Enthusiasm for Corporate Challenge
keeps running strong at Momentum
JOHANNESBURG, February 29, 2012 — Company Captain Jaco Dorfling tells the story of what happened after Momentum won the Mixed Team title at Johannesburg in its first year of competing in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in 2004.
“I remember the first year that our team won the mixed category, they (J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge officials) phoned me and we had to confirm employment,” recalled Dorfling. “Our MD (Managing Director) at that time, Hillie Meyer, called the four people to his office to congratulate them in winning the Mixed (team title). The athletes were jumping up and down in his office, but when they heard (that all expenses were paid), there was total chaos in his office!”
From blind runner Francois Jacobs (top right) to team members who gathered for a group photo at the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge (bottom right), Momentum has had a bright presence in the event at Johannesburg.
That type of enthusiasm is still going strong at Momentum for the Corporate Challenge as the race approaches its ninth anniversary on 8 March.
“The first year that Momentum participated in the J.P. Morgan race, the total number of people from the company was 30 and they drove (to the race in) their own transport,” said Dorfling. “In 2011 Momentum was one of the top 10 largest companies represented at the event, and in 2012, a total of 176 people registered for the race in two days. There are 40 people on a waiting list. If anyone cannot participate, these people will get the opportunity to participate. They will be transported in two busses to and from the event.”
A leading provider of insurance and asset management services to the South African market, Momentum has enjoyed success in the Corporate Challenge that is rooted in strongly held views about wellness within the company.
“At Momentum, wellness is part of our product offering through Momentum Multiply,” said Dorfling. “This extends internally to our staff who receive a pedometer from Momentum Multiply in an effort to get them moving and progressing on their individual health and wellness journey. Using a pedometer is an easy way to capitilise on an activity we all do every day (walking) for the benefit of our health. The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge offers a space where our staff can do just that while experiencing an energised environment with exposure to other corporates.”
Dorfling got involved as Company Captain when Momentum established a Sports Club in 2003. The club is involved in 20 different sports that are offered to staff members. Each sport has a manager who organises events. The managers, said Dorfling who directs the running club, are a further reflection of Momentum’s commitment to physical activity and sports.
“They are not remunerated for their efforts. They are people who are dedicated to their sporting code and to making a success of all events organised by them.” he said.
The Corporate Challenge is a testament to the success of Momentum’s efforts. It literally helps bring together employees from throughout Momentum for a single night of fitness and camaraderie.
“The majority of the people (on our team) travel on busses organised by Momentum, and we still see people wearing their J.P. Morgan t-shirts, even years after the event it was made for. People find it difficult to highlight anything specific, but rate the overall experience, the race, food and party in contributing to making this a fantastic event.
Company captain Jaco Dorfling accepts a T-shirt contest award at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
“Teamwork is one of Momentum’s values and we embrace all opportunities where we can demonstrate and live this value,” Dorfling added. “The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge offers a unique opportunity for our participating team to engage with each other to successfully complete the challenge as a team, and to interact with the other corporate teams.”
A nice bonus for Momentum has been the ability to give back to the South African community through the Corporate Challenge. In addition to having part of the race entry fee donated to designated local non-profit organisations each year, the Corporate Challenge also awards monetary prizes for best t-shirt designs. Momentum has won six times from 2004-2009.
“The Guide-Dog Association and Wheelchair Rugby benefited from these contributions,” said Dorfling.
And, of course, there are the stories of individual success at Momentum.
One is Francois Jacobs, who has participated in the Corporate Challenge. Jacobs is blind.
“He walks the distance with someone else, without his guide-dog,” he said. “He also enjoys the “party” afterwards. Francois inspires a whole lot of abled people in Momentum. He participated in the Business Trust Long Run (where Bruce Fordyce ran a few kilometers with him), the Iron Man, the Comrades Marathon, rides the Argus and the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge and even attends the Momentum Sports Club Dance classes, and is a dancer par excellence!”
Francois had to withdraw from the Corporate Challenge this year, as he will be on his way to participate in the Argus again. His flight leaves for Cape Town on the 8th of March.
Stories like Jacobs’ are part of the thread of success for Momentum in the Corporate Challenge.
“As manager of our running club, I can safely say that we get new members to our club each year after the race,” Dorfling said. “Probably about 30% of our running and walking club members joined after a J.P. Morgan event and have been active members since.”