Sports Basement carries its passion
for sports to second Championship
Members of the Sports Basement team gather for a group photo at the 2011 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge.
SAN FRANCISCO, March 19, 2012 — As a sporting goods retailer with four locations in the San Francisco area, Sports Basement is, literally, a business built on passion for sports. It is no surprise, then, that its own teams are enthusiastic about San Francisco's annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge®. Or that one of its teams has become a repeat champion despite the intensely competitive nature of the City by the Bay's race.
Sports Basement's women's team will be representing San Francisco for the second time in three years when it heads to Chicago May 24 for the 29th annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship.
An elite international gathering that brings together the best 39 corporate teams from across the world's leading corporate running circuit, the Series Championship also will host two other San Francisco teams - Google's men's and mixed team champions. They will join the men's, women's and mixed team champions from each city who 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 in Chicago's Grant Park.
For Sports Basement, it is a welcomed repeat appearance at the Series Championship.
"Sports Basement has competed in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge for the past several years," said company captain and women's team member Ian Ballentine. "Our women's teams have been in contention for the female title for the past four years. We won the women's division of the San Francisco Corporate Challenge two years ago, and our athletes had the honor of competing in the Championships in Johannesburg, South Africa."
Even though Sports Basement blew away this year's closest competition by more than seven minutes, wins at San Francisco generally don't come easily. Blessed with natural beauty and an invigorating yet mild climate, San Francisco is a true Mecca for active sports. Last year, that interest was reflected in record participation at the city's 27-year-old Corporate Challenge when 8,747 participants from 333 companies gathered to race over a 3.5-mile course Embarcadero course.
|'12 San Francisco Championship qualifiers
|Blake Arnold, Crosby Freeman, Matt Kane, Loren Newman
|Ian Ballentine, Sarah Bamberger, Tiffany Hall, Mackenzie Cane
|Gretchen Andrus, Jeffrey Czyz, Cedric Dupont, Elizabeth Emmart
"We were all so happy to see that we had won the San Francisco race," said Ballentine. "I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by such amazing runners. Sports Basement is filled with phenomenal athletes and we were lucky to see it all come together on race day."
Underlying their success is the culture itself at Sports Basement, Ballentine believes.
"Sports Basement's culture stems from passionate athletes of all different levels and backgrounds," she said.
The firm's championship women's team is a classic example of that.
Ballentine is a Marketing Client Manager at Sports Basement's Bryant Street store. She swam collegiately at San Jose State and "organically grew into" the sport of running, then most recently into the sport of triathlon.
Sarah Bamberger is Senior Buyer of Kids and Team Sports for Sports Basement. She played soccer for 20 years before deciding bike racing was her preferred channel of competition. Her love of trails spilled over from mountain biking into trail running two years ago, and she ran in the challenging 2011 Dipsea and Double Dipsea races.
Mackenzie Cane is a Marketing Coordinator at Sports Basement's Bryant Street store. She competed in triathlon at UC Santa Barbara and has been a runner for over 18 years. She loves spending quality time running through the trails of Marin.
And, Tiffany Hall, who finished third overall at San Francisco in 20:36, is a GM for the Sports Basement Walnut Creek location. She has been a converted runner from soccer for the past 14 years. She ran cross country at San Jose State University and cannot live without her iPod or weekly dose of soccer matches.
The four combined their talents to not only sweep away the competition at San Francisco, but qualify for the Series Championship with the fourth fastest seeded time — 1:27:11. It is well within striking distance of the top seed, Polizei Hessen of Frankfurt (1:24:17).
"It is an absolute honor for all of us to compete on an international level," said Ballentine. "We were fortunate to take the win at the San Francisco race and are looking forward to the challenge of the Series Championship. We are looking to get out there and have a good time. We are privileged to represent Sports Basement at an international race. We are going to get out there and do our absolute best, and have a great time doing it!"
Spoken like someone who has a true passion for her sport.