Christopher Spooner of Interactive Data Corp. breaks the finish line tape held by Doug Blonsky of event beneficiary Central Park Conservancy to win the second night of racing at the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. (Photos by Joe Vericker, Joe Rosen: Photo Bureau)
Champions enjoy winning for companies
on second night of racing in
Megan Guiney breaks the tape held by Phil Bleser, Managing Director, Global Corporate Bank, North America, for J.P. Morgan to win the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
NEW YORK, June 16, 2011 — There was a very good reason why Megan Guiney of Real Estate Capital Partners had an extra spring in her step last night at the 35th annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Central Park.
In three weeks, Guiney will be marrying fiancé Joe Tursi and then jetting off for a honeymoon to Bora Bora. Tursi was behind the barriers last night, and proudly rooted Guiney home to a first-place finsh in the women’s division. Guiney’s time of 20:27 was nearly a minute better than runner-up Bevin Peters of Goldman Sachs (21:22).
But while Guiney may be thrilled about her upcoming nuptials, it was her Real Estate Capital Partners teammates that gave her extra inspiration in this race, the second of two Corporate Challenges in Central Park.
“I run for New York Athletic Club and have a lot of experience in races,” Guiney said. “But it is really nice to run a race representing my company. I get so nervous for this race because everyone at work is asking how I am going to do. I love winning for all of them.”
Guiney, who works in investment management for Real Estate Capital Partners and proudly wore her company t-shirt last night, also broke the Corporate Challenge winners’ tape in 2009. She also has 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishes, so she is quite familiar with the front of the pack.
“When you are in the women’s race, you are surrounded by men the entire time and you’re not quite sure how you are doing,” Guiney said. “So this time I just took it out hard to take no chances. I held on the last mile and one-half. This one is for Real Estate Capital Partners.”
Members of Schulte Roth & Zabel show their spirit before the race.
Jessie Mizzone of Matthews & Co. (21:59), Beth Reed of Convergex Group (22:12) and Fortress Investment Group’s Celene Menschel (22:31) rounded out the top five.
There was a first-time men’s winner, Christopher Spooner of Interactive Data Corp. He had an easy run of it as well, coming across the Bethesda Fountain finish line in 17:08, well ahead of Robert Hartnett of State Street Bank (17:42).
Spooner, a central Pennsylvania high school star who ran collegiately at Duke for four years, is somewhat new to the Manhattan running scene. “Nobody at Interactive really knew about my running,” he said. “They just saw me leaving the office a lot in running shorts.”
Then Spooner, who trains with the Central Park Track Club, entered the New York Marathon last October. It was his debut at the 26.2-mile distance, and he covered it in a jaw-dropping 2:25.
“That sort of validated me as a runner in the office,” he said. “They don’t look at me strangely anymore when I go out for a training run and then kind of expected me to win today.”
Sidley Austin gathers for a team photo.
Spooner, an operations analyst at Interactive Data, relishes the opportunity he has to excel as an adult runner.
“I did well at Duke, making the regionals three out of four years, but I never reached the national scene like I wanted to,” he said. “Running now with Central Park Track Club, with the awesome support they provide, gives me a chance to get to that next level. I am going to run the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in October and the Houston Marathon in January with an eye on the Olympics Trials.”
Peter Bartlett of Goldman Sachs (17:43) was third in the men’s race, followed by Jeffrey Rios of Akf Trading (18:13) and Jon Seaton from Soros Fund Management (18:25).
Doug Blonsky of event beneficiary Central Park Conservancy fired the starting horn and the Conservancy will reap the benefits of the hard work of the sold-out crowd of 15,000 participants.
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation, in honor of the Corporate Challenge participants, will make a donation to the Central Park Conservancy. The donation will specifically target the work of 250 gardeners; arborists; water, soil, turf specialists and other professionals who do the important work of keeping Central Park clean, green, and beautiful for the enjoyment of its nearly 38 million annual visitors.
Central Park was the site of the first Corporate Challenge in 1977 and is responsible for the Corporate Challenge’s quirky 3.5-mile distance. In that first race, only the south loop of the park (exactly 1.75 miles) was available, and race organizers decided to do it twice. Presto, a distance that has stuck for 35 years.
And Blonsky appreciates what JPMorgan Chase has meant to Central Park.
Adam Wolf of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (left in blue jersey), takes a quick look at his competition - James Mangion of BNY Mellon - at the start of the race.
“This park is gorgeous, but it doesn’t take care of itself alone,” Blonsky said. “It takes corporate leaders like JPMorgan Chase, year after year, to pour its generosity into the park and make it something the world can treasure.”
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Goldman Sachs had the largest contingent of runners over the two nights, entering 877 into Thursday’s race. They were followed by 849 from American Express, 776 from Bloomberg, 701 from Morgan Stanley and 583 from Credit Suisse. Other companies with more than 300 entries included News Corp. (457), RBC Capital Markets (400), New York Life (400), Barclays Capital (352); Deutsche Bank (352) and UBS (300). Owner and operator JPMorgan Chase & Co. showed its pride by bringing 1,076 to the starting line on Wednesday.
The diversity of companies was striking, as the hospitality areas were filled with outfits from dozens of industry groups, including retailer Coach (251 entrants), credit report titan Experian (69), publishing giant Macmillan (50), media research leader The Nielsen Company (201) and M&A expert Schulte Roth & Zabel (100).
More than a thousand fans visited www.facebook.com/corporatechallenge and voted on the T-Shirt competition. The social community chose Cantor Fitzgerald and SapientNitro as the winners and both will now receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
Check back to www.jpmorganchasecc.com in the next week to learn who the team champions were from this year’s J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Central Park. The top men’s, women’s and mixed squads will earn a trip to the 2012 J.P. Morgan Championship, at a site to be determined.