For additional information in German, please go to www.jpmccc.de
Someone has to the have the last bib number in the world's largest world race, and Juergen Marx of Deutschbank did the honors for the 2007 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Frankfurt.
Frankfurt is a record-breaking hit
that rocks 'n' rolls with 67,270 entrants
Results | Photo Gallery
Christophe Chayriguet blows a kiss to the crowd as he wins the 2007 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Frankfurt.
FRANKFURT, June 13, 2007 – The Rolling Stones “A Bigger Bang Tour” came through Frankfurt on this idyllic Wednesday evening. But even Mick Jagger himself had to settle for being a warm-up act to the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge.
While a crowd of approximately 50,000 – short of an advance sell-out – settled down to watch rock and roll royalty in Sachssenhausen, across the River Main at the Old Opera Plaza a record 67,270 entrants from 2,446 companies gathered for the 17th annual Corporate Challenge.
The number of runners and walkers not only blew the Stones away, but it also set a new standard for size in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series. It is the largest one-day road race to date in 2007.
“That is a kind exaggeration, that we are more popular than the Rolling Stones,” laughed Karl-Georg Altenburg, CEO of JPMorgan in Germany. “But you can't argue that this is a world-record crowd. The New York City Marathon has 35,000 entrants, and we have nearly double that. It's a tremendous accomplishment.”
The previous record attendance in the 31-year history of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series was set last June here, with 62,390. Frankfurt has now drawn 50,000 or more participants in five of its 17 years and shows no sign of slowing down.
“We can accommodate up to 70,000,” said Rolf Mai, the representative for the Frankfurt police and one of the architects of the 3.5-mile course that features Frankfurt 's modern skyscrapers and centuries-old neighborhoods.
The course was a festival of energy, with tens of thousands of spectators blowing air-horns, tossing confetti, waving banners, and providing adrenaline to the participants who worked their way through muggy conditions.
“I've run world-class marathons and other big races,” said Birgitt Bohn of Alinea Financial Translations. “I've experienced nothing like this. To have 60,000 people chasing you, and to have spectators on every inch of the course is incredible.”
Bohn holds the unique distinction of being the fastest woman in the world's largest race. After finishing third in her Corporate Challenge debut last year, Bohn shaved 35 seconds off her time and easily downed multiple-time champion Katja Potthof of Roche Diagnostics. The financial translator broke the tape in 19:22, Potthof, 20:01, and Claudia Hille of Thomas Cook Travel was third in 20:05.
“My trainer ran with me and kept telling me there was a woman in front of me, that I really had to work hard,” Bohn said. “Well, it turns out I led right from the start. I guess my trainer was trying to motivate me. I'm happy with the result.”
The honor of being the first to break a tape on this historic night belonged to Christophe Chayriguet of Bongrain Deutschland, a producer of French specialty cheeses. Chayriguet, of Belgian descent, was raised in France and Germany, and raced collegiately for Kent State (indoors, 2003) in the United States. In his first Corporate Challenge, he defeated a star-studded men's field that included past champions Oliver Mintzlaff (third) and Matthias Koerner (fifth).
“I work in marketing for Bongrain so it was special to get out there and represent them well,” Chayriguet said. “I knew this was going to be a difficult race, and there was a solid pack of five (men) for the final 3000 meters or so. I have solid 1500 (3:46.8) and 800 ( 1:51 ) times, and most of the others in the pack were long distance runners. I knew if I was patient I could have a strong finish kick.”
Sure enough, Chayriguet ( 16:37 ) outdueled Nick Ehrhart of KFW Bankengruppe ( 16:39 ) in the final 50 meters. Mintzlaff ( 16:40 ), Jörn Harland of Main-Kinzig-Kreis ( 16:45 ) and Koerner ( 16:50 ) followed valiantly.
“I love my job, and I love my training,” said Chayriguet, neatly capturing the philosophy of the Corporate Challenge. “We had four buses of people here from my company and now we'll have a great time in the park.”
Members of race beneficiary Sporthilfe carry a banner as they make way along the Frankfurt route.
While the competition at the front of the pack was fierce, most were content just to revel in the environment. And the entrants will make a tangible difference in the lives of handicapped children, ages 12-17, particularly those with an interest in sports. JPMorgan and beneficiary Deutsche Sporthilfe have designed a multi-tiered program called “JPMorgan Helps: Handicapped Kids in Motion” which will receive initial funding of €130,000 from this event.
The program will have three focus areas – special coaching for young athletes who are hearing impaired; supporting handicapped students in sports-focused boarding schools; and providing special fitting for boats to accommodate handicapped rowers. The innovative plan received the endorsement of German President Horst Koehler.
Dr. Michael Ilgner accepted the donation from JPMorgan's Altenburg in a pre-race ceremony that was broadcast live on HR3, just one of more than 70 credentialed media outlets that sent reports throughout Germany, Austria and France.
Media love reporting on numbers, and there were plenty of gaudy ones – 70,000 bananas consumed, 18,000 litres of mineral water, 30,000 liters of sports drink. It took more than 300 buses to bring in participants, 21 trucks to transport the course barriers, and the participants came from over 320 cities and towns.
Six companies had 1,000 or more participants, including Allianz/Dresdner Bank (1,612), Deutsche Bank (1,447), Siemens (1,180), Deutsche Lufthansa (1,066), Commerzbank (1,050) and Deutsche Telekom (1,047). Dozens of other companies had the minimum of four participants, proving that the event is all-inclusive.
Creatively, Ikea Deutschland, MOW Architekten, and Ingenieuburo Huss & Feickert were at the front of the pack as the three companies were winners in the T-Shirt contest. Each will receive a donation from JPMorgan Chase to designate in their name to a charity of their choice.
“I'm proud to say,” summed up Altenburg, “that Frankfurt was re-named JPMorgan Chase City tonight.”