Catlin Group team members gather for a pre-race photo at the 2012 London J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
Capacity crowd from 310 companies
gets into spirit of Corporate Challenge
The husband and wife team of Phil and Emily Wicks continued their winning ways at the London J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. Emily won her fourth individual title, while Phil captured his fifth championship. Below, the champions pose with British Olympian Steve Cram (left) and Emilio Saracho, Head of Investment Banking, EMEA, for the event owner and operator, J.P. Morgan.
LONDON, July 11, 2012 — When registration opened for the 26th running of the London J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in February, global insurer and reinsurer Catlin Group was one of the first companies to register a team.
“Because people had so much fun last year, the facilities are great and everyone really enjoys themselves afterwards, we wanted to get going early,” said Paul Howard, a partnership manager at Catlin. “There are not too many events where you can get people together — both runners and also those who want to get fit. We are pleased to support our employees participating in this event.”
Catlin was wise to get in early, as the Corporate Challenge quickly reached full capacity. A total of 13,000 entrants from 310 companies made their way to the banks of the River Thames and, after a brief rain, were rewarded with a sun-splashed finish in this annual celebration of corporate fitness and camaraderie.
“We have everyone participating from our director, to our receptionist and even our Head of Finance,” Catlin’s Howard said. “We have some regular runners with our fastest running 18 minutes to our slowest runner at 43 minutes. It’s a good range of runners.”
Simon Clark, the global head of legal at Tullett Prebon, says the lure of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge “speaks for itself” and that is why it annually fills its allotment of entrants.
“A few years ago we had 50-60 people participating and now we have 185,” Clark said. “This promotes great team building across all parts of our organization.”
In two weeks the world will come to London for the Summer Olympics, and some British athletic royalty brought that spirit to the participants. Steve Cram, MBE, silver medalist in the 1500 meters at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and gold medalist in the same event in the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki, was on hand in support of event beneficiary Barnardo's and to put an extra spring in the step of all participants.
Particularly quick afoot were the individual winners — the husband and wife team of Phil and Emily Wicks. Phil completed the 5.6km Battersea Park course in 17:13, representing Legal & General. Emily earned the women’s individual crown while running for employer Punter Southall in 20:05.
The couple is Corporate Challenge royalty in their own right. Phil was breaking a Corporate Challenge tape in London for the third consecutive year and fifth overall. Emily was winning her fourth individual Corporate Challenge crown.
“We love doing the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge as it is such a great atmosphere and we get to run with our colleagues which is so much fun,” commented Emily.
There were some blue-chip companies with huge contingents on the green, somewhat soggy, expanse of Battersea. Goldman Sachs had the evening’s largest group, with 763 runners and walkers. It was quickly followed by Morgan Stanley (756), HSBC (752), PricewaterhouseCoopers (400) and UBS (360).
A TRUE GROWTH STORY
GE Capital is a relative newcomer to the Corporate Challenge, entering this year for just the fourth time. But it quickly realized the event was a good fit with its company culture and registered 228 runners and walkers on this overcast night.
While Michael Hueber of Google (2013) presses ahead, Rebecca Hanifin of Ernst & Young (1921) glances at her watch at the start of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in London's Battersea Park.
“Our senior management is very supportive, they see it as a great opportunity to position ourselves amongst our peers in the financial industry,” said Tim Jones, GE Capital’s company captain. “It’s a great networking event internally for all six of our offices around the M25 to get together. This is our biggest event that we take part in, and it’s become the one event that all our staff asks about every year.”
Beazley, a specialist insurance company, has recently caught the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge bug, as well. It debuted in 2006 with a modest team of six and had an impressive 90 on the starting line for this running.
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“Our senior management actively encourages us to get involved, they pay for our entry fee and provide us with t-shirts for the event,” said James Wright, head of US IT for Beazley. “It creates a friendly rivalry between the different departments and we have a leaderboard that we send around to all our participants the next day to let them know how they got on.”
“It’s very inspiring to see so many people participating in tonight’s race with their colleagues and peers,” said Emilio Saracho, Head of Investment Banking, EMEA, for the event owner and operator, J.P. Morgan. “There’s a real spirit of camaraderie and competition. Being active and contributing to a good cause at the same time is what the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge is all about.”
The capacity crowd also participated do make a difference for the event beneficiary, Barnardo’s, a not-for-profit that works with disadvantaged children and young people across the U.K. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation will make a donation on behalf of the Corporate Challenge participants and each company and entrant had the option to establish a fundraising page.
“Over 2,000 children and young people in London and South East will receive the tools they need to really turn their lives around through the funds donated by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and raised by the participants,” said Anne Marie Carrie, Barnardo’s CEO. “We were absolutely delighted to be chosen as the beneficiary of this great event for a second year running.”
The community element was a big draw for the global law firm Linklaters, which had 72 employees entered.
“Linklaters just recently won the Big Society Award for community investment,” said Chris Skeet, who works in Group Financial Control. “We do a lot of work in the borough of Hackney, with our staff members actively getting involved in helping children to read and we also help teenagers with interview skills, it’s great to contribute and help your local community and to see what a tangible investment you can make.”
There will be more give-back as not-for-profit A Little Gesture, A Great Help won the T-Shirt contest voting on www.facebook.com/londoncorporatechallenge and earned a $1,000 donation to make to the charity of its choice.
Another sell-out crowd of 13,000 will head to Battersea on Thursday night for the second night of fitness and camaraderie.