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A record crowd of 8,335 starts the 2015 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney's Centennial Park.

39th year of Series capped
with largest Sydney crowd

Lucy Starrat of Seven defends her women's title at the 2015 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney. Starrat ran 19:08.

SYDNEY, November 11, 2015 — It's another step forward for the traditional closing event of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series.

The 39th year of the Series ended — as it has annually since 2000 — at Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia. A new city-record 8,335 runners from 341 companies took part, covering the 5.6km race course in comfortable conditions, safely separated from nagging rain that lingered throughout the afternoon.

The attendance marked the fourth consecutive year that Sydney had set a new record mark for total entrants.

ANZ won the Largest Participation Award with 224 entries with 11 other companies having 100 or more — Macquarie (218), Scentre Group (214), Westpac (163), Rabobank (138), Perpetual (130), Insurance Australia Group (120), American Express (114), Page Group (110), Mercer (106), UBS (106) and Lend Lease (102).

"My colleagues and I enjoy meeting different colleagues across other banks through this event," said ANZ company captain Ben Rowlands. "ANZ promotes an active lifestyle, and my colleagues and I enjoy taking part in that. Everyone enjoys the pre-race training, but also the social community aspect after the finish."

Westpac company captain Lachlan Oakes finds the Corporate Challenge valuable for its ability to bring multiple divisions within a large company together.

Members of Scentre Group share in the good times of the 2015 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney. With 214 participants, Scentre Group was one of numerous large teams helping Sydney set an attendance record.

"We enjoy doing the Corporate Challenge, and getting to know colleagues from other areas," Oakes said. "It gets people to engage in fitness activity and promotes good health and wellbeing. We enjoy competing against other companies and afterwards having a good night out together as a company. The end of the race is definitely a favorite, with the great catering, and post-race festivities and socializing with others."

Runners familiar with the front of the pack won the top individual honors.

Jeffrey Hunt of Macquarie Group ran a superb 16:15 in 2014, but was beaten to the tape by Australian Olympian Martin Dent from the Department of Industry. With Dent not entering this year, the path was clear for Hunt, and he won his first J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge men's title in 16:38.

Jeffrey Hunt of Macquarie Group breaks the tape to win the men's title at the 2015 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney..

Quentin Reeve of Koda Capital was second in 16:55 with Morgan Stanley's John Bartlett taking third in 17:06.

"I did the (New South Wales) 3km Championship on the weekend, and didn't expect to hit the lead today," Hunt said. "But the weather was good for racing conditions.

"People want to run well but it has more of a social element to it," Hunt continued. "Compared to other races this was different as my work mates got involved too. This event is unique in that it's a party and social atmosphere. It's serious, but not serious, and you get to have fun."

Lucy Starrat successfully defended her 2014 women's title, and improved her time by 14 seconds. This year representing her new employer, Seven, Starrat ran a fantastic 19:08, besting Lexy Gilmour of BT Financial Group (19:25) and Kirsten Molloy of Allianz (20:13).

Starrat, who won wearing KPMG's colors last November, ran one of the fastest women's times in Sydney Corporate Challenge history. Only the other-worldly Suzy Walsham — who clocked an 18:39 here in 2006 — has logged a better effort.

"I love this event, it's a great atmosphere," Starrat enthused. "People are in the mood to race and be competitive. The course is really good and challenging with the hill at the start. The finish is like an international finish with the flags present. It was just as good an experience as last year, and great to finish in first place again."

Starrat's victory came with the extra pride in sharing the victory with her new workmates.

"It was nice to show my colleagues why running is important to me," she said. "I was able to do this through this event, because my colleagues were able to participate, and relate to me as a runner through this event."

This was the second consecutive year that J.P. Morgan made a donation on behalf of all Corporate Challenge participants to the Indigenous Marathon Foundation. The Foundation uses marathon running to demonstrate the incredible capacity Indigenous Australian men and women have to achieve. The Foundation was founded and is directed by Australian running legend Rob de Castella, the 2-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist who recently returned to Australia from the U.S., where he brought a team of ten Indigenous athletes to compete in the New York City Marathon.

"This is the biggest event we've run in Sydney," said Rob Priestley, CEO for Australia and New Zealand at J.P. Morgan. "It is great to see so many firms and so many people getting involved again here in Sydney and we're also very pleased to have The Indigenous Marathon Foundation as the charity partner again. It's great to have Rob de Castella here sharing the important work his Foundation does."

All individual results from the event are available and please bookmark this website and check back in the coming weeks to learn the top men's, women's and mixed teams.

The 40th year of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series will launch on Thursday, April 7 in Johannesburg, South Africa. More details on the complete 2016 Series schedule will begin to be announced in January.

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