinetic Partners (20:15).
“I think the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge is such a great event and I was really hoping to win again this year,” Adams said. “My strategy was definitely to keep ahead for the whole race. As well as the run, I also find the event loads of fun.”
Adams, who notes she trains 60 miles per week and has competed at the national level in the 5K, was on the line with 33 of her Punter Southall colleagues and also noted that the camaraderie at the Corporate Challenge is its point of difference from other road races.
The event definitely had a financial flavor with the seven largest companies on this night all coming from financial service institutions, including J.P. Morgan (788 entrants), Goldman Sachs (703), RBS (649), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (451), BNP Paribas (351), Credit Suisse (339) and UBS (291).
All of the companies that took part over the two nights had the opportunity to raise funds for the charities of their choice through collaboration with Charities Trust and the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. Special incentives were provided for companies who chose to donate to SportsAid's Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme.
SportsAid rewarded the efforts of the participants by bringing a pair of Olympic athletes to serve as “official starters.” Leon Taylor, a silver medalist diver from the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and Iwan Thomas, a member of Britain 's 4 x 400 silver medal team in the 1996 Atlanta games, offered encouragement at the start and finish lines.
“The event is a lot bigger than I thought and it's great to see thousands of people of all abilities running,” Taylor said. “It's my first time here and I'll definitely be coming back.”
“I actually received a grant from SportsAid, so I am very happy to support them at this event,” Thomas noted. “I was here last year and the event seems to get bigger and better each year. I'm sure it will keep going from strength to strength.”
The Olympians were also on the award stage, which thrilled the Most Senior Executive winners — Robert Newbould (22:05) of Petro-Canada UK and Joscelin Conrad (41:00) of Tate — along with The Man Group, the company that was judged to have the most creative t-shirt of the evening.
Starting fast, with eventual men's champion Andy Greenleaf second from the left.