Philadelphia’s second edition proves appetizing to new companies

PHILADELPHIA, October 5, 2023 – Something special is cooking at one of the newest locations in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series.

Philadelphia, which was scheduled to join the Series just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and patiently waited two years to host its debut event in October 2022, is already experiencing rapid growth and participation from throughout the region.

“I’m an avid runner and have been tracking the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge for a few years now and have been really impressed by the global footprint of the races,” said Eric Rooney, Regional Professional Resource Director for The Siegfried Group, a CPA firm. “I have been curious to experience the event firsthand with my colleagues.”

“The Siegfried Group has a national footprint, but with our headquarters in nearby Wilmington, Delaware, a large contingent of our employees reside in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and the surrounding suburbs,” Rooney continued. “Being spread out across Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey can make it a challenge to get groups together for runs, so this race gives us a unique and amazing opportunity to come together and connect over our shared passion for running with each other and others in the local business community.”

Thanks in part to robust participation from The Siegfried Group, the second edition of the 3.5-mile J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Philadelphia, staged near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, attracted a crowd of 1,585 entrants from 66 companies. This represents a fantastic increase of 56% in the total number of entries and a 32% increase in the number of participating companies from 2022.

The after-work 6:45 p.m. event was blessed with perfect weather, creating an optimal outdoor bonding experience for companies.

“This was our company’s first time running the race, and we could not be more excited for it,” said Marvin Ta, Team Captain for engineering firm Pennoni. “We don’t all work together on a daily basis, so events like this allow us all to bond as a company rather than amongst our own divisions. We always love doing Thursday happy hours, but we’re also super competitive. So, when you add running to happy hour, we’re all ears, or legs!”

Philadelphia had put its toe in the water with the Corporate Challenge in previous generations. The Series, which was founded in 1977 in New York City, had last visited the City of Brotherly Love in 1997. This time, more than a quarter century later, the race has found a new audience eager to embrace collegiality.

“This is our first time at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Philadelphia following Exelixis’ expansion to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania in 2022,” said Ed Lelina, Manager, Materials Management for drug discovery company Exelixis. “Being new to the area, we wanted to join an event that would celebrate wellness in the workplace and support our mission to help cancer patients recover stronger and live longer. As one of the largest teams registered for this year’s event, we are excited to participate and exceed together.”

The Corporate Challenge is an all-inclusive event for all skill levels – walkers, joggers, and some of the best races in each of its 15 worldwide locations. And the competition down the Kelly Drive racecourse here proved as keen as ever, with four familiar faces at the very front of the pack.

Zoe Matherne of Richards, Layton and Finger earned the female division title with a finishing time of 20:34 (5:53 mile pace), successfully defending her 2022 title while shaving eight seconds off her winning time. Amanda Daws Cohen of the Fairmount Park Conservancy was a strong second to Matherne in both races.

Xavier Court, representing Aramark, was tops in the men’s division with a finishing time of 19:41 (5:37 mile pace). Court was second in 2022, and swapped places with the only runner to beat him last year, DJ Krystek of PwC.

National accounting firm Marcum enjoyed the debut J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Philadelphia in 2022 and was eager to get back on the starting line.

“Marcum LLP’s Philadelphia Office is proud to be sending out one of the largest corporate teams to this year’s Corporate Challenge,” said Jeffrey D. Zudeck, Mid-Atlantic Regional Managing Partner. “It’s a great opportunity for our partners, associates and friends to bond together in an activity that promotes health and wellness. We eagerly anticipated the race; it truly demonstrates our core values of teamwork and community in action, and beyond all of that, is just a lot of fun!”

All Philadelphia entrants were celebrated with J.P. Morgan donating on their behalf to The Fairmount Park Conservancy. A partner with the Corporate Challenge since it announced its decision to expand to Philadelphia in 2020, the Conservancy brings Philadelphia’s parks to life. They work with the City of Philadelphia and its communities to steward the city’s parks and nurture Philadelphia’s shared environment, cultural resources and public health.

Katie Casey, Team Captain for FFT Wealth Management/LGL Partners and another business participating for the first time, noted that the donation to Fairmount Park Conservancy was a key driver to her company’s participation; along with signature local cuisine.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Corporate Challenge,” Casey said. “After relocating our office to Center City, we are excited to have colleagues from other offices travel to Philly for the event and include cheesesteaks after the finish line! The time spent outside the office is invaluable to fostering a strong company culture.”

The 47th year of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series travels next to Dallas-Fort Worth on Thursday, October 26th, with surely some of the participating companies enjoying authentic Texas BBQ in post-race hospitality. The final four events of 2023 emphasizes the global flavor of the Series as it visits four countries – U.S., Australia (Sydney, October 25), Argentina (Buenos Aires, November 2), and China (Shanghai, November 16).