Carly Colbert of Le Moyne College flashes a smile and waves to the crowd as she finishes the 2010 Chase Corporate Challenge at Onondaga Lake Park.
Rain delays, but doesn't detract from,
Syracuse's corporate celebration
Results | Photo Gallery
A happy Kristin White gets wrapped up in her latest victory at the Syracuse Chase Corporate Challenge as she breaks the finish line tape held by Sandy Wolcott of Chase. Below, members of J. R. Clancy join CEO Bob Theis (second from right) in a pre-race salute. (Ken Huth photos)
SYRACUSE, June 22, 2010 – The storm clouds were fast approaching, and the reports of lightning in neighboring towns were foreboding. Delaying the start of the 28th running of the Chase Corporate Challenge was the only safe decision.
Not that very many people in the crowd of 6,791 runners and walkers from 259 Syracuse-area companies were complaining.
“This is just a great time,” said Carly Colbert, company captain for Le Moyne College. “The camaraderie is fantastic. Everybody in the business community is together and enjoying being out here.”
They didn’t have to wait too long. Exactly 72 minutes after the 6:25 p.m. start time, the threat of lightning was gone, the heavy rain had dissipated, and Syracuse’s favorite summer corporate outing was off and running.
Andrew Foxenberg and Kristin White used the delay well. Foxenberg, running for U.S. Materials Handling Corporation, raced to his first Chase Corporate Challenge men’s title, besting Steve Hicks of Upstate Medical University by 13 seconds. White, now a six-time champion from Wegmans, bested Eileen Combs of National Grid by 16 ticks.
Foxenberg’s winning time was 17:28, while White clocked 20:33. The front-of- the-pack athletes were competing with a little extra inspiration; they were hoping to give their companies the inside track for a spot in the 2011 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship. That race – featuring the first place men’s, women’s and mixed teams from all 12 Corporate Challenge cities – will be held in exotic Singapore next spring.
But that competitive angle is only a small part of what the Corporate Challenge is all about. Gaining an edge in the workplace is even more important, as Le Moyne College pointed out.
“We haven’t been out here for a couple of years,” said Colbert. “Le Moyne is a relatively small school, but we play a big part in the academic community. It was important for us to get out there this year and show that we’re here.”
Le Moyne has enjoyed a good year in the national media. Its basketball team shocked the hoop nation when it defeated perennial power Syracuse University in a November exhibition game. Alum (’07) Dan McCarthy participated in golf’s U.S. Open this past weekend and another alum, Tim DeKay, is the lead in a hit USA Network series, “White Collar.”
“We have a lot to be proud of and we wanted to show that pride,” Colbert, who registered 41 of her fellow Dolphins (that is the school nickname; peculiar considering the geographic location, but cute all the same), said. “And it was an entire effort by our staff. Our catering did all our food; our physical plant operations set up our tent. Administration paid for our entry fees and made us cool t-shirts. We all felt special.”
J.R. Clancy, a designer of theatrical rigging equipment, had 37 on the starting line, led by CEO Bob Theis. A runner for 35 years, he wouldn’t miss the Corporate Challenge, and he leads by example with his workforce. His company captain, Amber Furtek, notes that the Corporate Challenge helps define the culture of J.R. Clancy.
“(Theis) practices what he preaches. He tries to get all of us into it,” Furtek told Donnie Webb of the Syracuse Post-Standard. “(The Corporate Challenge) is a great way for the company to do something together as a unit, to come together, to socialize. It’s really one our biggest philosophies – our togetherness.”
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Happy finishers at the 2010 Syracuse Chase Corporate Challenge included men's champion Andrew Foxenberg of U.S. Materials Handling Corp., (left photo) and Mary Smith (3752, right photo) of Onondaga County.
The crowd of 6,791 was more than 10-percent larger than 2009 and the biggest Corporate Challenge crowd in Central New York since 2001. They all did a good thing for the youthful Syracuse workforce. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation made a donation for each entry to CNY Works Youth Services, with the funds being used to create summer job opportunities for young adults. Executive Director Lenore Sealy was on hand representing CNY Works.
Onondaga Lake Park served as a beautiful site and Onondaga County an accommodating host, particularly considering the rainy conditions. It was the first Corporate Challenge for new Parks Commissioner William Lansley. His predecessor, Bob Geraci, was honored post-race for his more than three decades of dedicated work to the parks.
Geraci was at the planning table for every Corporate Challenge between its 1982 debut and 2009. In that time, the race grew from a modest 600 runners to the largest race in Central New York.
That popularity was underscored by the largest companies. Syracuse University led the way with 507 registered entrants, following by Wegmans with 316, Tops Markets with 158, St. Joseph’s Hospital with 146 and the 121 from the Onondaga County Dental Society.