Kyle MacQueen of Wellington Management Company breaks into a big smile as she wins the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston in 19:38.
Great races, camaraderie, memories
highlight Boston's 18th straight sellout
Members of Wayfair ran in memory of Sylvan Walton, an analyst who died while snowboarding in February.
BOSTON, July 12, 2012 — There are many reasons for companies to enter the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
For the 107 participants of the Wayfair team in the 29th running of the event in Boston, they were running for Sylvan Walton.
Walton, an analyst at Wayfair, died in a snowboarding accident in Vermont this past February. All Wayfair team members wore special t-shirts with Walton’s initials prominently displayed.
“Remembering Sylvan in this way gives a special meaning to the run for all of Wayfair,” said Marcy Axelrad, Director of HR Operations for Wayfair, which provides what it describes as the “largest catalog of home items anywhere.”
Wayfair was one of 630 companies out for a 3.5-mile run and walk on a pristine evening in Boston’s Back Bay. The businesses brought out a total of 12,000 total participants, creating a celebration of competition, camaraderie and good, old-fashioned out of the office fun.
“We have a post-race party every year,” said Deborah Dean, Vice President, General Counsel — Americas for Dassault Systemes, “that is a blast!”
But before the revelry, fitness.
“Our Health and Wellness Program is extensive and involves company sponsored and encouraged activities including yoga, on-site zumba, boot camp, massage, nutrition seminars, discounts at various health clubs, cooking classes, health screenings, and the list goes on,” said Wayfair’s Axelrad. “So, very much so, the Corporate Challenge is a nice fit.”
The Corporate Challenge is indeed a nice fit with companies of all sizes in metro Boston and throughout New England. Leading the way in terms of company participation on this night was Liberty Mutual, with 230 total entrants. Fidelity was a close second with 204, followed by Novartis (146), Vertex (140) and Wellington Management (125). Event owner and operator JPMorgan Chase had 204 on the Charles Street starting line.
This is the 18th consecutive year the Boston race has reached a full capacity of 12,000, all held on the Boston Common.
A couple of newcomers — Tim Ritchie from Boston College and Kyle MacQueen of Wellington Management — showed the sold-out crowd the way. Ritchie, a member of the coaching staff for BC’s track and field team, won the men’s competition in 17:24 while MacQueen earned the women’s crowd in a speedy 19:38. It was the first Corporate Challenge tape break for both.
Tim Ritchie from Boston College wins the men's title in 17:24.
Ritchie, a star prep performer at Worcester’s Doherty High before excelling at BC, outdueled Zachary Schwartz of MechanicAdvisor.com, beating Schwartz to the chip-timed finish line by eight seconds. MacQueen had to put it in overdrive, outkicking Joanne Murphy of Puma in the last 100 meters to win by a scant two seconds.
“This is my first time entering the Corporate Challenge,” said Ritchie, “and it is a thrill to win it. It’s an outstanding event.”
MacQueen, who graduated from Simmons College in the Fenway section of Boston, lit up the finish line with a radiant smile. MacQueen was the 33rd overall female finisher at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October, and is listed as the second fastest woman marathoner to train with the Greater Boston Track Club.
For the second consecutive year, there are two beneficiaries for the Boston event — the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Horizons for Homeless Children. Funds provided to Emerald Necklace will support its Youth Leadership Program and Green Team, employing up to 50 urban youth who will work on restoration projects at their backyard parks. Horizons for Homeless Children is ear-marking its donation to provide quality early education and care to 300 young children in Boston who have experienced the trauma of homelessness. Both organizations had senior leadership at the event as Emerald Necklace President Julie Crockford addressed the sold-out crowd along with Asa Fanelli, CEO of Horizons for Homeless Children.
“Participation in the Corporate Challenge also aligns with Wayfair’s interest in community,” said Axelrad. “We have a history and culture of giving in which we encourage employees to get involved with non-profits. This is evidenced by company contributions to charitable organizations that employees are involved in, and through partnerships that have been formed with community organizations enabling employees to easily participate in organizations of interest. The fact that this race benefits the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and the Horizons for Homeless children fits in well with this aspect of Wayfair’s culture.”
GROWING AND WINNING
Dassault Systems came out for the event on a high. The company was honored with the French-American Chamber of Commerce New England’s 11th Annual Business Award in May, and is opening a state-of-the art/award-winning campus in Waltham, where it has 840 employees. One-hundred-fifteen of those entered the Corporate Challenge.
“I have been the team captain for 13 years,” said Dassault’s Dean. “Attendance has grown from four runners in 2000 to 115 this year! The company pays the entry fees for everyone, which is very generous, and we usually have several senior managers participate. The race provides wonderful camaraderie among our employees, visibility for our company, and a reason to get out and train!”
Vistaprint, a long-time, loyal supporter of the Corporate Challenge, had another solid contingent make their way into town from their Lexington headquarters.
“Vistaprint is an altruistic company by nature, so the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge with its charitable angle and team spirit fits with our culture,” said Greg Disco, a director and project manager. “It’s also a good opportunity for us to get visibility, show how creative we are, and how much we enjoy having fun. To be honest, our biggest focus right now is where we will be celebrating as a company after the race!”
Appropriately enough for a town that refers to itself as The Hub of education, creativity was in ample supply. AOL Advertising and Energi Insurance won the T-Shirt competition, as voted at www.facebook.com/bostoncorporatechallenge. Each will receive a $1,000 donation from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to donate to a charity of their choice.
Including the London opener and Boston nightcap on this day, the 2012 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series has now attracted a total of 228,784 total participants this calendar year and is on track to top 250,000 entrants for the first time in its 36-year history.
Three events remain in 2012 beginning with the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 12.
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at email@example.com).