When you hit a fork at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Frankfurt, you use both sides of the road. Over 62,000 took part in the 27th annual running.
FRANKFURT, June 12, 2019 – The largest race in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series had a picture-perfect night with another outstanding crowd, strong competition at the front of the running pack, and good vibes all around.
A total of 62,772 entrants from 2,282 companies took part in the 3.5-mile (5.6km) road race through the streets of one of Europe’s most prominent financial centers. That’s quite a bit of growth from the 527 total entrants that entered the debut Frankfurt event back in 1993.
That first event was held on a dirt path alongside the River Main. Now it takes over the main thoroughfares of Frankfurt, and has caught the attention of the entire business, sporting and municipal community. It’s the most unique “after-work rush hour” in Europe.
“The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge is among the largest and most prestigious sports events in our country,” said Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of the State of Hessen and patron of this year’s race.
Frankfurt is – by more than double the entrants – the largest event in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series. (New York registers 30,000 over two nights.) This is in large part due to the incredible partnership with city officials.
Markus Frank, Frankfurt City Councilor and Department Head for Economy, Sport, Safety and Fire Service, takes great pride in how successful the Corporate Challenge has been in his city.
“I am glad to see that one of the largest running events worldwide has found a home in the sports city Frankfurt/Main,” Frank said. “The participants get a great running track directly through the downtown core of our city with its world-famous skyline followed by a relaxed get-together at the different corporate party points.”
Frank and Katarina Witt, a gold medal figure skater at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics, were the official starters of the race, sending off the 62,772 entrants enthusiastically.
“I gladly give the starting signal for the sixth time,” Witt said. “This event is never just a dry routine. I am amazed time and time again, happy and excited by the cheerful, light-hearted and unique atmosphere here in Frankfurt. It is a city is on the run and everyone is joining in."
The fastest on the run this night were Simon Stützel of Scholarbook and Tinka Uphoff from German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.
Stützel was awarded first-place in the men’s division, though he intentionally crossed the finish line together with Aaron Bienenfeld of Frankfurter Laufshop. Both had an official time of 16:25 over the 3.5-mile (5.6km) city streets race course. Stützel, on camera review, just edged Bienenfeld.
“It is a beautiful run here. It is not worth pushing to the limit. It is much more about experiencing the atmosphere and to compete with the other good runners,” Stützel said. “I reached the finish line together with Aaron, there was no difference. From our perspective there are two first places. Overall, it was just great fun.”
There was no doubt about Uphoff’s victory. Her stunning time of 19:10 bested the excellent 19:29 turned in by runner-up Anna Starostzik from Frankfurter Bembelsche.
“It was very exhausting, I reached my limit,” Uphoff said. “It was warm, and the air was extremely dry. I ran alone as the only woman at the front. That's when you start running at the limit and don't see the competition. Second place could also have been five meters behind. The run is always great, and I enjoy everything about it. It's great because the entire city is part of the run – the spectators cheer for the participants. The atmosphere is fabulous.”
For the 13th consecutive year, the event also served as a benefit and awareness builder for the German Sport Aid Foundation and the German Disabled Sports Youth. J.P. Morgan donated on behalf of all participants to the organizations.
“We are glad to see that J.P. Morgan has dedicated the Corporate Challenge to a good cause for many years,” said Dr. Michael Ilgner, Chairman of the Board of the German Sport Aid Foundation. “J.P. Morgan takes responsibility beyond this event for aspiring athletic talents especially in the field of sports for the disabled.”
Dorothee Blessing, CEO of J.P. Morgan AG and the host of the evening, is impressed by the collegiality and loyalty inspired by the Corporate Challenge.
“The run is truly a special experience outside of the daily business routine and it actively brings people together,” Blessing said. “This has a lasting effect among coworkers; many of them are proud to be part of this experience over many years.“
There’s no rest for the 43rd year of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series. Following a flight across the Atlantic, the Series will resume in Buffalo, New York on Thursday, June 13.