Paolo Natali of Statoil smiles as he breaks the finish line tape in 17 minutes, 38 seconds to win the 2012 London J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge on July 12.
London celebrates in rain as companies
come together at Corporate Challenge
Popping up an umbrella and smiles, members of Aberdeen Asset Management stop for a group photo at the 2012 London J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
LONDON, July 12, 2012 — The scene and the spirit at the second night of racing in the 26nd annual London J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge was British at its best. Rains that have marked a wet summer — even for England — fell yet again in Battersea Park, but a capacity crowd motored on, with umbrellas and smiles popping up in equal numbers.
Some 13,000 participants from 285 companies braved, or perhaps more accurately, thrived in wet conditions, bringing totals for the two nights of racing to 26,000 entrants from 595 companies. Typical of the reactions on the damp evening were those from Aberdeen Asset Management.
“Although it’s a bit wet tonight, we have a really good turnout despite the weather," said Rich Smith, Portfolio Manager at Aberdeen. "Across the organisation, the Corporate Challenge allows us to bring people together from different departments who would not normally talk to each other, and it also crosses the bounds of seniority, so we have interns, people from our graduate programme, some older people like myself. They are going to run, have a good time, and then it's off to the pub."
A Scottish-based institutional investment business with strengths in emerging markets, global equities, property, and fixed income, Aberdeen's global reach extends to Sydney, Singapore, America and Continental Europe. On this night, 45 of its London office staffers came out to Battersea Park.
"This year we don’t have a marquee, but we have some lovely Aberdeen umbrellas and some great trees of Battersea Park. It’s a very environmentally friendly event this year,” said Smith, his spirits obviously not dampened by the rain.
The second capacity field in two nights of racing starts off in Battersea Park (top). Some 19 minutes, 14 seconds later, Stacey Ward of KMPG won her third J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge title.
The feeling was shared by the race hosts at J.P. Morgan.
“I was delighted to see a great turnout for the London races in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge with nearly 600 organizations entering teams of colleagues enjoying running together and then relaxing afterwards,” said the evening’s host, Greg Guyett, CEO, for the Global Corporate Bank at J.P. Morgan. “Everyone not only keeps fit and healthy, they’re also supporting the work of Barnardo’s with vulnerable children, young people and families.”
Among the hundreds of companies that Guyett surveyed in Battersea Park was one of Great Britain's signature companies, Rolls-Royce.
"This is the only London-based fundraising event in which we enter a team from our corporate headquarters in Buckingham Gate and we’ve been involved with the Challenge now for 14 years," said Jane Leonard, Community Relations Representative for Rolls-Royce, Corporate Headquarters.
"The Challenge gives staff the opportunity to come together as a team after work and to raise money for charity while enjoying some fairly fresh air, general scenery, reasonably healthy exercise and extremely welcome refreshments," Leonard said. "Certainly from my point-of-view, having taken part in the Challenge now for the past six years, it's also good to know each year that I can still get around the course in around 40 minutes without requiring medical assistance."
Joining Leonard and her wit, and the thousands of others who made it through the course, was a touchstone to Britain's Olympic legacy, Steve Cram, the silver medalist at 1,500 meters in the Los Angeles Games. With the start of the London Olympics just two weeks away, Cram was on hand in support of event beneficiary Barnardo's. He ran the event, and came away impressed.
“There were a lot of people running this evening and it was great to see a lot of people just having a go, most of them were running," said Cram. "The conditions were a bit wet, but great for running. There was a great atmosphere out there this evening.”
Up ahead of Cram and Leonard were several runners who, indeed, were thriving in the cool conditions. Paolo Natali of Statoil raced off with the men's individual title, breaking the finish line tape in 17 minutes, 38 seconds. Finishing close behind Natali were Kevin Rojas of Kimberley Clark in 17:46 and Tom Heslop of Citi in 17:56.
Stacey Ward of KMPG easily won the women's individual title in the fast time of 19:14. Jane Evans of Deloitte was second in 19:49, with Hannah Howard of ExxonMobil third in 20:53.
"This is the third time I have run the Corporate Challenge, and I was going for the hat trick this evening, having won it two times previously," she said, adding that this race is special for her. "You get to know your colleagues better, and I am looking forward to sharing a nice beer with them following the run this evening.”
Members of Thomson Reuters share some smiles in Battersea Park.
Camaraderie also was on the minds of runners from Thomson Reuters.
“The race is so popular within Thomson Reuters because it is open to people of all abilities, and people are happy to sign up and come along for the experience of running in a large event with their friends regardless of whether they want to push for a personal best, or just enjoy the experience," said Paul Gravestock, Content Manager, Enterprise Pricing at Thomson Reuters.
"We benefit from people across all our business lines meeting up and taking part as a team, meeting new faces and catching up with old friends from parts of the company that we otherwise do not come in to contact with on a day to day basis,” he added.
Also benefitting for the second year in a row from the capacity turnout — which marked the sixth year in a row that total registrations in London exceeded 25,000 and reached full capacity — was Barnardo's, a not-for-profit that works with disadvantaged children and young people across the U.K. Participating companies have contributed mightily through a special fundraising page and individuals still have the opportunity to make an optional donation to Barnardo’s by texting BARD60, plus the amount of the donation, to 70070.
Emily Howard, Conference and Event Manager at Blackstone was among those happy to be part of an event supporting such a worthwhile beneficiary.
“Blackstone has been involved with the Corporate Challenge for several years, participating in both New York and London," Howard said. "Blackstone employees across the firm have traditionally participated in events like this, giving them an opportunity to get together outside of the work place and meet their peers in a fun and active setting while giving something back to their communities.”
Moody’s Investor Services will also have the opportunity to make a donation to the charity of its choice after winning the T-Shirt competition voting at www.facebook.com/londoncorporatechallenge.
Through the London and Boston races on this night, the 2012 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series has attracted a total of 228,784 total participants this calendar year. With three events remaining (San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney), the Corporate Challenge is virtually assured of topping 250,000 total entrants for the first time in its 36-year history.
The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge takes a summer break before resuming on Wednesday, September 12 in San Francisco.
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at email@example.com