Rochester’s 31st Corporate Challenge continues the positive 2023 vibes

ROCHESTER, June 1, 2023 – The 31st J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Rochester once again proved that workers enjoy being together.

An impressive 3,954 entrants from 194 companies gathered Downtown for a 3.5-mile run/walk and a post-race party within Innovative Field, continuing a resurgent trend for the 2023 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series. Through four 2023 events in three different countries, overall Series attendance is up a whopping 75%.

After an absence in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Corporate Challenge events globally were a question mark. But Rochester proved its desire for the event is not lacking, despite the changed landscape.

“Rochester is rallying, like so many other cities following COVID, and being Downtown for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge is a celebration of our spirit and resilience,” said Casey Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Commercial Bank, for JPMorgan Chase, who’s office tower is in clear sight of Innovative Field. “It’s an absolute pleasure to present this night of competition and camaraderie and show our pride for being part of the Rochester business community.”

Entrants were graced with an absolutely splendid Western New York night to compete – blue skies, comfortable temperatures, a unique urban race course. And the post-race reward was a memorable party inside the home of the Rochester Red Wings baseball club, replete with fireworks.

Precision Optical Transceivers, a system engineering and integration company, has been participating in the Corporate Challenge for over a decade, dating back to when the event was held at the Rochester Institute of Technology. And team captain Alicca Hudson finds extra value now in bringing the company together wearing runner bib numbers.

“It is a great team-building event,” Hudson said. “It is the perfect way to socialize and connect with co-workers and other local employees, all while taking in the scenic views of Rochester. 

“It is as important as ever to bring the workforce together, especially in a post-pandemic era,” Hudson continued. “Office dynamics shifted and with much less facetime versus the pre-pandemic era, team building events like these are important to strengthen the overall morale of the workforce.” 

Of the nearly 200 participating companies, Paychex was the largest with 217 entrants, followed by L3Harris (161), University of Rochester (115), CooperVision (96), RG&E (88), and St. John Fisher University (87). Event owner and operator JPMorgan Chase – who has been in charge of this event ever since its 1991 debut at Highland Park – registered 77 employees.

G.W. Lisk, a global leader in the design and manufacture of engineered solutions, appreciates the health and togetherness benefits of the Corporate Challenge and supports it right from the corner office.

“Our company president and upper management joins in along with our employees,” said team captain Stephanie Ross. “When we give employees a healthy avenue to get moving and build relationships together, we will be stronger as a work community.”

The strongest on the race course was – once again – the incredible Trisha Byler.

Byler, running for her employer International Flavor & Fragrances, won the women’s division with a stunning time of 19:44 – the best time to date in the 2023 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series (through four events).

Byler’s time was 40 seconds faster than her 2022 finish and it marked her FIFTH consecutive Corporate Challenge victory. Byler has won every race since this event moved Downtown in 2017 (2017, 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2023). Erin Gibbons of the University of Rochester was a solid second in 21:22.

The men’s race also had a runner in top form – first-time champion Lee Sortore of Progressive Machine & Design. Sortore outkicked the 2022 champion, Scott LoForte of Popli Design Group, and finished with an official winning time of 17:11. LoForte’s runner-up effort was clocked at 17:20.

Rochester participants left Innovative Field also realizing their efforts will have a lasting impact. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation will donate in celebration of the Corporate Challenge to Rochester Area Community Foundation (RACF), a leading grantmaker in the Greater Rochester-Finger Lakes region. RACF works with donors and community partners to strengthen communities within the eight-county region through philanthropy.

And the buzz around the water cooler and on Zoom the morning after the race will be about Rochester 2024, and how the Corporate Challenge will be poised for even more growth.

“There’s nothing like feeling the energy of a group of people working together towards a common goal. That energy exponentially grows when you are able to bring people together face-to-face,” said Tim Marion, team captain for Lewis Services, one of North America’s largest vegetation management companies. “Communities and businesses thrive when they are able to build relationships and connections with people. Events like the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge are great ways to bring people together.”

The 47th year of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series travels approximately 330 miles within the Empire State for its next stop – a two-night event in New York City’s Central Park on May 31 and June 1.