A long-time supporter of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, Saucony has fielded teams for years in Boston. Saucony's Mixed team from the 2009 Boston Corporate Challenge won its team title by more than six minutes.
Saucony takes its passion for running
all the way to Championship in South Africa
BOSTON, February 3, 2010 — When running is the business you've chosen in your life, having a chance to represent your company at a prestigious running event half a world away in distance and a world away in culture is an opportunity not to be taken lightly.
"For us, this is the cream of the crop!" said Todd Swenson, a technical representative for Saucony and a member of the company's Mixed team, which won its title at the Boston J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in June. The victory earned Saucony a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa for the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship on March 4.
"Running is our passion and to be able to represent our company in South Africa provides each of us great joy," Swenson added. "We are incredibly excited to be a part of this amazing opportunity and look forward to sharing this experience with runners from other states and countries."
Saucony will be joining Boston Men's team winner Raytheon and Women's team champions Fidelity in the first-ever Championship held outside of the United States in the 34-year history of the world's largest corporate running series. They also will be joining peers from every one of the 36 eligible teams in the Series' 12 cities, spread over five continents.
"Team Saucony is in serious training mode at the moment and looking to be as competitive as possible come race day," said Swenson. "While we are planning on enjoying the trip to South Africa, we also want to represent Saucony as best we can in the race. We recognize that we will have our hands full with the highly competitive teams that will make the trip to Johannesburg. It will be great to see how we stack up against the best corporate runners in the world!"
At Boston, recognized as a hub of running in America, Saucony demonstrated its talent against a highly competitive, sold-out field. Swenson and teammates Carrie Bartlett, Chris Teague and Bev Whelan, won the Mixed team title by more than six minutes.
"The Saucony victory, and by such a large margin, was quite a surprise," said Swenson, who anchored the team with a solid time of 18:23 for the 3.5-mile course. "To be honest, we were all involved with the race to have fun and build a little team unity. We knew we had some pretty fast runners on the team, but you never know what other teams are going to show up on race day. As it turns out we put together a solid squad and at the end of the day had a great spread from our first to fourth runner."
In addition to Mixed team champion Saucony, Raytheon (Men's champions) and Fidelity (Women's champions) will be representing Boston in Johannesburg, South Africa when the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship is held on March 4. Raytheon was led in Boston by individual men's winner Justin Lutz (above). Fidelity was paced by individual women's champion Jessica Cickay (inset).
Not surprisingly, all the Saucony team members have solid backgrounds in running.
Swenson ran for William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He continues to train regularly and, when not injured, is competitive in local road races.
Bartlett, the company captain, is Technical Rep Manager & Professional Triathlete Manager at Saucony who ran at Stonehill College in Easton, MA and continues to train and race in marathons and triathlons.
Whelan, Marketing Manager at Sperry Top-Sider, ran the mile for Harvard College. She has run two marathons including Boston since graduating in 2004, but prefers shorter races like the 5K.
And, Sean Robbins, who has replaced Teague for the trip, is relatively new to the running scene and has been involved with sports and played lacrosse in college.
They are looking forward to a trip to a country only Bartlett has visited. In fact, Bartlett knows something of South African culture because, after having a South African exchange student live with her family in America, Bartlett and her sister went to visit their friend in 2000 in Zinkwasi, South Africa. They were able to travel to Stellanbosch and Cape Town during this trip as well.
The others are preparing for the trip off the roads, as well as on them.
"I'm looking forward to learning about South Africa prior to the trip and then comparing what I read to the real thing," said Swenson. "Also, it should be a fun time interacting with the athletes from various countries to have a richer cultural experience. We're also excited to see first-hand the country's preparations for this summer's World Cup. As devoted runners, we appreciate Africa's passion for soccer and the excitement around the continent's first World Cup.
"Surely competing in a country so far away from home gives it the feeling of being that much more important," Swenson added. "Team Saucony would like to give JP Morgan a much deserved “thank you” for this opportunity. It's wonderful to have JP Morgan give this unique opportunity to people who choose an active lifestyle."