From left: Ross Lewis, CEO of race beneficiary Oncology Children's Foundation, accepts a donation from Rob Priestley, Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Australia/New Zealand, as Jared Crouch of TeamSwans looks on.
Record crowd in Sydney helps launch
'08 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge
Results | Photo Gallery
Claire Hatton-Brown flexes her muscles and she and members of KPMG share a light moment before the race. (Phil Carrick Photography)
SYDNEY, November 14, 2007 – A record crowd at Centennial Park produced two first-time champions as the 2008 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series got underway in Sydney.
The annual celebration of corporate fitness and team camaraderie drew 7,678 entrants from 344 companies, easily besting the previous record for participation – 6,921 in 2005. The event debuted Down Under in November, 2000.
Among the attendees was Jared Crouch of the Australian Football League's TeamSwans. “Crouchie” and his Swans teammates are beginning training for their season, and the Corporate Challenge was a perfect spot to get some inspiration.
“It's fantastic to see so many people out running,” Crouch said. “This event shows great team work.”
Crouch knows a little about endurance and athleticism. He played in 194 consecutive games from his debut, an AFL record. So he had to be impressed by the speed at the front of the pack from Ben St. Lawrence of Good Health Solutions and Jo Rankin of Calvary Health Care.
St. Lawrence, making his JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge debut, earned the men's individual title in a time of 16:38. He bested perennial top five finisher Charlie Low of McGrathNicol + Partners, who placed an impressive second in 17:35.
“I train here at Centennial Park three-to-four times a week, so I felt comfortable in my surroundings,” St. Lawrence said. “I'm off to race in Japan this weekend in a relay event so hopefully I can be as successful as I was here.”
Rankin knows the Corporate Challenge well. She finished fifth in Sydney in 2004, helping earn her Calvary Health Care team a spot in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship in New York. Calvary has a leg up on qualifying again after Rankin earned the women's individual title and teammates Renee Fortunato and Jeremey Horne were fifth in the women's and men's divisions respectively.
“It was great being back here again,” said Rankin. “It was a tough race today with a strong field and warm weather, but I was really happy with my performance. It would be great to go back to New York for the Championship.”
UBS set the pace, numbers-wise, with 168 total participants, one of six companies – including Railcorp, Rabobank, KPMG, Perpetual, MacQuarie BSG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers – to enter more than 100. And every participant gave back to the community as JPMorgan made a donation for each entry to the Oncology Children's Foundation (OCF). OCF is a not-for-profit children's charity dedicated to helping sick and critically ill children suffering from cancer, leukemia and other serious, cancer-related illness.
OCF is an official charity of TeamSwans and Crouch's presence at the event added an extra air of excitement. During the post-race awards ceremony he booted footballs in the crowd, with the competition to retrieve them as intense as what was seen on the race course.
Jo Rankin of Calvary Health Care easily wins the female individual title, breaking the tape held by Catherine Freeman of Tiffany & Co., and Jenny Clarke (not pictured) of KPMG in 21:21.
“Events such as these and working with TeamSwans has allowed us to get in touch with children in schools and provide educational programs to promote healthy choices and healthy living,” Ross Lewis, CEO of the Oncology Children's Foundation, said. “We are really humbled to have the opportunity to work with JPMorgan and be involved with the Corporate Challenge.”
Mike Foster of Telstra (19:45) and Alexandra Goodfellow (35:05) from Heidrick & Struggles earned the men's and women's Most Senior Executive titles. One of the unique elements of the Corporate Challenge is that it attracts all levels of employees and the companies range from Sydney 's largest corporations to entrepreneurial businesses and government agencies.
For instance, Judith Fergin, US Consul General in Sydney, was on the starting line with 16 of her teammates, all decked out in USA hats and bandanas. It was the Consulate General's first Corporate Challenge and they promised to have an even bigger team in 2008.
That's not surprising to Rod Pearse of Future Plus Financial Services. He's taken part in every Corporate Challenge in Sydney and his enthusiasm has not waned.
