40th year and a return to in-person racing are reasons to celebrate at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Buffalo

All of the competition, teamwork and fun with the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge began with a single race in New York’s Central Park in 1977.

But what city has held the second-most Corporate Challenges?

That would be prideful Buffalo, New York – known for, among other things, its vibrant support of its beloved NFL football team, the Buffalo Bills, and its passion for the Corporate Challenge.

Buffalo will be hosting its 40th running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 16, with a 6:25 p.m. race start at Delaware Park. Participants can expect a similar experience to earlier Corporate Challenges, with a 3.5-mile in-person road race and expansive hospitality available within Delaware Park. The emphasis will be on safety, with the Corporate Challenge following local health guidelines to deliver peace of mind and a world-class road racing experience.

There will be a historic element as well. For the first time at a J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, participants in Buffalo may register as non-binary and be eligible for scoring in the mixed team division. Mixed teams shall include no more than two participants registering under the same gender – for example, two female and two non-binary teammates, or one male, one non-binary and two females.

The last time the Western New York business community got together for the Corporate Challenge was on June 13, 2019, when a typically-outstanding crowd of 13,869 participants from 427 companies entered. It was the largest number of businesses registered in the event’s history, and practically eclipsed the total participants (425) at the very first Buffalo Corporate Challenge in 1981.

The Corporate Challenge has become part of the business community’s fabric, as shown by over 30 years of consecutive participation by Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

“Being part of this great event is something all of us here at the NFTA look forward to every year,” said Mike Moore, Team Captain for NFTA, at the 2019 race. “It is important for us to field a team because we enjoy being part of what the Corporate Challenge represents – building camaraderie within the organization in a social setting, participating in a healthy activity. It also builds a sense of team, as we’re not running/walking as individuals, but for our company!”

An excellent cross section of industries drives the success of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Buffalo. Grocery giant Wegmans had the largest participation in 2019, with 501 participants. Nine others registered 200 or more, including Ingram Micro (482), Kaleida Health (413), Buffalo Public Schools (366), M&T Bank (278), Moog (253), HSBC (245), Elderwood (239), Erie County Medical Center (218), and Erie County (213).

“This is a terrific way for our employees to get together to have some fun and socialize outside of work. We encourage those not running/walking to come out and support our entire team,” said Kim Taton, Team Captain and HR Generalist for Lactalis, while enjoying the 2019 atmosphere in Delaware Park.

“We start posting this event early (in the spring) to encourage anyone wanting to join our team. Our company pays a part of the registration for those who sign up to run/walk,” Taton said. “We host a tent with a great dinner for everyone once the run is complete. It gives our employees an opportunity to come out and meet other employees that they don’t work alongside of every day. It makes for a wonderful team event.”

Over the 40-year history of this event, you’ve seen a lot of changes on the bib numbers and finisher shirts. J.P. Morgan and its predecessor firms have owned and operated the Corporate Challenge since that first Central Park race in 1977. The event was branded the Manufacturers Hanover Corporate Challenge from 1977–1991, the Chemical Bank Corporate Challenge 1992–1995, the Chase Corporate Challenge 1996–2000, the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge 2001–2010, and now the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge since 2011.

The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series is deep in the planning stages of hosting events in 15 locations in eight countries in 2022. The Series is enjoying expansion this year, with new events scheduled to be held later in the year in Buenos Aires, Dallas-Fort Worth and Philadelphia. Buenos Aires will mark the Corporate Challenge’s first visit to South America, giving the Series a presence on all six inhabited continents.

The Series hosted 251,299 participants from 7,581 companies in the last full year of racing in 2019. The 2020 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Virtual Event was the largest remote running event in the world.