25 years later, Philadelphia rejoins Series, benefits Fairmount Park Conservancy

A quarter century ago, the Corporate Challenge was conducted in Philadelphia.

It was late September, 1997, and a total of 1,204 runners and walkers from 102 companies took in part in what was then called the Chase Corporate Challenge. It was the third Corporate Challenge held in Center City, following one-off races in 1987 and 1992.

Now it’s back, as the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. The unique distance (3.5-miles) is the same. The after-work business hours/mid-week start continues. And now it is part of the world’s largest corporate sporting/social event, with stops in 15 cities in eight countries.

Between 1997 and today, the Corporate Challenge has grown from being held in two countries to eight, from two continents to six, and from 130,000 total participants to more than 250,000 in 2019.

The time is right, and the stage is set for a vibrant return. Registration is now open for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Philadelphia, which will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2022, starting near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The registration fee is $59 per person, and available only to companies who register a minimum of four employees (with no maximum).

The Corporate Challenge – which was founded in New York’s Central Park in 1977 and has been held continuously ever since, now in its 46th year of operation – provides an opportunity to invest in your company, yourself and your community while forging connections.

Beyond the road race – which is available to racers, joggers, walkers, individuals with disabilities and features non-binary registration – the Corporate Challenge features post-race hospitality options.

The community aspect of the  Corporate Challenge heralds the partnership between JPMorgan Chase – the owner and operator of the Corporate Challenge – and Fairmount Park Conservancy, a non-profit that works with the City of Philadelphia to bring the city’s parks to life.

“Parks go beyond recreation. They bring people of all backgrounds together and provide ecological, economic, cultural, and public health values to the community,” said Maura McCarthy, Executive Director for the Fairmount Park Conservancy. “As the beneficiary of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, we see a lot of parallels between the core values of this global running event and our own organization, especially when it comes to community, collaboration, wellness, and creating a place where everyone is welcome.”

JPMorgan Chase chose Fairmount Park Conservancy as its Corporate Challenge beneficiary partner in late 2019, when plans called for the 3.5-mile event to make its return to Center City in the fall of 2020.

The race sensibly pivoted to Virtual participation in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the partnership persisted, and the parks thrived.

“Over the last two years, the Conservancy has been able to host 190 nature- and health-focused public events attended by 10,800 people, plant and distribute nearly 12,000 trees, coordinate 4,614 volunteers through our Love Your Park Service Days, produce more than 80,000 pounds of produce distributed to local communities in need, complete construction of the 4.5 mile Trolley Trail in West Fairmount Park, and advance major capital projects in the Centennial District of West Fairmount Park and at FDR Park,” McCarthy detailed.

The marketing benefits of sharing the stage with the world’s largest corporate sporting/social event are equally important, according to McCarthy.

“Partnering with an event like this is a great way to build awareness for our organization,” McCarthy said. “The needs of Philadelphia’s parks far surpass the public resources available, and support from members, donors, volunteers, and advocates helps to make our work possible.” 

Corporate Challenge participants are encouraged to enjoy the many events hosted regularly within Philly’s parks and to also consider volunteering or making individual or corporate donations.

Companies interested in more information for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Philadelphia may email or phone (302) 276-8184. Many of your questions will be covered in the event’s FAQ section.

The 2022 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series will ultimately host 15 cities in eight countries in 2022 in its first full-year of in-person competition and camaraderie since 2019. The Series hosted 251,299 runners and walkers from 7,581 companies in that last full year.