The 35th Corporate Challenge
was the place to be in Buffalo
Two of the almost 400 companies who gathered in Delaware Park for the 35th J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge were NFTA (top) and Rich Products.
BUFFALO, June 25, 2015 — Former Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Levy -- beloved here for leading the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls -- used to say to his team, "Where would you rather be than right here, right now!"
For 35 years now on a Thursday night in June, when you pose that question to thousands in the Buffalo business community, the answer would be the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge®.
"It has become part of the culture here in Buffalo," said Shaun Carl, company captain for Bureau Veritas, after contributing to the crowd of 12,375 runners and walkers from 396 companies that took part in the 35th running of the Corporate Challenge on a perfectly comfortable night in leafy Delaware Park.
Carl was on the 3.5-mile race course with 46 of his Bureau Veritas colleagues and notes that the entire team wears their company t-shirts with pride throughout the run.
"It is great when you are running and you hear people shouting your name and company as you pass along side or going in the opposite direction on parts of the course," Carl said. "We encourage our staff to enter their ideas for our team shirts. It allows for another sense of pride to know that you created or helped to create a shirt that represented your company."
J.B. Brown is the perfect person to attest to the connection this event has with this Western New York city. The company he works for, Rich Products, was at the very first Corporate Challenge here in 1981.
"I love being involved as we are a close family business and this event brings many of our associates together as a great way to bond, socialize and enhances our wellness program," Brown said. "Our company pays for each entry fee as well as supporting runners with t-shirts and our annual post-race party. We take great pride in being active in our community."
The excellent crowd contributed to two widely-respected not-for-profit organizations in the community -- Kevin Guest House and The Angel Fund at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Kevin Guest House is the nation's first hospital hospitality house, offering a safe, warm secure respite for patients and their loved ones. The Angel Fund provides funds to Roswell Park patients that assist in travel to appointments, meals, gas, lodging and sometimes co-pays for qualifying low-income patients. J.P. Morgan will make a donation to both organizations on behalf of the entrants.
The individual winners were Patrick Moran of Praxair and Mary Giza of Lancaster Central School District. They are both first-time winners at this event and covered the distance in 18:40 and 20:55 respectively. Kevin Smith of AVOX Systems/Zodiac Aerospace was a close men's runner-up in 18:42 while Jennifer Boerner of EduKids trailed Giza across in 21:28.
Patrick Moran of Praxair and Mary Giza of Lancaster Central School District are recognized as the individual race winners by Bill Dehmer (left) and David Horan (right) of J.P. Morgan.
It is a very competitive race, but the majority of entrants definitely join the Corporate Challenge for the camaraderie.
"You become real friends outside of the workplace during events like these," said Kathy Gregoire, company captain for Erie County Medical Center. "We have our CEO, VPO, doctors, nurses, people in environmental services … everybody participates!"
"You tend to look around while you're running on the course and say 'Hey look, there's one of our people! It's very cool," smiled Gregoire.
ECMC had a formidable presence with 242 entrants, making it one of the 10 largest corporate teams on the course. The others were Wegmans (545 entrants), Tops Friendly Markets (472), Ingram Micro (409), Kaleida Health (360), HSBC (250), Moog (214), Fidelis Care (204), Elderwood (168), and Greatbatch (163).
"The Corporate Challenge is the social event of the summer," said Michael Moore, company captain for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. "It's good public exposure for the authority with the large quantity of people at the event that can notice our presence. Also it's a great opportunity to be with co-workers in a social gathering and realize they are people too, not just co-workers, and it can help establish better working relationships with co-workers."
A crowd of 12,375 runners and walkers starts the 2015 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Delaware Park.
There is another transatlantic flight in the near future for the 39th season of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge as the Series moves to the banks of the River Thames in London for two nights of racing on July 8 and 9.