Johannesburg began races in the 2007 calendar year for the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge series with a soldout gathering at the famed Wanderers Club. Defending champion Transwerk (top left) placed four runners in the top five. Johnny Clegg (center left) gave a spirited post-race concert. And, the Twilight Children (bottom left) were the beneficiaries. (Peter Morey Photographic)
Johannesburg sets spirited tone for 2007
with fast and festive soldout gathering
Official results | Photo Gallery
Nkosinoxolo Sonqibido of Transwerk wins title.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 1, 2007 – The 31st year of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series is off and running, and South Africa has set a very special, positive tone for this season.
A capacity crowd of 10,338 runners and walkers from 277 companies took part in the fourth annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Johannesburg, an event that has ample portions of competition, diverse camaraderie and top-notch entertainment.
Two first-time individual winners, a spectacular sunset, and a mesmerizing post-race concert by popular artist Johnny Clegg were the highlights at the fabled Wanderers Club in an event that has quickly developed into a “can't-miss” for the Johannesburg business community.
“We've been doing this all four years and it has become a team building exercise for our Johannesburg offices,” said Chris Harrison from SA Home Loans. “We look forward to this every year and find it uplifting. We have a keen interest in social responsibility, and the fact that this event sponsors a charity truly supports our effort towards contributing to the under privileged.”
More than 2,000 potential entrants were turned away during the registration process, and those fortunate enough to get a bib number were contributing to a very worthy cause. JPMorgan in South Africa made a donation for every entry to Twilight Children, a non-profit organization that has aided thousands of street children by offering shelter, nourishment, counseling and skills training to boys between the ages of eight and 18.
A fitness event with an impact on homeless young men
“We are delighted that in South Africa we are able to contribute to the Twilight Children,” said Jon H. Zehner, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa for JPMorgan. “Everyone participating in the race, either by running or walking, contributes to the well being of those less fortunate than themselves.”
A large contingent of boys from Twilight Children was on hand at the event, adding to the joyous spirit of the night. Many of them got up on the walkers' start stage and performed an impromptu dance. The smiles were still evident when the starting gun went off.
“This is spectacular of the whole series because of its cultural diversity, team work and camaraderie,” said Kimberly Davis, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “Twilight children is a splendid example of selecting an organization in helping to solve one of the critical social needs in Johannesburg -- homeless males. This overall combines with (JPMorgan's) global strategy of building vibrant communities where people can live, learn and thrive.”
Ricky Robinson, left, Male Most Senior Executive winner from LR Group, shares a light moment on the awards stage with Jon H. Zehner, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa for JPMorgan.
Thriving on this night also were the individual winners – Nkosinoxolo Sonqibido of Transwerk and Renata Dryer of The IQ Business Group. Both were first-time winners and defeated a formidable field.
Sonqibido's winning time in the men's race was 16:47, and he bested Transwerk colleague George Mofokeng by three seconds. Jacob Mofokeng of Goldfields was third in 16:58. It was the second fastest winning time in the four years of this event.
Dreyer had a little bit easier go of it, breaking the women's tape in 21:58, one full minute ahead of Goldfield's Rose Tseuoa. Goldfield's also had the third place woman, Lerato Letsheng, and that group will appear to have a leg up on earning the mixed team spot for Johannesburg at the 2007 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship in New York, next October.
“This is an event that unites corporate and financial institutions together to do something fun and healthy,” said David Munro of Standard Bank, after watching a colleague, Lesley Sooper, finish fourth overall in the women's race. “JPMorgan deserves credit for its commitment to South Africa and for a great event.”
Additional creative and athletic winners share in prizes
There was additional keen competition on this night, both on the course and in sartorial circles. Ricky Robinson, representing LR Group, and Tiekie Barnard, running for Net#work BBDO Advertising, won the men's and women's divisions of the Most Senior Executive category. And three companies – DLM, Liberty Life and Momentum – each earned a $500 charity donation by being named tri-winners of the creative t-shirt competition.
After the awards were given, and the brilliant sunset served as an appropriate salute to the accomplishment of all entrants, Johnny Clegg took the Wanderers stage and conducted a special concert. This continued the Corporate Challenge tradition of having world-class post-race entertainment. Past performers in Johannesburg included Mandoza and Dr. Victor and Rasta Rebels.
“It is truly a pleasure having the diversity of people participating in the event with different cultures and from different companies,” said Zehner. “The event motivates companies to team build and JPMorgan is proud to provide them with this opportunity.”