David Crichlow, a managing partner of law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (top right), joins his colleagues in a pre-race salute at the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. (Photos by Joe Vericker, Joe Rosen: Photo Bureau)
Corporate Challenge happily hosts 15,000
for fitness, fun and benefit to Central Park
NEW YORK, June 15, 2011 — David Crichlow, a managing partner for the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, walked into Central Park tonight shortly after 6 with a big smile on this face.
“This is like a half day for me and my colleagues,” he said.
John Duffy of J.P. Morgan (left) and Victoria Mello of Rockport (right) congratulate the night's individual winners - Emily Mareb of Bloomingdales and Gian-Paul Caccia of Wolverine Trading.
Like the majority of his Pillsbury colleagues, Crichlow, a commercial litigator, works very long hours. “There is no such thing as a normal day, but an average day ends about 8:30 and we often burn the midnight oil.”
But billable time on this evening took a backseat to fitness and camaraderie as Crichlow led 34 Pillsbury colleagues to the starting line at the 35th annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
A sold-out crowd of 15,000 runners and walkers from 467 companies enjoyed perfect running conditions and witnessed Central Park at its leafy best.
“I ran in the sixth Corporate Challenge, in 1982, my first year at J.P. Morgan,” said John Duffy, Vice Chairman for the J.P. Morgan U.S. Private Bank. “I was just commenting to one of my colleagues walking into the park that this is a much more beautiful place than it was back then. We’re proud to host 15,000 people here.”
The beauty of the park is evidence of the terrific work of the Central Park Conservancy, the organization that restores, manages and enhances the Frederick Law Olmsted treasure. The Conservancy was the beneficiary of the event, a point that meant a great deal to Crichlow and Pillsbury.
Members of Hearst Corporation gather for a pre-race photo.
“We’re a firm that focuses daily on sustainability, so supporting an event that gives back to Central Park is very important to us,” Crichlow said. “It is a big reason why we are out here. And, while we’re doing something good there, we’re also taking care of ourselves. Personally, this is going to kick start my summer fitness program.”
Merle Taylor, manager of the fitness center for the Hearst Corporation, can certainly relate to that. He says that nearly 35-40% of all Hearst employees are enrolled in the fitness center as the Corporate Challenge approaches.
“That is an incredible ratio, far better than other companies,” Taylor said. “There are several reasons for it. One, the fitness center is right in our building. Second, we provide top-quality gear for the members, and we do laundry for them. And then there is the lure of the Corporate Challenge. Every year people want to get in shape to do their best. Even before registration opens in the late winter there is a buzz about the race.”
Gary Bannett (8830) of EMI Music focuses as he leads a group to the finish that includes Mary Anne Buechel of Ziff Brothers Investments (4885), Matthieu Levoyer of Credit Industriel et Commercial (2538) and Bill Holub of Credit Agricole CIB.
Post-race in this one the talk was about the fastest runners in the field. Gian-Paul Caccia of Wolverine Trading won his second men’s title in as many years, breaking the tape in 17:05. He bested Sean Swift of JPMorgan Chase by 27 seconds with Christopher Ellis-Ferrara of Alliance Bernstein third in 17:48.
Emily Mareb of Bloomingdales won the women’s division in 21:02, winning a duel with Lauren Gregory of FTI Consulting (21:09). Lindsay Van Alstine was third in 21:33.
Over 300 companies had designated hospitality areas in Central Park and virtually every industry group was represented. If you were strolling just east past the Sheep Meadow last night you would have seen companies like AOL, DirecTV, Google, Hess, Lazard Freres, News Corporation, Shearman & Sterling and Viacom/MTV all partying, among many others.
Creativity was in full sight also as Pret A Manger and John Ciardullo Associates were honored as winners of the T-Shirt competition. They were judged best in online voting at www.facebook.com/corporatechallenge and both will now receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
This is the 35th consecutive summer the Corporate Challenge has been held in Central Park, debuting on July 13, 1977 with a modest 200 runners. Since, more than 1.3 million runners and walkers have earned Corporate Challenge finisher t-shirts.
“Our business colleagues have told us loud and clear that the Corporate Challenge is valuable for many reasons,” J.P. Morgan’s Duffy said. “What’s important to them is important to us.”
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at email@example.com)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton was one of 300 teams celebrating in Central Park.
Following Thursday's second race in Central Park, the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series moves from Manhattan approximately 275 miles upstate for the 29th running of the Chase Corporate Challenge in Syracuse, benefiting Child Care Solutions.