With veterans from race beneficiary Honor Flight Syracuse helping to hold the tape, Andrew Foxenberg from US Materials Handling is the first finisher in 17:19.
Weather takes back seat;
Syracuse puts its party on
Managers from Tops Friendly Markets indicate the number of participants - 436 - on their team at a sunrise televsion interview at Onondaga Lake Park.
SYRACUSE, June 9, 2015 — This Central New York community has a tradition of producing outstanding television journalists, superior basketball players, and relentless winters.
With an average snowfall of nearly 10 feet, all of Onondaga County eagerly anticipates the annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge®. It signals a comfortable, peaceful summer ahead, perhaps full of picnics featuring Dinosaur BBQ (another Syracuse staple).
Not surprisingly, a superior crowd of 7,864 runners and walkers from 278 companies registered for the 33rd annual running.
Race day dawned stormy, however, with heavy rain blanketing the greater Syracuse area and the Onondaga Lake Parkway staging area. But this time Mother Nature blinked, and by the 6:26 p.m. race time (tweaked by a minute to accommodate live TV), the rain had stopped, and the party and competition was on.
Exactly 17 minutes and 19 second later, Andrew Foxenberg from US Materials Handling was breaking the men's finish tape, earning his third Syracuse J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge individual title. He outdueled Jake McAndrew of Bristol-Myers Squibb (17:22) and Patrick Geoghegan of Syracuse City School District (17:39).
Katie Mutter, running for Crouse Hospital, was the women's winner with an impressive time of 21:22. Joanna Duffy of Harris RF was the runner-up in 21:49 with Tina Hunt of Health Fitness third in 21:54.
Katie Mutter of Crouse Hospital wins the women's title in 21:22.
And while the competition draws the headlines, it was the camaraderie that was actually the bigger story on this night. Especially when the sun broke through the clouds in the 7 p.m. hour, gratefully accepted by the entrants in the hundreds of hospitality tents.
Tops Friendly Markets generated the largest participation in the event, bringing an impressive contingent of 436 entries, edging its main grocery competitor, Wegmans (412 entries). Syracuse University had 160, followed by Crouse Hospital (148), and National Grid (143).
Participation in the Corporate Challenge can lead to a certain level of celebrity. Tops brought a team of managers -- including Kathy Allen, Joe Darrah, Pete Ely, Ed Walker and Jeff Ludwig -- to Onondaga Lake Park at an overcast sunrise for live television interviews with WSYR-TV and TWC News. Elisabeth Dwyer of Raymour & Flanigan also made the early morning trek to Liverpool to promote the event on the TV stations.
"This is our fourth year participating in the Corporate Challenge, and we've grown from 45 participants to 121 this year," said Dwyer, Raymour & Flanigan's Director of Public Relations. "Our main focus is team building and helping each other to be active. It is an opportunity to bring our campus and retail store teams together in the Syracuse area."
The entrants were contributing to a very patriotic cause. J.P. Morgan will make a donation on behalf of all Corporate Challenge participants to Honor Flight Syracuse, which has embarked on an ambitious mission to transport veterans from World War II and beyond to Washington, D.C., at no cost to them, to visit the memorials dedicated to their honor and sacrifice. The donation will be specifically earmarked to support Honor Flight's Mission 6 on October 3, 2015, when veterans will travel from Syracuse Airport on a chartered flight to Washington.
Runners start the 33rd J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Syracuse on an evening when the rains that hit the area earlier stopped.
"Our beneficiary partnership with Honor Flight Syracuse is a logical extension of JPMorgan Chase's larger role in supporting veterans and military partners in Central New York," said Mark Allen, Upstate NY Region Executive, Commercial Banking. "JPMorgan Chase is the Founding Partner of Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans & Military Families, so it is very prideful to have Honor Flight with us tonight and realize our Corporate Challenge participants will help make Honor Flight's next mission a success."
Ed Pietruniak has captained the Tessy Plastics team for eight years and has witnessed first-hand the business community spirit the Corporate Challenge produces.
"We have 55 people that will run this year, and it seems like there are more and more every year," Pietruniak said. "Our employees especially like running into others from different companies that they may not have seen in years. It's great to see so many Central New York companies getting together on Onondaga Lake Parkway and it's great to show that Tessy is supporting the local community as a group."
Members of Raymour & Flanigan give a cheer at their tent. The team has grown from 45 to 121 members.
The goodwill extends to the region's classrooms, as well. A large number of school districts participate in the Syracuse event and it serves as an unofficial celebration for the end of the academic year.
"This is a good activity for staff to get together and have a good time outside of the classroom and office," said Christian Hodge, company captain for Syracuse City Schools, which registered 110 employees. "We have district level administration, teachers, secretaries and other support staff. We have serious runners to people that come to walk and have a good time. We are all happy to come together to represent the district together."
The 39th season of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series heads 300 miles to the east on Route I-90 for our Boston race on Thursday, June 11.