25th running of Corporate Challenge
Heidi Miller, President, J.P. Morgan International, congratulates women's winner Stacey Ward (left) and men's champion Nicholas Torry at the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in London. Photos: Ingrid Abery.
produces winners on course, in marquees
Fast starters lead out some 13,000 participants in the 2011 London Corporate Challenge.
LONDON, July 6, 2011 — The first night of the 25th running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Battersea Park featured a pair of impressive champions. Nicholas Torry of Commerzbank broke the men’s finish tape in an impressive 16:45 and Stacey Ward of The Capita Group was the women’s winner in 19:50.
But while that speedy duo was unmatched by anybody else in the sold-out crowd of 13,000 from 332 companies, there were intangible benefits to be found all throughout this emerald masterpiece on a breezy but comfortable night.
“The thing that I like about this event is that it breaks down a few barriers,” said Mark Brady, Managing Director, Sales Finance for Rolls-Royce. “Before we came here today, we had several meetings and we’re seeing the same folks tonight. The only difference is we are not seeing them in a grey suit.”
Rolls-Royce had 30-percent of its London-based workforce in Battersea Park. They booked a hospitality marquee, enjoyed a delicious post-race spread of food and beverage, and built relationships in and out of the company.
“This is practically the only opportunity of the year where we get to do something out of the workplace together,” Brady said. “From that standpoint, it is invaluable. And then when you combine that with the fact that we see so many familiar business faces, it makes sense for somebody like me to take part. I’m not a runner, but a large part of my job is raising money, so it’s very worthwhile to step out of my comfort zone.”
Exchanging their usual grey suits for running outfits, members of the Rolls-Royce team gather for a group photo.
The capacity crowd symbolized the excellent worldwide support of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series. Including London, the Series has attracted a total of 228,082 total entrants this calendar year. There is a strong possibility that when the 2011 Series ends in Sydney this coming November, it could top 250,000 total participants for the first time in history.
The five largest companies in the field on this night were Morgan Stanley with 936 entrants (up significantly from 777 in 2010); Deutsche Bank with 778 (up from 597); and Citi with 447. UBS had an excellent turnout of 352 runners and walkers and PricewaterhouseCoopers lined up 330.
In addition to the business networking, this evening also provided a family reunion of sorts.
Five-time J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge participant Bengt Grundberg, European Marketing Manager at cross-border law firm McGuireWoods London LLP, persuaded his daughter, niece and nephew to participate on this night in Battersea, representing four different London corporate teams all on the same day.
Grundberg’s daughter Louise Grundberg works for MVision Private Equity Advisers as PA to the CEO and Louise organised her firm’s first Corporate Challenge participation. His niece, Lucy Grundberg, is IB Contracts Supervisor with IG Index, a city spread betting firm, and another first-time company. Nephew Christopher Grundberg is Equity Research Analyst with UBS and where he is an investment advisor on the European software sector.
“We all had different motivations for coming out,” Grundberg said. “Louise wanted to beat me to the finish line while Lucy was keen to add a Corporate Challenge finisher t-shirt to her collection. Christopher is a veteran of many similar challenges, including organising Accelerrace Challenge. And the beneficiary was a great motivator for all of us.”
That beneficiary was Barnardo's, a not-for-profit organization that works with some of the most disadvantaged children and young people across the U.K. Funds raised through the event will go to support their vital work in London and the South East.
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation, in celebration of the Corporate Challenge, will make a donation to Barnardo’s and all participants also have the opportunity to donate through a fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/JPMorganCorporateChallenge.
Martin Field, UK Director of Fundraising for Barnardo’s, thanks the race participants.
“Recently I was speaking to one of young children that we’ve helped, and I told him I would be speaking to 13,000 people tonight,” said Martin Field, UK Director of Fundraising for Barnardo’s. “I asked him, his name was Chris, what message he would like me to tell these people. Chris said, ‘I can’t believe that 13,000 that don’t know my name are willing to run to help me. Tell them that they are amazing.’ So that is the message I give to every Corporate Challenge participant tonight — You’re amazing.”
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The front-of-the-pack runners might been amazed by the efforts of Torry and Ward. Torry, who also won the first night of the Corporate Challenge in 2010 in 17:22, shaved more than a half-minute off his time this July. He crossed in 16:49, making a stellar effort by KPMG’s James McMullan (17:29) look ordinary by comparison.
“James is a terrific runner,” Torry said. “I knew I had to give it everything I had to stay ahead.”
Ward’s winning effort took 19:50, with Hayley Beard of Asics second in 20:19 and Lisa DaSilva of RPS third in 20:38. The women’s winning time on this night in 2010 was 20:56. Generally, times were a bit swifter on this night as the cool conditions were favorable to a fast track.
Another sold-out crowd of 13,000 will gather on July 7 for the second night of racing, with the fastest men’s, women’s and mixed teams from both evenings combined earning invitations to the 2012 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship.