Tinka Uphoff wins her third straight J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge title in Frankfurt.
FRANKFURT, June 17, 2015 — Tinka Uphoff had just broken the women's finish line tape at the largest race in the world thus far in 2015. She already knew how she would celebrate the next day.
"Answering emails and making phone calls," she said. "It's back to work."
The life of a Frankfurt J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® champion. Work hard, compete to the best of your ability, party after.
Uphoff is employed by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority and couldn't be an afforded a day to celebrate her third consecutive Corporate Challenge individual title. Not that she was complaining.
"It is no trouble making the time for this event because I am doing something I love and I'm representing my company and out here with my colleagues having a great time," Uphoff said, after clocking a winning time of 19:09 over the 3.5-mile (5.6 kilometer) course. That was fairly consistent with her winning efforts of 18:59 (the all-time Frankfurt women's record) last year and 19:07 in 2013.
And what is also consistent about the Frankfurt event is its unprecedented size. On a picture-perfect night in a city nicknamed "Main-hattan" (for its skyscrapers and its location on the Main River) a massive gathering of 70,239 runners from 2,682 companies took to the streets. It was the fourth time this race has exceeded 70,000 total entrants and marked the 10th consecutive year it has hosted at least 60,000. It is nearly three times larger than the 2nd biggest one-night race in the Corporate Challenge Series (Chicago, 25,000).
"We came 230 kilometers (142 miles) by coach (bus) from Crailsheim to be here," said Gabi Schrimer, one of 360 employees from multinational consumer goods company Procter & Gamble to toe the starting line. "It's a wonderful team-building experience for us. We get in a nice run, have some fun following, and enjoy this amazing scene."
Torge Wegner of medical technology company Fresenius traveled 550 kilometers (approximately 340 miles) from Berlin to run in his company's colors.
Fraol Lencho Holjira, Sebastian Reinwand and Andreas Strassner of Memmert Gmbh finish together, with Lencho Haljira officially declared the winner.
"It's an opportunity to meet my colleagues from other areas of Germany and feel like you are part of something very big and very special," he said.
In all, the crowd represented 428 different towns and cities in Germany.
Memmert GmbH -- a leader in the development of heating ovens, incubators and climate chambers -- was certainly a standout company. Three of its men -- Fraol Lencho Holjira, Sebastian Reinwand and Andreas Strassner -- essentially crossed the finish line together, with Lencho Holjira officially being declared the winner as he broke the tape at 16:35, an instant ahead of his colleagues.
"We run together, we work together, we finish together," Reinwand explained concisely of why it was important for the three to compete in that style.
Runners begin to gather at the historic Opernplatz in Frankfurt.
Florian Neuschwander of Frankfurter Laufshop was a solid fourth in 17:05, a time good enough to win many other races on the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series.
Moniker Pletzer of Novartis (19:18), Julia Galuschka of August-Bebel-Schule (19:29) and Anna Reuter from Volkswagen (19:57) all broke the 20-minute barrier in the women's race, but couldn't unseat Uphoff.
The efforts of the amazing crowd made for a sizable donation -- 253,000 Euro to be precise -- to the German Sport Aid Foundation and the German Disabled Youth Foundation.
Several high-profile members of the German sporting community were on hand to personally inspire and thank the participants who made the donation from J.P. Morgan possible. Katarina Witt returned to her now-familiar role as official starter, and she was joined by world champion javelin thrower Steffi Nerius, decathlon icon Frank Busemann, bobsled champion Georg Hackl and representation from Eintracht Frankfurt's Bundesliga soccer club.
"Over the last nine years, J.P. Morgan has donated more than two million Euro for this good cause," said Martin Wiesmann, Senior Country Officer Germany of J.P. Morgan. "The Corporate Challenge has become far more than just a corporate race in Germany; it's a truly meaningful charity event."
Some of the race's 70,239 runners/walkers fill the streets of Frankfurt at the 2015 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.
"It's great music, great fun, great competition," smiled Witt, one of the most elegant Olympic athletes in history. "I just want to start dancing the moment I get here."
From Europe, the 39th season of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series now moves to the U.S./Canadian border as we conduct the 35th running in Buffalo, NY, a short ride from Niagara Falls.