Dallas-Ft. Worth

Global reputation helps increase crowd in 2nd year of Dallas-Fort Worth

Dale Cougot has experienced the unique characteristics of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge before, but nearly 10,000 miles away in Singapore.

So, the Vice President of Cotton for Olam Agri Americas was thrilled then when he learned Dallas-Fort Worth was added to the list of locations.

“We’re excited to join here in Dallas,” Cougot said. “Several of my colleagues have participated in J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge events around the world, all agreeing on its numerous benefits. Our international organization is very diversified and at various fitness levels,  but the natural aspect of running and walking broke down all the barriers allowing for personal and interpersonal growth.”

Olam Agri was one of 44 companies from throughout the Metroplex that joined in for the second running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Dallas-Fort Worth, helping to increase the crowd size 19-percent from its debut in 2022. The 3.5-mile Corporate Challenge, starting and finishing in the Dallas Arts District, attracted 1,587 entrants.

The increase in attendance was gratifying for event owner and operator JPMorgan Chase, which waited sensibly for the Corporate Challenge to make its Dallas-Fort Worth return. The Series expanded to the region in 2020 but took two years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The patience paid off.

“The Corporate Challenge is a vibrant and fun way to bring together companies and their employees from across North Texas,” said Belen Garren, Region Manager, Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, Commercial Banking, for JPMorgan Chase. “We’re grateful to all those who came out to run, walk or just celebrate together. They made the second annual running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge a great success.”

Everyone’s effort on the race course was commemorated by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation donating on their behalf to Carry The Load. This philanthropic partnership resonated with many of the new participants.

Oliver Cooke, Managing Director at Phaidon International, was proud to report that Dallas-Fort Worth is now the fourth Corporate Challenge for his company — joining annual entries in Frankfurt, Chicago, and New York.

“My favorite part about participating in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge is seeing business leaders in the Dallas community rally around a common goal,” Cooke said. “Connecting with friends and making new ones while raising money that will directly benefit local causes is one of the most rewarding experiences of the year.

“Exceptional service is at the core of what we do and what we believe in at Phaidon International, and the Corporate Challenge is the perfect platform for us to do just that,” Cooke continued. “Having the opportunity to align our own success with the greater good is an invaluable one, and there’s nothing better than raising money for our local community and having fun with them in the process.”

The Corporate Challenge has always thrived globally with the best full-time working runners, and this night in Dallas was no exception. Juan Arcila, running for Goldman Sachs, was the first-place male finisher with a time of 20:31 (5:52 mile pace). Mariya Townswick of Kosmos Energy was the first female in 22:46 (6:30 mile pace).

And while not all participants had the speed of Arcila or Townswick, the sense of accomplishment was real among all finishers, according to Jenn Wells, team captain at Critical Start, a cyber risk reduction specialist.

“Critical Start understands the importance of a healthy lifestyle and running/walking is a great way to stay active and maintain physical well-being,” Wells said. “This race isn't just about crossing the finish line; we like to have fun so it's about achieving our goals as a team, celebrating our achievements, and strengthening the bonds that make our workplace a supportive and collaborative environment.”

The Corporate Challenge proved popular with companies of various industry groups. The 10 largest registered business in terms of entrants were: Goldman Sachs (88), Crescent Bank (70), Sixth Street Partners (40), Mr. Cooper Group (39), VIRA Insight (39), Fidelity Investments (38), Kirkland Ellis (34), Hunt Consolidated (28), Phaidon International (28), and McKinsey & Company (26).

This was the second consecutive year in Dallas-Fort Worth that Corporate Challenge celebrated Carry The Load, a 501(c)3 organization that connects people to the sacrifices made daily by our military, veterans, first responders and their families. The partnership between the Corporate Challenge and Carry The Load also helped inspire VIRA Insight to bring 39 of its employees to the starting line.

“We recently launched a program called Connecting with Care that is geared towards furthering our community involvement and initiatives,” said Susan Zaruba, VP of Strategic Support at VIRA Insight, a leader in the design and manufacturing of custom solutions for built environments. “Being part of an event that supports Carry The Load, and their initiatives, is a great way for us to give back to the community and our veterans.  We could not be more grateful that the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge aligns with our corporate social responsibility and reenforces our VIRA Values.”

Urban Family Concepts — a popular group of restaurants in nearby Plano — was excited to join the Corporate Challenge also because of the beneficiary connection.

“We deliver hospitality to our guests every day and having the opportunity to bond as a team outside of the restaurants, especially for the greater good with Carry The Load as beneficiary, is so valuable to us,” said Dana Blaugrund, Team Captain, Urban Family Concepts. “We want to take every chance to put our family-like culture into action and do something fun and rewarding as a team.”

Dallas-Fort Worth concludes the United States portion of the 2023 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series and was the 13th location of the year. The 47th year of the Series has two events remaining – Buenos Aires (November 2) and Shanghai (November 16). Once the full 15-location, eight-country, six-continent Series is complete, there will be over 190,000 total Corporate Challenge entrants in 2023, the highest number since 2019.