Members of the Gartner Consulting team gather at the start line in Central Park for a photo before a recent J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
Love of fitness drives two companies'
growth at Corporate Challenge
NEW YORK, May 13, 2014 — Steve Titan, Treasurer of the College Board, is proof that the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® can be an entry point to a healthy lifestyle.
“I did my first Corporate Challenge in 1991,” said Titan. “It was my first race since high school. I was a couch potato from high school until I did the Corporate Challenge, which introduced me to running. I caught the bug. Twenty-three years later, I now work out every day. This opened the door for me to doing 17 New York City Marathons and over 100 triathlons.”
In fact, Titan’s love of triathlons will force him to escape from Alcatraz in order to participate in the 38th renewal of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in New York.. Titan is competing in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, which begins with a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz in the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay on June 1. He’ll fly back to New York in time for the second night of racing at the Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 5.
The College Board's Steve Titan (142) at the Escape from Bermuda Triathlon with Melanie Horn (from left), Titan's wife Liz (yellow shirt), and Titan's brother Paul Alfaro (right).
The Corporate Challenge will begin on Wednesday, June 4, and will feature a combined capacity crowd of 30,000 on back-to-back nights. The event covers a beautiful 3.5-mile course within Central Park, starting on West Drive and finishing adjacent to Bethesda Fountain.
With his Corporate Challenge-inspired love of fitness, Titan is quick to applaud the growth of what has become a global running Series, which now features races in seven countries that attracted a record 262,311 participants in 2013. In many ways, Titan is an example of one way this growth has happened.
“I have been captain since 2003,” Titan said. “I brought the Corporate Challenge to the College Board in the hope that it would inspire my co-workers to start working out.”
They have responded.
“We will have 100 runners this year, a number that has grown every year since 2003,” said Dena Bolton, Finance Coordinator at the College Board, a not-for-profit organization that each year helps connect more than seven million students to college success and opportunity through programs and services — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program.
“All levels of staff participate in the event — and all are very excited!” Bolton added. “The College Board participants learn which colleagues are participating when we gather on race day to walk over to Central Park as a group, and afterwards at the post-race BBQ. It is then that we get to chat with our colleagues about having running/walking in common as an interest. Our team loves the camaraderie that comes with participation and the post-race barbeque.”
David Irwin, Managing Partner at Gartner Consulting, also has seen the growth of the Corporate Challenge in New York first-hand.
“We have been participating on and off for more than 10 years, with solid participation for the past five years,” said the fourth-year team captain. “We will have 25 runners this year. That number has definitely grown over the years! I remember one year we had four or five runners, so 25 is great to see. That is a good percentage of our New York office.”
Founded in 1979, Gartner has grown into the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company with clients in 85 countries. It is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and, as with the College Board, its connection to the Corporate Challenge is paved by a love of fitness.
“Health and fitness is very important to our CEO (Eugene A. Hall), who is a very active runner and fitness enthusiast,” said Irwin, adding that the Gartner’s leadership team ran the Boston Marathon this year to raise money for The One Fund and that two of those three runners will be on Gartner’s Corporate Challenge team in Central Park.
“Our team runs across the board, from junior consultants to managing partners,” said Irwin. “It is truly a diverse cross-section of employees. We have competitive runners and enthusiasts, to walkers on our team. It is cool that we get together, and our company gets behind us for the event. It’s an exciting event to be a part of.”
And, Irwin appreciates the widespread popularity the Corporate Challenge enjoys in New York.
“I love that the Corporate Challenge brings out all these companies to create a sense of unity across New York City,” he said. “There are so many companies in the city that come out for the race, and it’s pretty cool to see all of the t-shirts represented. I enjoy seeing the funny slogans on the back of some of the company shirts. We like that it is a good way to participate in the community.”
So, too, apparently do a great many other companies. A total of 638 will be on hand June 4 and 5, with the Corporate Challenge being an annual celebration of the workforce in New York since 1977.