Some of Caterpillar's 305 team members arrive for the 2010 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Chicago's Grant Park. A short time later, Chance Kelch (left in inset photo) and Joe Every celebrated 2nd and 4th place overall finishes that helped Caterpillar to a dominating win in the Mixed Team category.
After reaching winning goal at Chicago,
Caterpillar looks ahead to Championship
CHICAGO, Dec. 15, 2010 - At Caterpillar, it was an idea whose time had come. Why not get the best running talent in the company together for an opportunity to qualify for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship?
Caterpillar has been a long-time supporter of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Chicago, entering hundreds of entrants each year. In the all-inclusive spirit of the Corporate Challenge, walkers, joggers, racers were part of the team.
In 2010, the “Cat Crew” again came out in big numbers, with 305 total entrants. They were the fourth largest company at the May 27 Corporate Challenge in Grant Park. But, more than in the past, Caterpillar put some extra attention toward recruiting full-time employees for the front of the pack.
“Chance Kelch, who ran his first Corporate Challenge in 2009 (4th overall), expressed interest in compiling a championship team,” said long-time Caterpillar company captain John Horvat. “We contacted some past top finishers and other speedy runners to see if they were interested in running this year and reminded them of the top team potential. We knew that if Jenny Every ran, a Mixed Team entry of our fastest overall finishers might be the most competitive.”
Caterpillar team members line up for shirts at the 2010 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Chicago.
Jenny Every did run. So did her husband, Joe. In the Chicago field of 19,865 runners, both finished fourth overall in their divisions – Jenny in 20:16 and Joe in 18:17. Kelch bettered his 2009 performance by finishing second overall in 18:10. Add a 23:06 finish by Jennifer Fox and you’ve got a nearly seven-minute victory by Caterpillar in the Mixed team competition.
You’ve also got a team that is eager to compete on the world stage as the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship comes to Asia for the first time in its 28 years when it is run in Singapore on April 21.
Joining Caterpillar in Singapore from Chicago will be Molex, winner of the men’s division, and women’s team champion JPMorgan Chase. They will compete against the first-place teams from the other 11 cities in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series.
Caterpillar’s runners are genuinely excited about the opportunity of competing against the best corporate running talent in the world. Making it even nicer for them is that they are sure to see some welcoming faces when they arrive in Singapore.
“This international opportunity will unite our runners worldwide as Caterpillar will also have a team running in Singapore’s Corporate Challenge for the eighth year,” said Horvat. “Caterpillar’s Singapore Team Captain Steve Szymanski is looking forward to supporting the team with local hospitality and cheering them on.”
Adds Joe Every: “I’m looking forward to the trip to Singapore and the entire experience, including cheering on the Singapore race and meeting my coworkers on the Singapore Caterpillar team.”
That type of team-building is one of the things Horvat embraces about the Corporate Challenge. He notes that Caterpillar has participated in the Chicago Corporate Challenge for 26 years.
|2011 Chicago Championship qualifiers
|Nathan Breed, Eugene Callaghan, Andy Enright, Scott Mejdrich
|Thea Howell, Samantha Polock, Annette Reschke, Michelle Thom
|Chance Kelch, Joe Every, Jenny Every, Jennifer Fox
“Cat participation represented 15 local facilities (in 2010), providing a fantastic networking opportunity,” he said. “The Corporate Challenge is truly an event for everyone, including racers, joggers and walkers to enjoy a healthful activity and to get to know their co-workers. It's a pleasure seeing new faces and equally satisfying seeing those returning for a repeat performance! As a long-time participant and Team Captain since 2005, it has been a pleasure to promote the Corporate Challenge and see the Caterpillar team grow and excel. “
He attributes the growth to both encouraging employees of all fitness levels to participate and the support of Caterpillar’s Social Activities and Services organization.
Happily for Caterpillar, all fitness levels this year includes a strong Mixed team. With a combined winning time of 1 hour, 19 minutes, 49 seconds at Chicago, Caterpillar finds itself with the fifth fastest time among Mixed teams at the Championship and the fastest time for an American team. In a word, Caterpillar appears “competitive” against anyone in the field.
It’s a thought echoed by the members of the team, which received a huge boost when Jenny and Joe Every, who met in college through running when both were on the Ferris State cross country team, moved to Peoria, Illinois (Caterpillar’s world headquarters) to work for Caterpillar. Not only did the couple find a great company, they also discovered a large and thriving running community with which they became very involved.
Now, says Jenny Every, her Caterpillar team “expects to go in and compete and vie for a top position at the championship race.”
Adds Kelch: “This is a great opportunity to be competing for Caterpillar. I look forward to travelling to Singapore, but, most of all, I expect our team to perform very well. Our goal at Chicago was to qualify for the Championship. Our next goal is to win.”
“This,” said Joe Every, “is an amazing opportunity to run against some of the corporate world’s most talented and disciplined athletes. I have no doubt that we will be positioned to compete and perform at the best of our ability. Yeah, we hope to be one of the top mixed teams in the world, but just competing in an event of this magnitude is a complete honor.”
For the fourth member of the team - Jennifer Fox - the Championship will mark a farewell of sorts.
“I’ve accepted an international assignment working as a product cost manager in the Articulated Truck Product Group in Peterlee, UK,” Fox said. “I’ve been with Caterpillar for over five years and have completed in five Corporate Challenge events.”
The Championship experience that awaits in Singapore will, she anticipates, take that experience to a new level.
“I am honored to compete with such outstanding athletes from around the globe and am extremely proud to represent Team Caterpillar,” said Fox. “I have never competed in an international running event, and I can't imagine a more exotic place than Singapore for this experience. I am so excited to submerge myself in the culture, and look forward to building friendships with my fellow runners.”
Horvat, however, doesn’t necessarily see this as an end for Fox’s Corporate Challenge running career, or for her team building experiences.
“Jennifer has consistently improved as a runner with each of her five Corporate Challenge times being faster than the previous one,” said Horvat. “She has helped with the coordination of the Chicago Caterpillar Team the past couple of years. Working in the United Kingdom next year, maybe Jennifer will organize a Caterpillar Team for the 2011 London Corporate Challenge!”