Bradley Croker of Swimming Australia and Laura James of Macquarie break the finish line tape to win the 11th J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney.
Sydney strikes perfect balance
of new and familiar in season finale
Part of the crowd of 7,444 makes its way through the Centennial Park course at the 11th J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney.
SYDNEY, November 9, 2011 — It’s a wrap for the 35th season of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, and what a year it was.
Bradley Croker of Swimming Australia and Laura James of Macquarie were the respective men’s and women’s individual champions at the 11th running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney tonight, the concluding event of the worldwide Series. They were the fleetest of foot in an impressive crowd of 7,444 participants from 295 companies.
The attendance enabled the Corporate Challenge to set an all-time record for single year entries with 248,168. That includes all participants from 13 cities in seven countries on five continents, the largest and longest-running corporate sporting event in the world. And it keeps attracting new faces.
“I know it is run all over the world, and this is actually my first time participating,” said Ronald Visser, senior credit analyst at Origin Energy, which had a team of 67 entrants. “It’s great to meet other people from other business units.”
Wayne Reade and his Boral colleagues feel the Corporate Challenge strikes a perfect life/work balance.
“This is part of our employee health and well being program, BWell,” noted Reade, a group organizational development manager. “Promoting well being at Boral is really important. And this is also a great opportunity to connect with other businesses.”
The competition was keen at the front of the men’s pack as new faces battled with veterans of the Corporate Challenge’s 5.6km Centennial Park course.
Croker was a first-time winner, breaking the tape in a very impressive 16:55. His Swimming Australia colleague Brett Cartwright also appeared in the Top 5 for the first time, finishing second in 17:08. Thomas Crasti of KPMG (17:44) and Charlie Low of McGrathNicol (17:55) — both past JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship qualifiers from Sydney — were third and fourth.
“It’s a great event,” enthused Croker. “Running is such an individual sport, but the J.P. Morgan is a team event.
“Everyone is having a great time,” Croker continued. “The team atmosphere makes it great, so I crossed the line and I was more concerned as to where my teammates were as to the total time, and they did really well.”
Croker noted that while he had not previously run the Corporate Challenge course, he trains in Centennial Park regularly and knew where the hills were. That familiarity also helped the women’s winner, James, who annually runs superbly in this event, qualifying last year for the Championship in Singapore.
“I feel good now,” James said. “The course is a lot tougher than you always think, the first hill especially. I went out hard and tried to hold on.”
James crossed the finish line in 20:03, comfortably ahead of runner-up Emma Thompson of NSW Treasury (20:57). Laura Siddall of Third Horizon Consulting was third in 21:03 and Susan Ireland of Sydney Water fourth in 21:13.
The victory by James was a fitting cap for a superb company effort. Macquarie had the largest team in the event, with 278 (up 29 percent from its 215 entries in 2010). The other companies that comprised the Top 10 in entries were: Railcorp (255), Rabobank (213), Perpetual (154), QBE Australia (132), Michael Page International (130), GE Capital (121), KPMG (119), Westfield (111), and Colonial First State Global Asset Management (85).
“Everyone gets into this around the office and it’s great being the largest participating company,” James said.
Westfield’s turnout of 111 more than doubled its entries of past years.
With a turnout of 111 participants, Westfield celebrates with a team photo at the 11th J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney.
“It’s quite a big event for us and we’re proud to be in it,” said Richard Morton, general manager at Westfield. “Today we’ve got people from all different divisions from director level down to the most junior staff. It’s a great team building event for staff and it’s good for morale. It’s a friendly competition and people look forward to that.”
Emma Brown, who captained the Commonwealth Bank team that fielded 63 entrants, says her company loves the all-inclusive nature of the Corporate Challenge.
Participants arrive for 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney's Centennial Park (above). Later, runners pour through the finishing area (below) of the 5.6km course.
“We've been out doing training runs together and it's a really great sense of camaraderie,” Brown said. “For me it's a sense of pride that this is something that I can do with work mates and we go back to work and it’s acknowledged that we have been part of something. It's really nice positive recognition at work for the fact that people are getting involved.”
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at firstname.lastname@example.org)
All the companies, large and small, had their efforts commemorated in a donation by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to event beneficiary Football United. The not-for-profit organization uses the magic of football to bring people together for the common goal of creating harmonious and cohesive societies. The donation will specifically benefit a program entitled Educating Local Leaders to Grow and Sustain Football United.
Additional donations will be made to not-for-profit organizations in the name of two very creative companies — Bang and Forum. Each was judged a winner in the T-Shirt Contest (as voted on at www.facebook.com/sydneycorporatechallenge) and will receive $1,000USD to donate to the charity of their choice.
After a four-month break, the 36th year of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series will begin on March 8, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The complete 2012 schedule will be available at www.jpmorganchasecc.com in early January.
“This was our fifth year doing it,” said Boral’s Reade, “and we’ll be back next year.”