Beautiful, lush Delaware Park is once again the setting for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, scheduled for Thursday, June 14.  Register your company team now.

It’s time to put winter in the rear-view mirror, Buffalo, and plan for one of the staple events of a Western New York summer.

Registration is now open for the 2018 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Buffalo. The 38th annual running in Delaware Park will be held on Thursday, June 14, with a 6:45 p.m. race start.

The Corporate Challenge continues to thrive. The 2017 attendance was 12,508 runners and walkers from 359 companies. That was the third-largest Corporate Challenge in the last 18 years, the fifth-largest overall, and the biggest crowd since 2013. The record is 13,963, set in 2000, a mark that will be threatened this year.

Registration for the Corporate Challenge is $37 per entrant and each must be part of a company team. Registration will close when capacity is reached or Tuesday, May 15, whichever occurs first.

Hospitality reservations will be available on Thursday, March 29. The tent reservation will use the one-vendor solution introduced in 2017 and will be executed through the J. P. Morgan Corporate Challenge website. More information will be provided to captains by March 29.

The Corporate Challenge is truly a celebration of the Western New York workforce, and the participating companies are an eclectic mix of large corporations, locally-based businesses and retailers, school districts and entrepreneurial companies. Wegmans Food Markets had the largest number of participants, with 707, and nine other companies entered 150 or more: Ingram Micro (532 total entrants), Tops Markets (384), Kaleida Health (325), Fidelis Care (283), HSBC (277), Buffalo Public Schools (176), M&T Bank (169), Elderwood Administrative Services (166), and Citigroup (150).

Thomas Ryan and Lucas Mesmer serve as co-captains for the Cobham Mission Systems team. They are both Sr. Mechanical Engineers, and feel their time is well-spent organizing their colleagues.

“We use emails, flyers posted around the company, and word of mouth,” Ryan said of their recruitment strategy. “We really hype it up and create a fun, competitive culture that allows casual walkers, and runners as well. We also had a t-shirt design contest that drove early participation. And food provided to employees after the race was a big winner as well.”

Ryan and Mesmer make it clear to their Cobham colleagues that they do not have to be skilled runners or walkers to participate. They can simply feel pride by attending.

“Mass email to all our colleagues in 2017 was very effective,” added Mesmer. “We really went all out trying to make sure every employee knew about the opportunity. We really promote this as a work event where employees can have fun and do more together besides work. We will be promoting this to non-runners who just want to attend and enjoy the food and t-shirts. It has been very rewarding.”

Praxair (men), Buffalo Bills (women) and Buffalo Rehab Group (mixed) were the fittest companies in 2017 and will be representing Buffalo in the 2018 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship, to be held June 21 in Boston.