Runners stretch out in a long line along the Huangpu River in Shanghai (top photo), which had its debut in 2011. In Singapore (left photo in bottom row) more than 13,000 entrants filled the race to capacity. Frankfurt (right photo in bottom row) also reached capacity with 68,454 entrants. And, in San Francisco, a record crowd joined a happy Sherilyn Adams, Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services, and Peter Engel, Vice Chairman and Head of Investment Banking for the Western United States, J.P. Morgan, at the starting line (center photo in bottom row).
With Sydney's registration complete,
Corporate Challenge toasts record year
SYDNEY, November 3, 2011 — Now entering its stretch run, the 2011 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series has set a record-breaking trail, announcing today that the world's most popular corporate running Series has shattered records for participation.
With the close of registration for the Series' last race in 2011 — Sydney's 3.5-mile event on November 9 — officials announced that this year's Corporate Challenge races attracted 248,168 entries from 8,176 companies. Both are records. The total entries surpass the previous high of 242,326 in 2008. And the number of companies participating exceeds the former record of 7,886, established in 2010.
Reaching nearly a quarter of a million corporate workers around the globe is a far cry from the Series' humble start in 1977, when 200 runners from 50 companies gathered in New York City's Central Park for the inaugural race in what then was called the Manufacturers Hanover Corporate Challenge®. And, it is a bellwether endorsement of the philosophies that launched the Series 35 years ago and remain central to its success today - promoting fitness and camaraderie in the corporate workplace.
In 2011, the Corporate Challenge continued its trend of adding events in key global financial markets by expanding into China in October with the inaugural edition of an enthusiastically received race in bustling Shanghai. Some 3,888 entrants — the third highest figure ever for a debut race — participated in Shanghai. But, even without the addition of Shanghai, this year's Series would have broken the previous records for participation and companies entered.
Now in 13 cities in seven countries, the Corporate Challenge featured seven races that reached full capacity — Johannesburg, Singapore, Chicago, Frankfurt, New York, Boston, and London. In addition, entries in Singapore and San Francisco surged to record levels.
Across the globe, the reaction to the Series this year was as positive as the record numbers.
Runners are excited to get started in Johannesburg, one of seven races that reached full capacity in 2011.
“Personally, I’ve participated in five different Corporate Challenge cities as a runner over the years,” said Don McCree, Global Chief Executive Officer, Treasury Services for J.P. Morgan, a finish line tape holder for the Shanghai race on October 20. “So I can say from experience that this is a magical night for us at J.P. Morgan to be able to share something that is very special to us from a global perspective with the China marketplace.”
In Frankfurt, which has earned the title as the world's largest running event in several years recently and this year attracted 68,454 entrants from 2,742 companies across Germany, Dr. Karl-Georg Altenburg, CEO Germany /Austria /Switzerland for J.P. Morgan, saluted the team-building nature of the race.
“It works in the German culture so well because of the emphasis on team and doing something successful and fun together,” he said. “It’s become a phenomenon.”
After a gorgeous night of fitness and fun on the San Francisco waterfront that attracted 8,747 participants from 333 firms, Peter Engel, Vice Chairman and Head of Investment Banking for the Western United States, J.P. Morgan, reflected on just how far his city's event had come.
"It couldn't be better," said Engel. "I guess we waited 27 years to get it as good as we got it tonight. I couldn't be happier. The weather was perfect. The crowd — 8,800 people — was record setting, best in 27 years. We had super winners, more corporations than ever before, a super beneficiary (Larkin Street Youth Services). I mean, we're pretty lucky."
And, the inspiration the events can have for many was well-voiced by Cisco company captain Air Vongxayasy in Singapore, where a record 13,233 runners and walkers from 403 firms participated in the 8th annual edition of the race in that Asian city.
As he accepted a T-Shirt award with a smile as bright as the mid-day sun, Vongxayasy recalled that he was diagnosed with a 90-percent blocked artery in May, 2009.
“I thought I was leading a healthy lifestyle. It was a wake-up call," he said. “I immediately got started on my recovery, and a goal I had was to run the Corporate Challenge in 2010. I ran well, and my goal tonight was to set a new PR, and I did that too, in 26:13. I can’t explain what a thrill it was to be able to achieve an individual goal while participating with a team of 238 Cisco employees. Running is the purest form of exercise, and this gives all of my colleagues a connection point.”
This year, that "connection point" was enjoyed by more participants than ever before.