Sun shines on championship couple,
Phil Wicks, in yellow/red jersey at left,started out fast and kept going to win the July 10 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in London in a blazing 16:16. He was soon joined in the winner's circle by girlfriend Emily Adams (inset photo with Tiffany championship awards), who won the female title in 19:51. Photos by Ingrid Abery.
second London race in Battersea Park
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LONDON, July 10, 2008 — An evening after rain fell in Battersea Park, love bloomed in the winners' circle.
Indira Ragbir (18705) of Steamship Mutual and Iman Asante (25531) of NS&I share smiles in the post-race refreshment line.
Phil Wicks of Legal & General and Emily Adams, representing financial management firm Punter Southall, were the men's and women's individual champions on the second night of the 22nd annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge. And it was a more poignant awards ceremony than normal.
Wicks and Adams are an item, having been together for nearly 2 ½ years. Yet this is the first time they have won a running event together.
“It's my first time running here and I was very pleased to win,” Adams said. “Phil had told me to expect a lot of people and a great course, and it was a special night.”
And, as it turns out, a meaningful training run for Adams, who will compete in the 5K this weekend at the Great Britain Olympic Trials. The 23-year-old Adams admitted “she kept it relaxed” in the Corporate Challenge to preserve some energy for the track, but she still was able to run a superb 19:51, topping second-place finisher Rona Loubser of Swiss RE by 50 seconds.
The sun was shining brightly at the starting line for a sold-out crowd of 13,000 runners and walkers from 308 companies, and Wicks took control from the first step. He broke the tape in 16:16 — the second-fastest winning time in this year's JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, trailing only the 16:03 posted by Todd Ptacek of General Electric in Chicago on May 22.
“This is my first proper race back after suffering a (left knee) injury at the world cross country championships (in Edinburgh this past March),” Wicks noted. “I went out really hard to see where I was fitness wise.”
He is fit. Wicks' winning time was only five seconds slower than the 16:11 he clocked in the 2007 Corporate Challenge. His winning margin of 89 seconds over teammate Stuart Major is the largest in the Series this year.
“I'm use to running alone in my training, and I was pushing it also because I want to get my team to New York so I can take a shot at winning the (Corporate Challenge) Championship,” Wicks said.
The 24-year-old can book his ticket. The first three male runners were from Legal & General, including third-place finisher Nick Hodges (17:47). They will be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Apple.
Hopefully the racing conditions that October morning will resemble those on this night hard by the River Thames. While the Wednesday racers had to deal with heavy rain throughout, sun splashed throughout the site on this evening and showed Battersea Park in its full beauty.
Duncan Holmes from real estate investment management firm Prupim was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the Corporate Challenge's 2008 theme — Teaming Up For A Greener Tomorrow. He stressed that the event's environmental focus was a big reason why he and his colleagues entered.
Dressed in a tiger outfit, Floyd MacDonald of ANZ waves during his race in Battersea Park.
“Prupim is one of the leading property companies behind green issues and sustainability,” Holmes said. “It is very important to us as a firm to be seen within buildings promoting sustainability. We promote it as much as we can.”
The winning company in the creative t-shirt company, QBE Insurance, submitted a design that had the silhouettes of runners forming the universal recycling logo.
“We thought it would be a smart design because not only is greening important to us, but coming together as a company and pooling our resources toward something healthy,” said QBE company captain Julie Pringle.
Tori Britten, part of the strategy team at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), had a different motivation for her participation.
“I have my boss here, and we had a little bit of banter going on,” Britten said. “I think I beat him, so I'm pretty pleased about that.”
Britten and her colleagues also used the Corporate Challenge as a platform for their own marketing efforts.
“ABN is integrating with RBS now and on our t-shirt we have a little ABN and a little RBS,” Britten said. “This is the first event we have done as two banks so it is ideal really. It's good fun, everybody joining together.”
The companies all ran for a good cause as the JPMorgan Chase Foundation made a donation for each entry to SportsAid, specifically the organization's Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), which provides aspiring world-class British athletes with financial and coaching support. Two SportsAid alums — Iwan Thomas, who won a silver medal in the 4 x 400 at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games; and swimmer Sharron Davies, a silver medalist at the 1980 Moscow Games — were there to provide inspirational support to the entrants.
And Dorthe Hansen, a geoscientist at Statoil, beamed post-race like she had just won a medal at Olympus.
“I ran 34 minutes last year and dropped it down to 27 this time,” she said. “I'm thrilled about that, and also that so many of my colleagues were here. We work on different floors, so it is nice to come down here together, have a nice run, and then some barbecue in the marquee.”