Members of Transnet Rail Engineering's Men's and Women's team gather for a pre-race photo before winning both team titles at the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship in Johannesburg. Photos:
Peter Morey Photographic
Transnet, General Electric make history
at first Championship held outside of U.S.
Results | Photo Gallery
Members of San Francisco's General Electric team - which won the Mixed team title at the 2010 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship - gather for a photo. The team members are: Michael Little, Lina Nguyen, Amy Horst, and Benjamin Mulvaney.
JOHANNESBURG, March 4, 2010 — They took the call and jetted from across the continents to the City of Gold.
A total of 144 runners — 12 each from 12 different cities as diverse as Syracuse and Sydney, Boston and Singapore — earned an invitation to the 27th annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge® Championship in Johannesburg. All 144 accepted and took their place on the starting line under overcast skies at the historic Wanderers Club.
South Africa — home of the 2010 soccer World Cup — was chosen as the first Championship location outside of metropolitan New York, and it surely will go down as one of the most memorable Corporate Challenge nights of all-time.
Particularly to Transnet Rail Engineering and General Electric.
Transnet, representing host city Johannesburg, earned the men's and women's team titles. General Electric, which qualified in San Francisco, earned the mixed team title.
“I just couldn't believe it when they announced us as the winner,” General Electric's Amy Horst said. “I just started crying and couldn't stop.
“After the race we actually thought we would be in a fight for fourth,” Horst continued. “When they announced the third-place team, we felt we had just missed out. But then when they said General Electric was first, I couldn't believe it. I pointed to my jacket and said ‘GE?’ And the announcer said, ‘Yes, you're the winner.’ It was amazing!”
Winning at the Championship is more familiar for Transnet, which has dominated the men's and women's categories since Johannesburg joined the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series in 2004. The men have won all seven Championships they have entered. But their dual triumphs with the men and women on home soil brought new meaning.
The 144 runners from five continents and six countries who qualified for the first JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship to be held outside of the United States gather for a pre-race photo at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg.
“Whether we are running in New York, a city we love, or right here on our own home turf, it is a thrill to win the Championship,” said Martin Lombard, Transnet's long-time company captain. “The runners were thrilled to show the world what they were made of, and also to show off our beautiful course, city and country.”
Transnet's first-place men's team was comprised of Nkosinoxo Losonqbido, Benedict Moeng, Hermans Pedi and Samuel Segoaba. Their team time was 1:10:37, a touch under eight minutes ahead of the Google men from San Francisco. The search engine powerhouse had a team that included Michael Brandell, Crosby Freeman, Eddie Higgins and Matt Kane. The third-place men hailed from Raytheon in Boston — Jason Barnes, Ryan Carrara, John Clopeck and Justin Lutz
On the women's side, the winning Transnet team featured Gloria Baeba, Takalane Nthulane, Violet Raseboya and Catherine Skosana. They finished more than 12 minutes ahead of the runner-up Polizei Hessen team from Frankfurt — Claudia Pusch, Sybille Stegmaier, Stefanie Struschka and Ellen Weber. Fidelity Investments from Boston was third, including Jessica Cickay, Monica Garofano, Alison Keefe and Kristen Murphy.
Michael Little, Horst, Benjamin Mulvaney and Lina Nguyen were the members of the victorious GE mixed team. They fought off a strong challenge from Deloitte of London, winning by barely more than a minute. Deloitte's squad included Anna Bjoernhammer, Jeff Cunningham, James Mason and Stacey Ward. In third was Roche Diagnostics of Frankfurt, with Nadine Bucci, Christian Hoerauf, Jutta Kammer and Matthias Korner.
Transnet's dominant performance featured three of its men finishing 1-2-3, led by Segoaba's winning time of 17:15. The first male finisher outside of South Africa was Google's Crosby Freeman in 18:06. On the women's side, Transnet's Skosana and Raseboya were first and second, in 20:35 and 20:57 respectively. Fidelity's Cickay was the first international finisher, less than a full stride behind Raseboya.
But it was not all about the competition. Cindy Traczyk, a runner on the CNA women's team from Chicago, and her husband Peter organized a two-week trip of South Africa. Fifteen family members came along and they visited the Cathedral of Mankind in Johannesburg on race day, and will jet post-race for five days seaside at Cape Town. They will conclude the trip with a safari at Kruger National Park.
The first JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship to be held outside of the United States gets underway in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Peter said. “When we learned that Cindy had earned this trip to South Africa, we said ‘Hmm, how can we take advantage of this?’ It was a lot of work, and we had to pull five kids out of school for two weeks, but it is well worth it.”
The runners were predominantly housed pre-race at the Inter-Continental Hotel, directly in front of Nelson Mandela Square. Mandela, the first South African President (1994-99) elected in a fully democratic election, is memorialized with a 20-foot statue in the square. If that didn't inspire the runners, the visits many of them made to the Apartheid Museum or Soweto turned the trick.
Some of the top runners — who ordinarily would have finished in the top 10-15 individuals — were banged up with various injuries and incapable of running at their very best. But that wasn't going to stop them from making the trip and proudly representing their companies.
Five minutes after the Championship runners raced off, the starting gun was fired for the Johannesburg J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. That race featured a sold-out crowd of 12,862 entrants from 405 companies. It was the first time the Championship was paired off with a regular Corporate Challenge race and it went off, operationally, without a hitch.
JPMorgan Chase, owner and operator of the Corporate Challenge, is committed to rotating the Championship to cities in different continents. This is to reflect the globability of the Series, which in the past nine years has expanded to six countries on five continents.
Winning teams at 2010 Series event will compete in the next JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship at a location to be determined in 2011.