Chris Stevens (5628) of REST Superannuation Trust gives a thumbs up as he helps get the 33rd season of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge off and running in Sydney. (Photos by Phil Carrick / Carrick Visions)
Sun-splashed crowd in Sydney helps
launch 33rd Corporate Challenge season
Results | Photo Gallery
Under sunny skies and a JPMorgan Chase banner, 7,494 participants snake their way through Sydney's Centennial Park.
SYDNEY, November 12, 2008 – The 33rd season of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series is underway, with Stephen Thurston of Perpetual and KPMG’s Andrea Ilakovac leading 7,494 participants from 309 companies on a leafy 5.6-kilometer Centennial Park course.
Sydney has traditionally been the debut event of the Corporate Challenge year since joining the Series in 2000. The November race date dovetails perfectly with the start of Australian Daylight Savings in early summer Down Under.
“What a wonderful atmosphere,” Chris Stevens, Chief Operating Officer for REST Superannuation Trust, said after completing his first Corporate Challenge. “It’s been great socializing.”
And the blue-sky conditions made for fantastic competition. Thurston earned his first men’s individual title, breaking the finish tape in an impressive 16:49. Ilakovac, also a first-time champion, clocked an impressive 20:09, more than a minute faster than the women’s winning time in 2007.
Ilakovac had to be that fast to best the 20:21 effort turned in by Jane Miles of adidas. Thurston also had a duel, topping battle-tested Charlie Low of McGrath Nicol by 16 seconds. Low has finished first or second in each of the last four Corporate Challenge events in Centennial Park.
Thurston was joined on the race course by 134 other Perpetual employees and he prepared for the race with regular Wednesday training runs with his colleagues.
“We try to get pumped up and be a winning team,” Thurston said. “This is a good race because it gets everyone involved and you are running for a team rather than yourself.”
Thurston – whose running resumé lists several outstanding steeplechase performances – took control of the race in the first 1.5K and didn’t back off the pace. Jeremy Horne of Calvary Health Care (17:07) and Thomas Crasti of KPMG (17:11) provided close competition.
of Perpetual breaks the tape in an impressive 16:49 to win the 8th JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Sydney. At right, Andrea Ilakovac of KPMG smiles after winning the female title in 20:09.
Ilakovac literally went the extra kilometer to win the race, having driven three hours from Canberra to participate.
“I really enjoy road racing; it’s good under foot and nice and quick,” Ilakovac, a prolific cross country runner during the winter season, said. “I’m just thrilled to win this. And it’s great running as part of a team, as it’s not just own time that counts, but everyone else as well. You’re working together.”
The theme of collaboration was also apparent off the race course. This event kicked off the second year of the Corporate Challenge’s Teaming Up For A Greener Tomorrow initiative, designed to advance environmental awareness through best practices in advance race marketing and on-site implementation. In Sydney, through online registration, over 80-percent of the participants utilizing shuttle bus or car-pool transportation to the race site, and conscientious recycling, enough energy was conserved to light an individual workspace in the CBD for more than five years, keep 10 treadmills running in a health club for more than two weeks, or keep 500 cell phone charged for a year.
Likely text-messaging their success on this night were the victors in the Most Senior Executive categories – John Lang of Good Health Solutions and Deborah Homewood of Pacnet. The Corporate Challenge has become an attractive event for many of the key decision-makers in the business community.
Members of Railcorp gather for a pre-race group photo. Railcorp was one of three T-shirt winners at the event.
“This is my sixth Corporate Challenge,” said Graeme Arnott, Chief Operating Officer for First State Super. “We had about 30 people out, equally divided with men and women. And post-race, my daughter was wearing a (running) singlet so she could be like her daddy!”
The annual celebration of corporate fitness and camaraderie also served a need in the community. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation made a donation for each entry to the Oncology Children’s Foundation (OCF) and the Sunrise Foundation.
The donation to OCF will help fund the OCF/Team Swans Healthy Choices Community Program, with members of the popular football club on hand to represent the cause. Funds to the Sunrise Foundation will help develop preventative education programs addressing depression for young people aged 12-24.
Three companies were recognized on the post-race awards stage for their creative talents. Railcorp, Wellington Asset Management and Westpac/BT Investment Management were winners in the T-shirt competition and will receive a donation from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to designate to a charity of their choice.
The 2009 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series now takes a breather, but when it resumes it will remain on the Southern Hemisphere. The next event is the sixth annual Corporate Challenge in Johannesburg, South Africa, scheduled for Thursday, March 5.