“I have always enjoyed the camaraderie of this event, I've had a strong connection with it,” Pearse said. “It is definitely an event that I will continue to be associated with.”
Among the fast racers, the joggers and the walkers were also some creative designers. De Lage Landen, Railcorp and Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation were the winners of the T-Shirt competition and each will receive a donation from JPMorgan Chase to designate to a charity of their choice.
This was the first race of the 2008 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, the 32 nd consecutive year for the Series. It will be held in 12 cities in six countries on five continents, and Sydney got it all off to a fast start.
“This event is very important to us at JPMorgan, it's a chance for everyone to come together,” said Rob Priestley, Chief Executive Officer for JPMorgan Australia and New Zealand. “The eyes of the corporate world were on Sydney for this race and we didn't disappoint.”
The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge resumes on March 6 with the fifth annual race in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A trio of ING runners warms up for the Sydney JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in front of the team's hospitality area.
ING gears up to join fellow Sydney companies
in the running at Nov. 14 Corporate Challenge
ING at the Championship
|ING has participated in every Sydney JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, and has qualified three times to represent Australia at the Series Championship in New York. In the top photo, an ING runner trades his jacket for one from the winning Male team from South Africa's Transwerk. In the middle photo, ING Company Captain Richard High holds the Australian flag in pre-race ceremonies. In the lower photo, ING's Female team poses for a pre-race photo on Park Avenue.
SYDNEY, October 18, 2007 – As the Health and Wellbeing Manager for ING Australia in Sydney, Richard High knew a good thing was coming to his city when he learned that the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge was going to debut Down Under in 2000.
Fast forward to the present, and High not only has competed in every Sydney JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, he also has seen enthusiasm for the event grow markedly at ING.
“Over the years,” he said, “the team has grown from 25 runners to over 100. This year, we are expecting around 120.”
The ING runners will join a festive crowd in Sydney 's Centennial Park on 14 November in an event that will benefit the Oncology Children's Foundation (OCF), a not-for-profit children's charity dedicated to helping sick and critically ill children suffering from cancer, leukaemia and other serious, cancer-related illness.
For High and others in the Sydney business community, the event is important for several reasons.
“We are always looking at ways in which to encourage staff to exercise,” said High. “This event is a great way for staff to exercise, meet fellow colleagues from across the business, as well as network with contacts at other companies in an environment away from work.”
For High, it is an event he, and many of his colleagues, would not dream of missing, and for many more reasons than the opportunity to run/walk 5.6 km in Centennial Park.
“My best memories of the event through the years are catching up with fellow runners after the event,” he said. “Having a bite to eat, a few cold beers, and swapping stories of how you went is a great way to finish a day at work. Plus, there is always a great atmosphere in Centennial Park on race night.”
Like many of the leading Sydney companies that will be fielding teams in the November Sydney race, ING provides a focal point for the out-of-the-office camaraderie by having a marquee, food and drinks after the race. It's part of a commitment to the Corporate Challenge that begins at the top, with ING Australia CEO Paul Bedbrook.
“At ING, we have an in-house gym, and this is how we encourage participation and organise training sessions,” said High.
Those training sessions include a “fortnightly 6 km corporate challenge around the Sydney Botanic Gardens, as well as another session or two together,” said High. “At these sessions, there can be anywhere between two through 25 staff training. We are all training well and gearing up for the race in November.”
The company support and training sessions have helped build an enviable Corporate Challenge record for ING Australia that includes competing three times in the Series Championship on New York's Park Avenue against the best corporate runners from five continents.
“I know that all of us from ING who have been over have loved the Championship weekend,” High said. “JPMorgan Chase do an amazing job in putting on the event and I look back on all three occasions with nothing but good memories.
“You get to meet other runners from around the world, some of whom compete on the world stage such as the Olympics. To be running in the same race as them is a fantastic experience and certainly leaves you appreciating how fast they can run!”
The first step for ING in the possible journey back to New York comes in November at Sydney. It's a step High, and many others, can't wait to take.