Fidelity continues its run of excellence
to 2012 Championship in Chicago
|2012 Boston Championship qualifiers
|Justin Lutz, Ryan Carrara, John Clopeck, Jason Barnes
|Melissa Nash, Caitlin Anelauskas, Monika Garofano, Emily Kinback
PROCTER & GAMBLE
|Andrew Gardiner, Erin Ballard, John Gassmann, Lisa Tecklenburg
BOSTON, January 23, 2012 — With an enviable heritage that features one of the world's storied marathons and a host of home-grown running talent, Boston has long enjoyed the status of America's running hub. It's no surprise then that, as the world of corporate running begins to focus on the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® Championship this May in Chicago, Boston will be strongly represented.
The 29th annual gathering of the best of the best corporate teams from across a series that in 2011 attracted a record 242,326 participants will feature 39 teams — three each from the Series' 13 cities. The Male, Female and Mixed team champions from each city will square off in a 3.5-mile Championship that will be run just prior to the start of the regularly scheduled JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge on May 24 at Grant Park.
In the first installment of the 2012 Road to the Championship series on this website, the teams from Boston are featured. And, they are a formidable lot.
Boston's Mixed team champion — Procter & Gamble — comes into the Championship as the world's top-rated squad in its category. Its time of 1:19:14 is almost two minutes faster than that of second-seeded KfW Bankengruppe of Frankfurt. The fast time was fashioned in Boston with sterling efforts from Andrew Gardiner (17:08) and Erin Ballard (20:06) — both fourth in the race's individual results — as well as John Gassmann and Lisa Tecklenburg.
Multi-time Male team champion Raytheon will represent Boston in its category. With a team anchored by former Boston individual champions Ryan Carrara and Justin Lutz, who placed second at Boston in 2011 in a time of 16:59, Raytheon heads to Chicago as the fourth-seeded team in the highly competitive Male division. John Clopeck and Jason Barnes round out the team, whose 2011 time of 1:12:11 was bettered only by rivals from Frankfurt, Johannesburg and host Chicago.
Another perennial power at Boston stepped up in the Female division, with Fidelity winning its third title. The team is headed by Melissa Nash, who actually ran faster at Boston in 2011 than she did in winning the Women's title there in 2010 (19:40 compared to 20:00). She is joined by Caitlin Anelauskas, Monika Garofano, and Emily Kinback on a team that posted a combined time of 1:24:40 — only 23 seconds off the time of top-seeded Polizei Hessen of Frankfurt.
Ryan Carrara is a former individual champion at Boston and has been a mainstay of the Raytheon team for years.
Fidelity's story at Boston's Corporate Challenge has been one of enduringly robust participation and, particularly in recent years, extremely high standards.
"After both the men's and women's team placed 2nd in 2006, our women's team again took second place in 2008 and finally won the Boston title in 2009, with a stellar performance by Jessica Cickay, (the overall Women's individual winner at Boston that year), " said Kinback.
"The 2009 women's team was also fortunate to be the first wave of participants traveling to an international Championship race in Johannesburg, South Africa," added Garofano. "The Olympian-like treatment we received from J.P. Morgan there motivated some of our team members to reach out to competitive runners across the company in an attempt to further build the team. In 2010, the Men's team took 1st place. In 2011, our Women took 1st place yet again, and 2nd on the men's side."
While Fidelity's front-of-the-pack results have been impressive, it's not the primary benefit that this year's winning team members see from participating in the Corporate Challenge.
"While the bragging rights of top team finishes are part of the fun, the ultimate benefit of this race is the increasingly runner-friendly atmosphere it has created within the firm," said Kinback and Garofano. "This race has helped sprout smaller running teams, random training runs and helpful intra-company business connections. Running for many of us is not simply a sport; it is a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle as well as to reinforce a competitive, yet positive, attitude at work."
It's the type of momentum — and attitude — that goes to the core of the Corporate Challenge, begun 36 years ago with a goal of fostering health and fitness in the workplace. And Fidelity's runners are appreciative of the unique opportunity the Corporate Challenge gives them to interact on another level with their company.
"It's been great to represent Fidelity at the Corporate Challenge in 2010 and 2011," said Anelauskas. "The Boston race is so much fun — there is an amazing energy surrounding the race. There is a strong camaraderie among the participating Fidelity employees. A group of us get together for casual training runs before the race. It was really exciting to win this year, and I'm looking forward to representing Fidelity and Boston in the Championship race!"
Adds Garofano: "I have been very grateful for the spirited organizers at Fidelity and J.P. Morgan for putting on this race each year. It is a great feeling to know how many colleagues were rooting for us either at home, checking the race results — or running along with us on the course and gathering afterwards to watch the results roll in online. I truly enjoy returning to the race in Fidelity colors each summer."
Now, the four women — with varied athletic backgrounds and positions at Fidelity — will start to focus on Chicago, even as winter continues its grip on New England.
Melissa Nash of Fidelity Investments breaks the finish line tape held by Dani Tschuemperlin of Rockport (left) and Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill to win the 2010 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston in 20:00. Nash finished second in 2011 in 19:40 to help Fidelity win the Women's team title.
Nash, the team's anchor, is a Financial Analyst at Fidelity who was a national class cross country and 3,000-meter runner for Bentley University. She currently runs for the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), which has helped her reach the next level in training and racing.
Anelauskas is an Information Architect with a marathon best of 2:53 and a member of the Cambridge Running Club and Cambridge Masters Swim Club.
Garofano has worked at Fidelity in legal and compliance roles for 11 years. She got the Corporate Challenge bug in 2002, when she surprised herself by being part of the winning Boston women's team. Never a competitive runner in school, she can't imagine life without being able to lace on running shoes; and thoroughly enjoys her 6 and 8 year old daughters' nagging to share the treadmill with them now and then.
And Kinback is a Production Manager in the Communications and Advertising department at Fidelity. She didn't realize her running capabilities until her senior year in college when she started training for a half marathon to get back into the shape she used to be in high school when she was a competitive swimmer. She ran her first marathon in 2005 and has continued to challenge herself with the sport of running ever since.
How will they do in Chicago? Only time will tell, of course, but they don't seem to be putting undue pressure on themselves.
"Several team members have been struggling with injuries over the winter, but we are all looking forward to renewing our training this spring and putting up a strong challenge in Chicago," said Kinback and Garofano. "We are going in with the mentality that we will do our best on any given day."
And that, for Fidelity as well as the other teams from Boston, has proven to be pretty good through the years.