Part of the capacity crowd runs through Central Park in the second night of racing of the 2015 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
Camaraderie, fitness drive popularity
of Corporate Challenge in Central Park
Representatives of Deerfield Management accept a T-Shirt Design Contest award. Deerfield Management, along with fellow winner Hudson's Bay Company, will receive a donation from J.P. Morgan in their name to the Central Park Conservancy.
NEW YORK, June 5, 2015 — As its team of 330 gathered in Central Park for the second night of racing in New York, Thomson Reuters served as a classic example of why the camaraderie and team building features of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® are so meaningful to companies.
A major multinational mass media and information firm founded in Toronto and based in New York City and Toronto, Thomson Reuters was formed in 2008 with the merger of Thomson Corporation and Reuters Group. Each of those pre-merger companies had participated in New York's Corporate Challenge for more than 10 years. In 2015, the combined company showed up in Central Park in force with the fourth largest team on this night.
"We take it pretty serious around here," said executive assistant Dorrie Harris of the Corporate Challenge approach taken by Thomson Reuters.
Fitness is the glue that brings this large team together, Harris added. Since entering, some of the team trained twice a week together, creating goals and sticking to them in an ideal team-building effort. One woman even quit smoking as part of her training.
"The race," said Harris, "encourages fitness and wellness and that is a part of our new company culture."
Similar stories played out across the green expanse of Central Park on a cool evening that was ideal for running, walking and getting together outside of the office for a shared experience. Thomson Reuters was one of 424 companies on hand for the 39th edition of an annual event begun here in 1977 with a modest participation of 200 entrants from 50 companies.
Since then, the Corporate Challenge has become the most-widely attended event in New York road racing history with approximately 1.7 million total participants. This year's two nights of races attracted a capacity crowd of 30,000 entrants (15,000 on each night) from 717 companies.
At the Ford Foundation's gathering spot, talent acquisition assistant Kellee Hand welcomed team members in her first year as Company Captain. No stranger to the competitive aspects of the sport as a track and cross country runner for the University of Pennsylvania for four years, Hand was more focused on this night on the social benefits of the Corporate Challenge as she watched her teammates arrive.
"It's about the sense of pride you feel being part of a team and connecting in a special way outside the office," Hand said.
Doug Blonsky from the Central Park Conservancy, the race beneficiary, addresses participants before the start.
On the other end of the spectrum from large teams such as Thomson Reuters is Barnes & Noble. Its team from the Citigroup store is a tight-knit group whose members all have been with the company between 10-20 years. But, it, too incorporates growth. After years of watching the Corporate Challenge come and go, Mary Ferguson was encouraged by fellow manager Kevin McAllister to finally give the run a chance.
"Four years ago Kevin kept pushing me and pushing me to run in the Corporate Challenge," said Ferguson. "I was hesitant at first, but after completing it I was motivated to stay on the fitness track."
Since then, Ferguson hasn't missed a Corporate Challenge and has become a motivation for her fellow workers. But this wasn't just a normal day for Ferguson. It also was the night of her daughter's first prom. So, she had a choice to make. She chose to participate in the Corporate Challenge. Her teammates and daughter agreed it was the right decision, Ferguson said.
"I chose the Corporate Challenge over my daughter's prom because I want to set an example to her that fitness is important, and I need to do this for me," she said.
In addition to team building, camaraderie and fitness, the Corporate Challenge also allows companies to give back to their communities.
Fittingly, the beneficiary of the Corporate Challenge in 2015 once again was the Central Park Conservancy, the official manager of race venue Central Park. In honor of the Corporate Challenge participants, J.P. Morgan will make a donation to the Central Park Conservancy that will support the Conservancy's mission to restore, manage and enhance Central Park in partnership with the public.
The Corporate Challenge Series continues next week with events in Syracuse (June 9) and Boston (June 11).