The Corporate Challenge is “beyond just running competitively”

Bianca Chua doesn’t consider herself a runner. When registration opened for the  J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Singapore last year – the first in-person race after a two-year hiatus as a result of the pandemic – she passed on the opportunity to enter the run; a choice she had since regretted.

“I didn’t think I was a serious runner and felt my timing would not be good enough for the run,” said Chua, a human resources employee for event owner and operator J.P. Morgan. “I felt I wasn’t up to standard, so I decided not to participate.”

But almost immediately after the Corporate Challenge event took place in November, she was hit with a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).

“I saw all my friends and all my colleagues joining the Corporate Challenge – even friends from other organizations – and they had a great time, with some of them just walking during the race,” said Chua. “They all talked about what a great bonding event it was, beyond just running competitively. After hearing about their experiences, I became very excited about registering for this year’s event.”

Chua says she will be at the starting line when the 18th running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Singapore takes off the evening of April 27  from the F1 Pit Building. Registration is now open for the 3.5-mile (5.6km) team road race with an entry fee of SGD 72.

Last year’s run was a soft relaunch of the Singapore Corporate Challenge, as large-scale in-person events gradually return with the re-opening of economies and borders. This year, the most coveted after-work sporting/social event on the city-state’s business calendar is confident of increasing those numbers with a longer-term goal of returning to pre-pandemic levels (14,380 entrants, 423 companies in 2019).

Returning to the race is seasoned and avid runner Dean Martin, who was also the fastest male runner from J.P Morgan in last year’s race, clocking in at 22:27.

“The Corporate Challenge last year happened as I was training for a marathon,” said Dean Martin, who also works in human resources at the company. “It was ideal because I had a preparation plan for the marathon where I was gradually increasing my intensity. The Corporate Challenge distance was ideal and fitted right into my training plan.”

And beyond preparing him for a marathon, Martin found other intangible benefits from the Corporate Challenge.

“An event like this brings you together with colleagues you may not meet in your day-to-day work,” he said. “It builds a bond. In the lead-up to the race, some of us will run as a group after work, and then cap off the evening with a meal together.”

Singapore will be the second stop of the 2023 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series, which is scheduled to tour 15 cities in eight countries on six continents. This will be the 47th consecutive year of operation for the Series dating back to 1977, with 45 years of in-person racing and two years of virtual participation during COVID.

“Since COVID I have adopted a more active lifestyle,” said Chua. “I even got a fitness watch to motivate me to run.”

Quick recap: 2022 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Singapore

The front of the pack runners in 2022 were led by Gen Lin Foo of MOH Holdings, who won the men’s division with a finishing time of 18:43 (5:21 pace). Jasmine Teo of Ice earned the women’s crown in 21:17 (6:05). For each, it was their third individual Corporate Challenge titles. Lin Foo won his first in 2012 and then again in 2018. Teo was the 2017 and 2019 champion.

Korn Ferry (women’s team), BNP Paribas (men) and MOH Holdings (mixed) topped the race-night leaderboard as the fastest teams, though all 209 registered companies found victory in some form – be it through personal best times, business networking, or firm-wide camaraderie.

The 10 largest companies in terms of entries in 2022 were J.P. Morgan (583 entrants), Jacobs (191 entrants), BlackRock (162), Goldman Sachs (157), GIC Pte Ltd (150), Visa (150), Chevron (126), BNP Paribas (122), Fitch Group (105), and Munich Re Singapore (101).