The positive memories descend on Delaware Park for 41st Corporate Challenge

BUFFALO, June 15, 2023 – Ingram Micro has seen it all at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Buffalo, bringing its employees to Delaware Park for more than 30 years.

But the distributor of information technology products has never been more grateful for the 3.5-mile team run/walk than right now.

“We’ve welcomed a number of new associates who haven’t yet had the opportunity to participate in the Corporate Challenge because of the (COVID-19) pandemic,” explained Therese Ferullo, Campus Leader and VP of Sales, for Ingram Micro. “It was truly a great experience to watch people meet and for newer teams, to experience the event for the first time. We have a hybrid workforce, and although our teams do see each other, this is outside the office! It’s always great to get a group of associates together for some exercise and fun.”

Ferullo’s quote summed up the atmosphere on this night within Delaware Park, as the Corporate Challenge proved it is well on its way to being back to full capacity and has a bright future ahead of it.

The 41st edition of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Buffalo attracted a crowd of 7,011 entrants from 235 companies. That represented a 19% increase in the total number of entries and a 14% increase in the number of participating companies from 2022, when the event took baby steps back from a two-year COVID absence with a reduced-capacity event.

Buffalo was the seventh stop in the 2023 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series, and it continued a surge in overall attendance. The Series total now is 135,518 entrants (19,360 average attendance) compared to 74,221 (10,603) from the same seven events in 2022. That is a stunning 83% rise.

Other long-time participating companies, like Moog, a designer and manufacturer of advanced motion control products, feel the Corporate Challenge hasn’t lost a step.

“We participate because of the camaraderie and enjoyment it brings to our employees,” said Bob Toft, who captained Moog and put together the largest team in the event, an impressive 289 entrants. “Teamwork and collaboration are important aspects of our company culture. Employee wellness is also something we take very seriously. The event is great because we get to bond with our colleagues over fitness and have fun.”

And that’s music to the ears of event owner and operator JPMorgan Chase.

“This is exactly why we keep bringing this event back to Buffalo,” said Bob McArdle, Managing Director, Commercial Bank, JPMorgan Chase. “The personal emotional connection the Corporate Challenge makes with companies large and small is genuine and meaningful.”

Excelsior Orthopaedics and the Buffalo Surgery Center combined as the dedicated health care providers for the event. But, in addition to assuring the safety of race participants, it also brought a sense of togetherness to the providers through a fun post-race party.

“We all enjoy an evening of comradery at the post-race tent party,” said Donna Crum, team captain for Excelsior, who registered 125 of her colleagues. “Berrafato’s catered a traditional summer cookout to include grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken and a variety of sides. We had an area set up for yard games for all to enjoy. We always look forward to a meaningful evening for our team members getting to spend time with one another outside of their usual work setting.

“Our practice naturally lends itself to those who enjoy sports and competition, and we also revel in the opportunity to showcase a more casual and spirited side of ourselves,” Crum continued, explaining the Corporate Challenge’s appeal to Excelsior. “The team members that participate are diverse, and so we appreciate that this race is inclusive by encouraging all levels of runners and walkers to participate.”  

And William Hilbert from Moog and Excelsior’s Cassie Woody took their competitiveness to the next level.

Hilbert won the men’s division individual title, covering the 3.5-mile Delaware Park course in 17:04. He held off James Dickinson of ACV, who finished second in 17:15.

Woody earned the women’s crown in 21:12, holding off a good challenge from Lizzy Mahoney of Jewish Community Center, who’s runner-up time was 23:06.

Buffalo entrants had an extra spring in their step knowing their efforts were benefitting City Year, which recruits/trains Student Success Coaches ages 18-25 from diverse backgrounds to serve full-time in underserved local schools. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation donated to the not-for-profit organization in celebration of the 7,011 participants.

“At Merchants, we’re a relationship-oriented company, and the Corporate Challenge is a fun team bonding tradition our colleagues look forward to every year,” said Rob Tromans, team captain for Merchants Insurance Group. “Plus, our company highly values philanthropy and wellness – we love to get active for a good cause!”

After racing and partying in Frankfurt, Germany and Buffalo on back-to-back nights, the 47th year of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series takes a well-deserved long weekend off before returning on Thursday, June 22 in Boston.