There was a true feeling of accomplishment and camaraderie at the Wanderers Club finish line for the sold-out crowd at the 15th J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Johannesburg.
It’s now 15 years old, and the South Africa stop in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series is a must-attend event for the business community.
The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge tonight at Johannesburg’s beautiful, historic Wanderers Club featured a capacity crowd of 14,000 entrants from 323 companies. The Corporate Challenge debuted in Johannesburg in March, 2004, with a crowd of 6,144 runners and walkers. That was full capacity at the time, with the permit for runners growing incrementally to the current capacity. Johannesburg is the only event in the Corporate Challenge Series to sell out each year of its existence.
A total of 11 companies entered 250 of more employees. Investec led the way with 706 total entrants, followed by PwC (501), Standard Bank (457), Liberty (430), KPMG (412), Smollan (348), Deloitte (301), Ernst & Young (301), Rand Merchant Bank (300), ABSA Corporate and Investment Bank (250), and Stanlib (250).
This is the second consecutive year that Investec had the largest team, having entered 752 in 2017. It has also entered a total of 2,957 total employees over the last five Corporate Challenges (2014-18). This is the second-most entrants in that period, trailing only Standard Bank, which has entered a whopping 3,292. Liberty is the third-largest team in the 5-year timeframe, with 2,386. Collectively, the three companies have represented 12-percent of the total Corporate Challenge in that time.
On the 5.6km (3.5 miles) race course, Implats, a leading producer of platinum and associated platinum group metals, dominated the competition, with four of the first five male finishers. Edward Mothibi broke the winners’ tape in a time of 17:31, followed by his colleagues Samuel Matsepe (17:39) and David Gatebe (17:56).
KPMG, the global professional services firm, produced the first female finisher – Stella Marais (21:06). Mia Van Heerden of Investec was second in 21:43, with Ricci-Lee Brookstone of FNB BCB third in 22:50.
After Mothibi and Marais were presented with their first-place prizes, the Awards Stage on the Wanderers Club lower cricket oval was converted into a concert venue and exclusive post-race entertainment was headlined by Sketchy Bongo featuring Kaien Cruz, Kyle Deutch and Aewon Wolf.
With a combination of competition, community and camaraderie like this, it’s not surprising companies respond to the call for entry to the Corporate Challenge.
Amos Baepi served as the team captain for Redefine Properties, and registered 96 of his colleagues, an impressive increase of 35-percent from 2017. The work he puts in is a labor of love.
“I have been Redefine Company Captain for four years. I’m a regular runner and running changed my life,” Baepi said. “I wanted to bring the same enthusiasm and collaborative team work to my company. The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge was the perfect race to do that.”
Baepi also noted that the Corporate Challenge fits seamlessly with the core values of Redefine.
“Make it happen. Respect personal relationships. Mean it. Challenge the norm,” Baepi said, reciting Redefine’s company values. “When we come to this event, we act on those values. It warms my heart to see how happy we all become after the race. The reward to me as a team captain is to see them getting along and being one Redefine Team.”
For the fifth consecutive year, the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge served as a benefit and awareness-builder for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
“It’s been a fantastic partnership,” said Brett Graham, Executive Director for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa. “Sport is a unifying factor in our country, and at Laureus it is the heartbeat of what we are. Being able to showcase our programs and our athletes at the Corporate Challenge every year is exceptionally valuable to our overall marketing efforts.”
The 42nd year of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series continues on Thursday, April 26 with the 15th running of the Singapore event.