Lesley Higgins of NASDAQ OMX breaks the tape held by Samuel Tuliebitz, Consumer Business Banking Analyst for J.P. Morgan, to win the women's title at the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in New York.
Second Central Park race adds to
impressive numbers in 2 days of races
Part of the sold-out crowd streams into Central Park for the Corporate Challenge.
NEW YORK, June 14, 2012 — Makiella Williams flashed a smile as bright as the sunshine enveloping Central Park. With her teammates filling up a tent situated next to a band that would play into the pleasant night, the company captain for WeiserMazars was obviously in a happy spot as she awaited the start of the second night of racing in the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in New York.
"The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge fits in with our firm's identity in the best way," she said. "It's totally what we're about."
The sentiment was obviously widely shared.
Another sell-out crowd of 15,000 filled up huge sections of Central Park, bringing the total number of entrants in this year's two New York races to 30,000. The figure obviously could have been much higher, as the races sold out quickly. With an additional 68,586 entrants filling the streets of Frankfurt, Germany, earlier in the day, it meant that 83,586 had participated in the Corporate Challenge Series in a single day. And, in the space of two days, nearly 100,000 had run or walked in the world's premier corporate running series.
That's quite a change from the first Corporate Challenge when 200 runners from 50 companies gathered in Central Park on July 13, 1977. With a 13-city Series on pace to reach a record 255,000 entrants in 2012, the Corporate Challenge really has come a long way.
Williams offered several reasons why.
"We have offices (locally) in New York City, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Long Island, and the Corporate Challenge gives us a chance to bring employees from all our offices together with a healthy, fun activity," she said.
WeiserMazars, an accounting, tax and advisory services firm, first entered the Corporate Challenge in 2004. Williams said the company could get only 15 people to sign up, but as word spread, the numbers climbed each year, topping out at 50 this year.
"That's huge for us," said Williams. "But the Corporate Challenge fits in with the green, healthy lifestyle the firm wants. We get some people to come out to walk, then they challenge themselves, and go from walking to running."
It's something Williams did and, along with following the firm's healthy lifestyle program, it has helped her lose 50 pounds.
WeiserMazars gathers for a team photo. Company captain Makiella Williams is second from left in the front row.
In another area of Central Park, Jeff Levy, President and CEO of Railworks Corporation, posed with his team for a photo, then proudly watched as they broke off into groups, chatting and awaiting the start of the race.
"We started a team two years ago when someone suggested we do it," Levy said. "We had 16 people two years ago, 25 last year, and 50 this year. This is employee based and driven by their initiative. No one is signing them up, forcing them to have a good time. I'm proud of them."
Railworks, North America's leader in track and transit & systems construction and maintenance services, is involved in numerous projects in the New York area and across the country and into Canada.
Entrants spread out in Central Park before the race (top). In above photo, Carlton Carter of Sumitomo Mutsui Banking Corporation (31735) makes a last push to the finish line.
"The construction business is very competitive and it is very team-oriented," said Levy. "Construction is about watching out for each other and supporting each other so the team reaches its goals. And that's what the Corporate Challenge is about to us. Plus, having the event in Central Park and supporting the park, makes it all the better for us."
Like Wednesday's race, the second New York Corporate Challenge of 2012 benefitted the Central Park Conservancy, with the JPMorgan Chase Foundation making a donation to the conservancy in honor of the Corporate Challenge. The conservancy restores, manages and enhances the park in partnership with the public, for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
That hit home with Richard Kurz, an attorney with Frommer Lawrence & Haug.
"Our firm's offices overlook Central Park," he said, "and we've been participating every year for the last 13 years. For us, the Corporate Challenge is a good team-building event that brings together everyone on the staff. Plus, this (Central Park) is a very good spot to be."
Also in good spots this night were Matthew Forys of Blackrock and Lesley Higgins of NASDAQ OMX. They won the men's and women's individual titles.
Forys bettered Wednesday's winning time by 12 seconds, breaking the tape in 17:01. He finished ahead of Robert Hartnett of State Street (17:31) and Charles Murphy of Arch Insurance Group (17:55). Meanwhile, Higgins came home in 19:58, well ahead of Kimberly Smith of Citadel LLC (20:46) and Alexandra Cadicamo of Goldman Sachs (20:55).
Higgins, who was running the race as a possible tune-up for next week's U.S. Olympic Trials in the steeplechase, said she built an early lead by going through two miles in 11 minutes flat. "Then," she said, "the last mile and a half was a struggle. It was harder than I thought it would be. I felt the humidity."
The creative winners on this night were Linkedin and Moody's Corporate, who won the T-Shirt Design Contest. Each company will receive a $1,000 donation from JPMorgan Chase to designate to a charity of their choice.
For Moody's, the victory represented a unique honor. In what is believed to be a first for the Corporate Challenge — certainly since the awards have been determined by a public vote on the Series' Facebook page — the same design won in two cities on the same day. Earlier, Moody's also won the T-Shirt Contest in Frankfurt.
The 36th season of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series continues on Tuesday, June 19 with the 30th running of the Syracuse JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, benefiting the American Red Cross of Central New York.