||See video of Wednesday's (June 10) J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge from Central Park, courtesy of Running HD.
Representing host J.P. Morgan, Sean Swift races to the tape three seconds ahead of David Sorensen of D.E. Shaw & Co. Swift won in 17:45. (Joe Vericker/PhotoBureau)
Aptly named Sean Swift wins for J.P. Morgan
as companies come together in Central Park
Results | Photo Gallery
||John Tamborino, company captain of Bovis Lend Lease, (left photo) hands out bib numbers to some of the 77 entrants from his company. Above, members of Syska Hennessy gather for a group photo.
NEW YORK, June 10, 2009 — On a cool, humid night in Central Park, the presence of J.P. Morgan was unmistakable. The south side of the world's greatest park was dressed tastefully in the light blue and gray branding of the bank and a sold-out crowd of 15,000 gathered excitedly on the West Drive starting line for the 33rd annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge®.
Then the appropriately named Sean Swift, pridefully representing host J.P. Morgan, beat them all to the Bethesda Fountain finish line.
“I'm very happy to be working at J.P. Morgan,” said the 24-year-old Swift, who works in the commodities group. “And I was really looking forward to representing them at this race. It's fantastic to win it.”
Swift's winning time over the 3.5-mile course was 17:45, and that is not a major surprise. He was a cross country/track & field captain his senior year at Lehigh University with impressive personal bests of 9:11 in the 3K steeplechase, 14:43 in the 5,000 and 24:43 in 8K cross country. He needed every bit of that expertise to best David Sorensen of D.E. Shaw & Co, who nipped at his heels in 17:48.
“I knew a couple of people that we ran with, and we kept the pace reasonable at first,” Swift said. “I made a move at the 2-mile mark, and then I threw in another big surge in the final downhill. It was just enough.”
A total of 433 companies were represented in the capacity crowd, ranging in size from the minimum of four participants to massive numbers fielded by J.P. Morgan (1,109), Morgan Stanley (899) and Bloomberg (753). A staple in Central Park every spring/summer since 1977 (when it drew a tidy 200 participants), the Corporate Challenge continues to appeal to all industry groups.
“Our company doesn't think twice about participating, and it picks up all the costs for entry fees, food, the works,” said Sean Marcel, an associate electrical engineer at Syska Hennessy. “I've been doing this for three years and I think it's unique in that you see a lot of companies you do business with.”
For Real Estate Capital Partners company captain Megan Guiney, it's all about bonding with her colleagues.
“We had 20 out here tonight, and for most of them it is one of the only times they will run all year,” Guiney, an investment manager, said. “It's fun to get out here as a group, spend some time together and then go out and talk about our race.”
For Guiney, there was a lot to talk about ... and be proud of. She captured her first J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge individual women's title, turning in an impressive time of 19:54 to beat Lauren Uhler of Morgan Stanley by nine seconds.
“Ironically, I ran the same time last year and came in second,” Guiney said, noting her 2008 runner-up showing to Kathleen Jobes of Rodale. “I wanted to win this time, so I took it out hard. My first two miles were 5:30 and 5:30. I was just holding on at the end.”
Megan Guiney or Real Estate Capital Partners (left photo) breaks the tape in 19:54, the fastest female time of the year in the Corporate Challenge series. In right photo, Cara Kiernan of Goldman Sachs (4720) holds her own as she races to the finish.
Guiney took home an impressive Tiffany award for her sterling effort, and she also has the fastest women's time in the 2009 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, besting the 20:03 turned in by Christina Overbeck of Sargent & Lundy in Chicago on May 21.
The participants also did their part to insure that Central Park remains a year-round paradise for those in training shoes and sweats. J.P. Morgan made a donation for each entry to the Central Park Conservancy and also provided a dollar-for-dollar match for participants who joined the Conservancy's individual or corporate membership programs.
Bovis Lend Lease knows green. It is one of the world's leading project management and construction companies, and it has a major point of difference in that it creates sustainable property assets. Company captain John Tamborino oversaw a team of 77 from Bovis in this year's race.
“It's fun,” Tamborino, a chief estimator, said. “Our company is all over the city and we don't get many opportunities to come together as a group. I love meeting everybody and getting to know them.”
Bovis' participation is fueled by an organization within its company, Foundation. “They fund all of this and they do other things for us, like providing employees tickets to the theatre, movies, and the circus. We're a company that likes to take care of its employees and the Corporate Challenge is a good example.”
Many companies also put forth a good creative spin, with hundreds of organizations designing creative t-shirts. The three best on this night — as judged by online voting — were the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (for the third straight year), Common Ground Community, and The Dannon Company. Each of those outfits received a $500 donation to provide to the charity of their choice.
There was serious competition also for the folks in the all green and all pink bib numbers — the Most Senior Executives. Charles Miers of Rizzoli Publications came across in an outstanding 19:20 to win the men's MSE, while Mary Wittenberg — the CEO of the New York Road Runners and race director for the ING New York City Marathon — earned the women's title in 23:50.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the Corporate Challenge has been held on consecutive nights in Central Park. Once tomorrow's event is complete, a total of 90 Corporate Challenges, featuring more than 1.25 million participants, will have covered the Central Park course.
Highlights of this J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge event will be featured in upcoming broadcasts of RUNNING HD on the YES Network. RUNNING is now available on the Verizon Fios Extreme HD package and AT&T U-verse.