A night in the Back Bay proves to be annually popular for Boston corporates

When Chrissy McGann was approached to discuss Silicon Labs’ annual participation in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston, she didn’t hesitate to respond.

“Of course,” she enthused. “Love being captain of this crew!”

Naturally, then, McGann will be on the Beacon Street starting line with dozens of her colleagues from the wireless technology company for the 38th edition of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 22.

“We do it for the team bonding aspect,” said McGann, who served as team captain and proudly points to Silicon Labs’ participation that dates back to 2003. “Every year we leave the office at 5:30 p.m., walk to the start line, take pictures, stretch, and laugh with each other. And every year I get to know somebody in the office better than ever walking over with them, running with them or at the dinner celebration after. It is a great event for our office.”

The Boston Corporate Challenge has earned its place in the fabric of the Hub’s business community. Held annually since 1984 – with the exception of 2020 and 2021 when it took two sensible years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic – it draws the majority of its participation from companies that eagerly await the opening of registration. Now more than ever.

“We have participated in the Corporate Challenge each year since 2008,” said Nathan Michael, team captain for Weston & Sampson, an interdisciplinary design, engineering, and environmental services firm.  “This has become an annual tradition with up to 50 people from multiple offices participating in past years. The pandemic taught us how to be resilient and flexible to keep work moving forward, however, events like this cannot be replaced and we value the opportunity to get together in person and have a great evening.”

Registration for the June 22 Corporate Challenge is open now through May 11 with an entry fee of $59 per person. It is a company event, with a minimum of four employees per company, and the historic 3.5-mile Back Bay race course has something for everything – whether you are a sub-five-minute miler, jogger, or walker. The all-inclusive Corporate Challenge Leaderboard also provides official results in specific categories for athletes with disabilities and non-binary entrants.

The race begins at 7:15 p.m. and this is the first full-fledged Corporate Challenge in Boston since 2019. Last year the event returned from COVID with a soft relaunch that featured attendance of 2,812 entrants from 182 companies.

“We love this race.  We’ve been participants since the (Corporate Challenge) Series first started and have even had some recent success over the past decade, winning the Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed team races,” said Alex Bradford, team captain for Fortune 100 insurer Liberty Mutual.

“It is consistently held on or near the longest day of the year with great weather along a beautiful course,” Bradford continued. “This is the type of event where titles don’t matter and everyone wears the same matching, slightly sweaty t-shirt. What better way to make new connections than with miles and smiles at the Corporate Challenge?”

Boston is a unicorn of sorts in the 15-city, eight-country, six-continent Corporate Challenge, as it is the only location that does not offer post-race hospitality on-site. But the ultra-convenient Boston Common location provides easy access to a variety of restaurants, bars and other options for in-person company camaraderie, and the participants gladly take advantage.

“We have an annual post-race party at MJ O’Connor’s,” said Liberty Mutual’s Bradford. “Our plan is to run fast then rehydrate and refuel while sharing our stories about the race.”

“We are going to all get matching shirts, take pictures and go out to a big fun dinner at Maggiano’s after!” said Silicon Labs’ McGann. “We go to Maggiano’s and eat, drink, and be happy! We feel it is so important. We do everything in person now because the value and feeling of talking and connecting with people face to face are so much better than on a screen!”

Weston & Sampson will also be reserving a large space at a nearby establishment and looks forward to dining on the good vibes of the Corporate Challenge for months to follow.

“We believe in giving back to our community. That's why we participate in events like the Corporate Challenge,” said team captain Michael. “It's a great way to support charitable organizations and promote health and fitness among our employees. Our company tagline, ‘transform your environment,’ speaks to our commitment to making a positive impact on the world around us. Participating in events like this allows us to do just that – transform not only our own lives but also the lives of others in our community.”