The start of something big: Runners head out from the starting line in the 15th consecutive capacity race in the Boston J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
Fidelity's Cickay runs Series-leading time to join Raytheon's Lutz as Corporate Challenge champ
Results | Photo Gallery
Jessica Cickay is interviewed after her impressive victory. (Joe Rosen photos)
BOSTON, June 25, 2009 — If you are Jessica Cickay's supervisor at Fidelity Investments you might want to consider calling in sick or booking meetings out of the office on Monday.
“My main boss told me he would give me $1,000 if I won,” the 23-year-old Cickay noted moments after crossing the finish line as the top woman at the 26th annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston. “You better believe that come Monday I am going to be hassling him for that.”
It's not like this success will come as a surprise to any of Cickay's colleagues. She was a stellar high school runner at Council Rock North in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, qualifying one year for the Foot Locker cross country nationals. That is a very big deal in prep circles. Cickay parlayed that into a running career at Boston University and now calls Beantown home after landing “Probably the best entry level job a person out of college could ask for” at Fidelity.
And Fidelity — an enthusiastic supporter of the Corporate Challenge for years — is happy to have her. The mutual fund icon had 246 runners and walkers on the starting line, and most thought that Cickay, making her Corporate Challenge debut, was going to breeze to victory.
“I was nervous at work all day because they kept saying, ‘Oh, you're going to win’,” Cickay smiled. “It was a good kind of pressure.”
And the corporate affairs worker delivered, coming home in a stellar 18:42 to defeat Catherine Regan of Environmental Resources Management by 37 seconds. Cickay's time was the fastest women's time in the 2009 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, besting the 19:10 posted by Jenny Schultz of Deutsche Bundesbank on June 17 in Frankfurt.
“My one year anniversary at Fidelity is tomorrow,” Cickay said. “This is a great way to celebrate.”
For the sold-out crowd of 12,000 participants from 651 companies, the flawless weather was celebration enough. Massachusetts has endured one of its coolest, wettest Junes in recent history, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky at race time, and the temperature was conducive for both suntan lotion and fast times.
Justin Lutz breaks the finish line tape held by
Rob Dailey of J.P. Morgan.
Check out the men's results. The top five men all ran under 18 minutes, led by the inspirational Justin Lutz. The software engineer at Raytheon — known well in local running circles for his two tours of duty in Iraq — topped the field with an outstanding time of 16:53. He bested 2008 champion Dan Mazzocco of Reebok (17:29) and Andy Gardiner (17:33) of Procter & Gamble with a relentless approach.
“I knew my fitness was good so I took it out hard,” the 29-year old Lutz said. “There were a lot of good runners out there and I wanted to make them work for it. Knew I was going to hurt, but I wanted them to hurt too.”
Lutz won the 2005 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston, two months after finishing his second tour in Iraq. A Marine, he was deployed from January to September, 2003 and again from April to June, 2005. He was in motor transportation, running supply convoys all through Iraq.
“Those tours really taught me the importance of appreciating your time,” Lutz said. “When you are over there you are working constantly, getting attacked constantly. It gives value to your life, and it sure made me mature quick.”
The Marines also knew they had a world-class running talent in Lutz. In 2006-07, he took a leave of absence from Raytheon to train full-time for the Marines, with an eye on qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Trials. It didn't work out tangibly, as Lutz was riddled with injuries (stress fracture, torn hamstring, tendinitis). But it was an experience he will be forever grateful for.
“I thank them so much for the opportunity, the faith and belief they had in me,” Lutz said.
The bad news for local runners is that Lutz is now healthy, and hungrier than ever. Beyond working full-time at Raytheon, he is going for his MBA at Framingham State, and relishes his full plate.
“I find the more I do, the better I manage my time,” Lutz said.
Cickay, Lutz and the sold-out crowd were all running for event beneficiary Camp Harbor View, a summer day camp for children aged 11-14. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation made a donation for each entry to the camp that is run in partnership with the City of Boston and the Boys & Girls Club.
Philip Stern of Yet2.com and Claire Walton of Liberty Square Asset Management were the men's and women's Most Senior Executive winners, clocking 20:27 and 27:36 respectively.
The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston has sold out 15 consecutive years. The event has a heavy influence of financial services company — thus the presence of Massachusetts Deputy Treasurer Scott Campbell on the starting stage — but dozens of industry groups were represented. For example, a PR firm (Schneider Associates), an environmental advisory outfit (Eastern Research Group) and a product provider in the biopharmaceutical space (PHT Corporation) were the three winners in the creative T-Shirt contest, each earning a $500 donation to the charity of their choice.
Ten of the 12 events in the 2009 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series are now in the books, with only London (July 8-9) and San Francisco (September 16) remaining.
Linda O'Connor of Deloitte leads a large group of runners to the finish line in the 26th running of the Boston J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.