Almost 12,000 participants form a long, colorful line back into downtown Singapore at the start of the 2010 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
With nearly 12,000 entrants, Singapore
offers plenty of chances for camaraderie
Results | Photo Gallery
SINGAPORE, May 6, 2010 — Camaraderie and team-building are in vogue in the Singapore business community.
The seventh annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® attracted an outstanding crowd of 11,753 participants from 369 companies on a typically tropical evening in this island nation. That represents 18-percent growth from the 2009 gathering and indicates that businesses are investing in the work/life balance of their employees.
At the very least, it shows that Singaporeans relish the opportunity to run 5.6 kilometers on city streets, then party post-race at the unique Formula 1 Pit Building with its spectacular views of the skyline and Marina Bay.
The leaders of the pack were a familiar face and a newcomer. Vivian Tang, representing CIMB-GK Securities, won her sixth Corporate Challenge women's individual title, breaking the finish line tape in 21:42. Ian Stuart of Vestas Asia Pacific earned his first Corporate Challenge men's crown, clocking a swift 19:24.
“It's only 5.6km, but it's a fast and sharp course,” Tang said. “This is always an enjoyable race because it's after work, and everybody comes here to relax. I'm so glad this race comes back to Singapore every year.”
For Stuart, the unique race course was the attraction. “It was great, as it incorporated the F1 route,” he said.
Stuart out-dueled Chris Yates of BP Singapore, who was second in 19:35. Tang won by a more comfortable margin over Natasha Buckley of Tanglin Trust School, whose runner-up time was a solid 22:29. (story continues below).
Photos of three of the 369 companies who participated in the 2010 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Singapore reflect the team-building and fun of post-race parties on a tropical evening in the beautiful island nation. At top, is PriceWaterhouseCoopers. At right is SAP. Below is Barclays. A field of 11,753 participated, marking an 18-percent increase in entries from 2009. The Asian Civilisations Museum and MILK: Mainly I Love Kids were race beneficiaries.
All participants enjoyed — in a Corporate Challenge first in Singapore — computerized chip timing. And the first-place men's, women's and mixed teams will be invited to participate in the 2011 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship, site and date to be announced.
Laurence Kearney of Barclays wasn't among the top finishers, but he summed up the mission of the race nicely.
“It's a real chance to show team spirit outside the office, and that leads to team spirit inside the office,” he said. “People, no matter what their time is, are all giving their best efforts. Working together, we all can get amazing things done.”
Some of Singapore 's largest companies were out in full force for the event, including 511 participants from Starhub, 403 representing PricewaterhouseCoopers and 310 from Citibank.
Breaking the finish line tape are individual winners Ian Stuart of Vestas Asia Pacific (above) and five-time champion Vivian Tang of CIMB-GK Securities.
“Sometimes we just need these things to remind you to exercise,” said PWC team captain Belinda Neo. “This is a great way to bond. In the office today, everybody was excited about the run. Then you are out on the course, and you hear people encouraging you. It is great.”
“We have always been emphasizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and encourage our staff to take part in sporting activities,” Carol Ng, StarHub's captain, noted. “I find the whole Corporate Challenge experience energizing, with a huge crowd together and bonding.”
Adding to the artistic element of the evening were the two winning companies in the T-Shirt competition. AposTherapy's entry won the creative category while SAP won in the Teaming Up For A Greener Tomorrow category. Each company will receive a donation from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to allocate to a charity of their choice.
“The Corporate Challenge is a very good platform for our employees to network,” Irene Chui, company captain for SAP, said. “We hope to keep up with a consistent level of creativity for the event, if not higher.”
The focus on producing an environmentally-friendly event was evident at all water stations on site. Organizers partnered with NEWater, a recycled and highly-purified water made through sustainable technology.
Participants in the event could also feel good about their contributions to the community. The Corporate Challenge made a donation for each entry to two worthy beneficiaries — the Asian Civilisations Museum and MILK: Mainly I Love Kids.
This all proved to be an attractive package for Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister for Community Development, Youth & Sports. He played a leadership role in embracing the Corporate Challenge's mission of a work/life balance, taking time out of his Parliament schedule to run in the race.
“Dr. Balakrishnan being here illustrates the kind of commitment from the government that makes hosting this event meaningful,” Philip Lee, Senior Country Manager for J.P. Morgan in Singapore, said.
Lee and J.P. Morgan have grown this event from an initial 6,766 participants in 2004 to this throng of nearly 12,000. The event originally was staged from 2004-08 on The Padang, but moved its primary post-race area to the F1 Pit Building to accommodate the burgeoning crowds.
Raymond Lim of Citibank summed up the evening as he enjoyed the friendly, relaxed setting in the Corporate Challenge Hospitality Village.
“Yeah, it's all good,” he smiled. “The people are good, the food is good, and the music is good.”
Chicago is the next step for the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, with a May 27 race date at Grant Park.