A record crowd of 14,555 begins the 9th annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Singapore on April 19. The eventual men's champion - Gen Lin Foo of MOHH (with blue cap, left of center) - goes out fast and would win by 40 seconds in 18:15.
9th Singapore Corporate Challenge
reaches record 14,555 participants
Company captain Micah Adams (1526) and Aamir Farooqi (1537) both of Cargill Singapore celebrate at the starting line. With 106 participants, Cargill helped push entrees to a record level. "To have 14,000 people in Singapore put down their pens and turn off their computers at 5 p.m. and come down here in their colored shirts to run is just fantastic,” said Philip Lee, Senior Country Officer for J.P. Morgan in Singapore.
SINGAPORE, April 19, 2012 — An event that fills an entire side of the Esplanade Bridge during evening rush hour has commanded Singapore’s attention.
The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® debuted with just over 6,700 participants in 2004, grew steadily, and surpassed the 13,000 threshold for the first time in 2011. But Adeline Lee’s employer, Hewlett-Packard, hadn’t joined in on the fun.
So Lee signed on to be H-P’s company captain and determined to get her employer to the 2012 starting line for the first time year. And she did in a big way.
Hewlett-Packard had 104 participants on this night, one of 32 companies that fielded 100 or more in a Singapore-record field of 14,555 runners and walkers from 377 companies. The throng created a ribbon of healthy humanity over the 5.6km race course framed by the modernistic skyline.
“(The Corporate Challenge) was important as H-P promotes wellness and work/life balance for our employees,” Lee said. “We have in-house gyms and clubhouse facilities...health talks and checks are organized.”
The Corporate Challenge fitness bug clearly has spread among the large multi-national companies in this island nation. PricewaterhouseCoopers had a massive gathering of 614, edging StarHub by one entrant for the Largest Participation Award. Deloitte had an outstanding gathering of 446, BNP Paribas fielded 327 and Cisco had 236.
Lee credited the large H-P turnout to the support provided by her Director and General Manager, Sanjay Vig, along with the firm’s other managers.
“The (Corporate Challenge) rallied people from different groups within the company to achieve common objectives and creates additional avenues for employee engagement and interaction,” Lee noted.
Members of the Hewlett-Packard team celebrate their first race in Singapore.
Lee and her colleagues celebrated post-race in a hospitality marquee adjacent to the F-1 Pit Building, a comforting breeze coming off the Marina Bay.
“We hope,” Lee said, “that the employees can discover and enjoy the benefits of this run and now weave some form of fitness exercise into their own routine and encourage participation in the workplace health programs.”
ROUTINE OF WINNING
One person who has translated fitness into championship is Vivian Tang of CIMB Securities. She broke the women’s finish line tape first in this one, marking her seventh J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Singapore title.
Vivian Tang of CIMB Securities claims her seventh individual title at Singapore.
Tang, who dashed through the humidity to finish in 20:22, previously had won here in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and last April. She easily topped a pair of MOH Holdings runners to the line — Baoying Lim was second in 22:38, colleague Pamela Chia third in 22:41.
“It’s always special winning here,” Tang said. “It’s different running for your company rather than yourself. So many companies enjoy this now.”
Gen Lin Foo earned his first men’s Corporate Challenge individual title, posting an impressive time of 18:15, more than a half-minute better than the 2011 winning time of 18:57 posted by Christopher Yates of BP Singapore (in more sweltering conditions).
Stuart Haynes of Morgan Stanley was a solid second in 18:55 while Melvin Wong, a runner-up in 2011, cracked the top three in a rounded-off time of 19:00.
Micah Adams, company captain from Cargill Singapore, is another example of an avid runner using the Corporate Challenge as a way to spread a wellness initiative through his company.
“I came (to Singapore) from the Cargill U.S. office in 2008,” Adams said. “As an avid marathon runner at the time, I was keen to join the Corporate Challenge as a way to connect with my fellow Cargill employees as well as see a different running route.”
Adams recruited 106 of his Cargill colleagues to join the race with him, a significant percentage of Cargill’s 500+ total employees in the country. Many of those got a leg up on the Corporate Challenge training through a complimentary gym membership Cargill provided to all Singapore-based staff.
“Cargill’s success measures include engaged employees and enriched communities,” Adams said. “Our employees play a key role to our success and having healthy employees can do a lot toward meeting our vision.
“Workplace health promotion events, including the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, are some of the only opportunities that some colleagues have to interact with employees from different business areas,” said Adams. “Employees look forward to exploring different areas of the business and connecting with all employees.”
IMPACT BEYOND FINISH LINE
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation, in celebration of the record crowd in Singapore, made a donation to two worthy beneficiaries — Operation Smile and Mainly I Love Kids (MILK).
Operation Smile volunteers repair childhood facial deformities while building partnerships that advocate sustainable healthcare systems for children and families. MILK reaches out to disadvantaged children and youth from troubled or low-income families and impoverished communities in the hope of developing them into contributing members of society.
Gen Lin Foo of MOHH wins the men's title.
Operation Smile will use the donation to support a student leadership conference/carnival. The goal of the program is to instill a sense of volunteerism and “getting involved” amongst students. Not only will the students benefit from the experience, they will also be able to actively participate and better support missions across the region.
MILK's donation will provide the organization flexibility to meet the ever-changing needs of its programmes, including education support, fighting delinquency and regional humanitarian efforts.
“To have 14,000 people in Singapore put down their pens and turn off their computers at 5 p.m. and come down here in their colored shirts to run is just fantastic,” said Philip Lee, Senior Country Officer for J.P. Morgan in Singapore. “And we’re thrilled that the event is able to raise awareness for two great causes in MILK and Operation Smile. Helping less-advantaged children and giving those children the opportunity to succeed is something near and dear to J.P. Morgan.”
The 36th year of JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series continues on Thursday, May 24 with the 31st annual running of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Chicago. On that same evening and race course, the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship will be conducted, featuring the first place men's, women's and mixed teams from all 13 cities in the 2011 Series. With participants from Shanghai committed to compete, this will be the first time the Championship will feature runners from seven different countries.