From left: Sandy Wolcott, Chairman of the Northeast Middle Market, Chase Commercial Bank, Thomas Richards, Mayor of Rochester, and Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at RIT, share a light moment on the start stage of the 2013 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Rochester.
Rochester companies come out in force
at 2013 Corporate Challenge
Doug Young of The Gleason Works (2307) powers his way toward the finish.
ROCHESTER, May 21, 2013 — A few minutes before the start of the 23rd annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Rochester, Marylou Williams stood in the shade of her Auction Direct USA tent and half-heartedly wished for rain to cool off humid conditions before she would go out to run.
Her wish was answered in an even better way. As a crowd of 10,921 runners and walkers from 460 companies (a record) moved to the starting line, a fresh wind blew in. The humidity and temperatures dropped a bit, while the skies remained clear for the running of the race.
"Notice how we made better it to run for you?" Sandy Wolcott, Chairman of the Northeast Middle Market, Chase Commercial Bank, asked the runners facetiously. "And we did it for you just at the start."
Williams and her Auction Direct teammates no doubt appreciated any help they could get to make one of the favorite events at their company more enjoyable.
"This will be our third year and we always have about 50 percent of our employees participate," Williams said. "They love it because we all get together. The competition starts early. We start training. And it just builds competition and enthusiasm. It's a way to get together and celebrate and it helps company morale because people from all over our dealerships now have a common thing to talk about."
Companies such as Auction Direct, which had 26 participants, are part of a growing success story for the Rochester Corporate Challenge. Since the event moved from its original location in Highland Park after a 13-year-run there from 1991-2003, the10-year average for participants and companies at the expansive campus of Rochester Institute of Technology is 9,740 participants from 403 companies. The crowd for this year's race was the second largest in Rochester J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge history and was 10-percent larger than the 9,950 that entered in 2012.
Chip O'Hara (18:00) and Morgan Burrows (19:32) break their finish line tapes. to win the 2013 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Rochester.
Among the big crowd was the team from The Gleason Works, whose company captain, Greg Miller, has noticed some trends about the race in his four years of guiding the team.
"We started as a much smaller team, but my goal was to increase our numbers every year, and we have," he said. "This year, we have 67 members. We have everyone on the team from the CEO (who is traveling this year), to the CFO. I'm in IT. So, we have everyone from management to floor workers.
"I think one reason our team is growing is that while we're an older company with a lot of mature workers, we've also hired some younger workers recently," he added. "You see a lot of them here (in our tent). I think that's the next wave that's going to be involved (in the Corporate Challenge) because they are very interested in fitness and health."
At the Wayne Central School District tent, company captain Monica Bays offered yet another reason to be involved with the Rochester Corporate Challenge.
"This is the 13th year we've been involved with the event," she said. "It's a great way to get together with our colleagues in a different sort of aspect to do something fun, something healthy. We also like to encourage our students at Wayne Central School District. We like to be healthy role models for our students."
Bays, a music teacher, said her students notice their teacher's example.
"If we wear our race shirts, they're always like, "What's that?' And we tell them. And some of them have connections (with the race). Their parents might have done it or they enjoy running as well and this will inspire them to do it, too."
Finding his own inspiration and leading the pack on this night was Chip O'Hara of First Niagara who out-paced all runners to the finish line in a time of 18 minutes flat. In second was Chad Byler of Navitar (18:12), followed by Nate Lowe of Fleet Feet Sports (18:52).
"Luckily, it cooled off a little bit right before the race," said O'Hara. "It still felt really hot and muggy, but all in all it wasn't too bad. It is great to win for First Niagara. We try to do a lot in the community, so I'm happy to win for a company like First Niagara."
Among the women, Morgan Burrows of Corning came home in 19:32, which was a fast enough time that it would have won the worldwide J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship that was held on the same RIT course a few minutes earlier. Burrows also finished well ahead of her competition in the regular Rochester race, with Lynn Youngman of Paychex second in 20:00 and Trisha Byler of DuPont third in 20:48.
George Romell, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Rochester, (in red) joins members of his team in a post-race cheer.
The large crowd also was a boon for the YMCA of Greater Rochester, the race beneficiary. JPMorgan Chase will be making a donation to the YMCA's day camp programs on behalf of the race participants, enabling children that live in low-income communities to get away from the hot, noisy city streets and enjoy quality day camp experiences in the country. This is part of an Upstate-wide initiative as the Corporate Challenge events in Buffalo (June 6) and Syracuse (June 18) will also benefit Day Camp programs at the local Y.
The effort was lauded by Rochester mayor Thomas Richards, who was on hand to greet the runners.
"A lot of city kids are going to benefit from this, and we greatly appreciate it," he told the runners.
George Romell, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Rochester, also was appreciative.
"We are so grateful for the support of this race with JPMorgan Chase and the entire community," he said. "What this will enable us to do is to send kids to camp who otherwise would not be able to go. Our Invest in Youth campaign allows kids across all neighborhoods, all races, all households to come and enjoy. We'll have over 16,000 kids in safe, supportive camp environments throughout our Rochester community this summer."
Additional funds to charity will come from the companies judged to be the most creative. Pfaudler and SentrySafe won the popular vote of the T-Shirt competition at www.facebook.com/corporatechallenge and each will receive a $1,000 donation from JPMorgan Chase to designate to a charity of their choice.
From left: Kristina Brennan, Marylou Williams, Adam Grossman and Mike Freece await the start of the race at their Auction Direct USA tent.
Helping push the numbers up were the entries of the 10 largest companies in terms of participation in the race: University of Rochester (492 entrants, up from 384 in 2012); Wegmans (374, up from 364); Paychex (320, up from 279); Tops Friendly Markets (205); Unity Health System (188); YMCA of Greater Rochester (176, up from 119); JPMorgan Chase (160); RIT (141, up from 123); ESL Federal Credit Union (130, up from 86), Bausch + Lomb (108, up from 104).
Rochester is the third event in the 2013 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series calendar following Johannesburg (March 7) and Singapore (April 18). The 2013 Series is off to an outstanding start as the first two races both reached a full capacity of entrants. In addition, the Chicago (May 23), New York (June 12-13), Boston (June 20) and London (July 10-11) events have already full capacity of entrants and it is anticipated that Buffalo (June 6) will reach a full capacity of 14,000.
The 37th season of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series continues on Thursday with the 32nd running of J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, helping kick off the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.
For comments on J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at firstname.lastname@example.org.