The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® is sure looking good at 40.
On a picture-perfect night that Frederick Law Olmsted may have had in mind when he designed Central Park, the most-popular and longest-running after-work sporting event in New York was conducted for the 40th consecutive year.
The 3.2-mile J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge attracted a sold-out crowd of 15,000 runners and walkers from 329 companies on the first of two nights of racing. That's a significant increase from the 200 entrants from 50 companies that lined up at the first Corporate Challenge on July 13, 1977.
Back then, the Corporate Challenge only had one city. Now it has swelled to 13 in seven countries on five continents. And to commemorate the 40th, New York also hosted the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship, featuring the first-place teams from each of those 13 cities. The Championship starting horn sounded 10 minutes before the New York race.
Sean Swift is familiar with this supreme competition. He was part of the J.P. Morgan team that competed in the 2014 Championship in London's Battersea Park. On this night, he ran in a style appropriate for his name, winning the men's division of the New York race in 16:11. Rob Dugger, representing Morgan Stanley, was the runner-up in 16:21. S&P Global Market Intelligence employee Tyler Udland was third in 16:43.
Veronica Jackson, representing Mendes & Mount, was crowned the champion in the women's New York race, crossing in 18:13, for her first career victory at this race. Ana Johnson of Memorial Sloan Kettering was a strong second in 18:17, followed by Katarina Janosikova of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
The course covered by Swift and Jackson was 3.2 miles, shorter than the traditional Corporate Challenge distance of 3.5-miles in order to accommodate the daily needs of Central Park. J.P. Morgan made a donation on behalf of all entrants to the Central Park Conservancy.
Event owner and operator J.P. Morgan not only had the swiftest runner in the race, but it also had the largest number of participants — 1,027. American Express registered 993, Goldman Sachs 933, Thomson Reuters 302 and BNP Paribas 300.
The event — defining its long appeal — sold out within a week of opening registration and had a final waiting list of 348 companies with 7,990 total projected entrants. The Corporate Challenge has reached a full capacity each of the last 13 years when it has hosted back-to-back events.
Tomorrow night, the New York runners have the stage all to themselves for the second night of racing.art