Three Marcum runners hold up a strip of photos they took at the Rockport booth at the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston.
17th straight capacity crowd heats up
cool night at Boston Corporate Challenge
Andrew Letherby of New Balance breaks the tape in 16:48 to win the Men's individual title at the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. Below, Jennifer Campbell of GZA Geoenvironmental wins the women's title in 19:17. Aynsley Floyd photos.
BOSTON, June 2, 2011 — “We’re All About Sustainability” read the front of the team t-shirt designed by Weston & Sampson, an environmental and infrastructure engineering firm. It was a perfectly appropriate theme for the company to use at the 28th annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston.
“I’m a landscape architect,” explained Gene Bolinger, a Vice President at Weston & Sampson. “And I’ve been very fortunate to have worked on projects here in the beautiful Boston Common. So participating in this race has special meaning on different levels.”
The Corporate Challenge had a familiar feel in many ways. It had the usual sell-out crowd of 12,000 participants, the 17th consecutive year that the 3.5-mile team road race has reached capacity. Representatives from more than 650 companies ran out-and-back on tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue. The bars and restaurants in the Back Bay were standing room-only following the race.
But the presence of a pair of first-time beneficiaries — the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Horizons for Homeless Children — proved to be a real selling point for Weston & Sampson.
“This is an opportunity to get away from the rigors of the office and do something terrific for the community,” Bolinger explained. “We get some exercise and feel good about each other. Horizons for Homeless Children does great work and we have personal experience with Emerald Necklace Conservancy.”
The capacity gathering featured large teams from iconic Boston companies such as Fidelity Investments (279 entries), Liberty Mutual (156), Staples (142) and New Balance (113). And it was the latter that really proved that it knows its business. The running business, that is.
New Balance, based just west of downtown on the Mass Pike, dominated the field, placing three of the top four finishers overall. Andrew Letherby, a 37-year-old Australian with an impressive résumé on the roads, was the male winner, breaking the tape in 16:48. Teammates Harry Norton and Sean Burris were third and fourth respectively in 17:07 and 17:08.
Raytheon’s Justin Lutz, a former Boston winner and JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship participant, was a solid second in 16:59.
Jennifer Campbell, 28, of GZA Geoenvironmental was an impressive winner in the women’s division, crossing the finish line in 19:17. She bested Melissa Nash of Fidelity by 23 seconds. Kyle Linn MacQueen of Wellington Management also broke 20 minutes (19:55) to finish third.
This isn’t the first time Campbell has had success in a big-time Boston race. In 2010 she won the Boston Athletic Association 5K in 16:52, breaking the course record by 44 seconds.
Jessica Nazarian from Monotype Imaging adjusts her bib number before the race. For the 17th straight year, the race reached capacity.
The efforts by all participants was made all the more impressive by the strong, 20 mph winds that enveloped the course and staging area. But nobody was complaining about the grey, cool temperatures, less than 24 hours after residents 100 miles away in Western Massachusetts were recovering from a freak, deadly tornado.
Marc White, CEO for the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in the New England region and the host for the evening, applauded the “tireless work” of the company captains in pre-race remarks and that notion was seconded by Noel Swartz, a partner at Marcum, LLP, one of the nation’s largest independent accounting firms.
“It is a lot of work to prepare your company to run in the Corporate Challenge, but it’s well worth it,” Swartz said. “It’s worth it for the captains because they are helping to do something good for the community, good for Boston, and good for our company.
Runners start off in cool, windy conditions at Boston Common.
“There are people from Marcum here tonight that will have trouble running or walking the 3.5 miles,” Swartz continued. “But they will leave with a sense of accomplishment and excitement that they were part of something worthwhile.”
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at email@example.com)
While the 12,000 participants stretched their limits on the course, there were some creative types that had personal bests in the design room. Nixon Peabody and Vista Print were voted winners of the T-Shirt contest, with the online judging coming on the Boston J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge’s new Facebook page — www.facebook.com/bostoncorporatechallenge.
The 35th year of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge continues on Thursday, June 9 with the 31st running of the Buffalo Chase Corporate Challenge at Delaware Park.