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Frankfurt at a Glance
Date: 13 June 2017
Place: Opernplatz
Start: 19.30 Uhr
Phone: +49 (0)69-6860-7015
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Frankfurt's Scholarbook moves fast
to qualify for its first Championship

2012 Frankfurt Championship qualifiers
2011 Teams Qualifiers

Soeren Kah, Alex Schilling, Erik Somssich, Joerg Gelsdorf


Sonja Reiser, Sibylle Stegmaier, Steffi Struschka, Ellen Weber

Christian Albert, Nick Ehrhart, Karen Freund, Melanie Polzin

FRANKFURT, May 2, 2012 — Simon Stützel has gotten used to going fast.

For starters, he ran 16:52 to help his Scholarbook team win the highly competitive men's title at the nearly 70,000-runner strong Frankfurt J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Germany last summer. As a bonus, the team's blistering time of 1:07:45 was easily the fastest in the 13-city J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge series last year.

As a result, Scholarbook will come into the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship on May 24 in Chicago as the top seed in a division that includes South African powerhouse Transnet, which has dominated the men's field at the Series finals for much of the last decade.

As impressive as all that is, Stützel's top accomplishment could well have come with him in a business suit. After earning his MBA just a year and a half ago, Stützel founded Scholarbook and now serves as a Managing Partner.

"We didn't incorporate until early in 2012," said Stützel of a company whose mission is to find athletic scholarships and positions for elite athletes at high schools and universities in the United States.

Oh, and Stützel, contacted during one of his business trips to the United States, also has found time to have Scholarbook help organize an Olympic Trials event for the German 2012 distance running team headed to the London Games this summer.

"Unfortunately," he said, "that commitment will mean I won't be able to join the Scholarbook team in Chicago for the Corporate Challenge Championship."

Nonetheless, his presence will be greatly felt on the Scholarbook team that will line up in Grant Park to face off with Transnet and 11 other men's championship teams from across the Series host cities. Even without Stützel, who finished third in the German Indoor National Championships at 3,000-meters before last year's Frankfurt Corporate Challenge, Scholarbook will be a formidable force.

As a small company, Scholarbook had to finish ahead many of Germany's large companies to win the men's title at the 2011 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, which attracted 68,454 participants.

"Our fifth runner — Joerg Gelsdorf — is very close (in ability) to our other runners," he said, "and everyone else from the team will be there, in Chicago."

As Stützel points out, Scholarbook is a "fairly small company." But it won in the competitive atmosphere at Frankfurt — which has been the world's largest road race several times in recent years and draws entrants from mega-sized companies throughout Germany.

How did Scholarbook come out on top?

For starters, Stützel said, part of the explanation is how he built the staff at his new company.

"I was a runner in college," he said, "and when I started Scholarbook, I brought in people I knew had been runners and elite athletes."

It made sense, he said, because his recruits better understood the challenges and opportunities faced by his client base, who, after all, are literally trying to follow in his new staff's footsteps.

Along with the company's mission, its new staff of elite athletes created a culture at Scholarbook that Stützel believes also helped carry his company to victory at Frankfurt, where it won the men's title by more than four minutes.

"Dealing with high-performance athletes, we know how important it is to them (to do well), and it's also important to us," he said. "It's a big part of our culture."

The Scholarbook team of Gelseors, Soeren Kah, Alex Schilling, and Erik Somssich will join Frankfurt's two other team champions from 2011 — women's winner Polizei Hesson, another perennial power in the Series finale and, like Scholarbok, the fastest-seeded team in its division, and mixed winner KfW Bankengruppe — at the 29th annual Series Championship. The men's, women's and mixed team champions from each city will square off in a 3.5-mile Championship that will be run just prior to the start of the regularly scheduled JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge in Chicago's Grant Park.

And, despite Scholarbook's world-leading time of 1:07:45 — compared to Transnet's time of 1:10:17 — Stützel isn't buying the premise that his team should be favored to win the men's title.

"I know the guys from South Africa are extremely strong," he said. "Plus, the course in Johannesburg is a lot more hilly (than the Frankfurt course) and is a little more like a cross country course than ours. So, relative to us, their performance at Johannesburg might be a little stronger than ours."

But one safe prediction is that the times will be fast. They always are when runners from Transnet — and now, Scholarbook — are involved.

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