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American Packaging
Members of American Packaging gather for a pre-race photo on an ideal day for running and camaraderie at the Chase Corporate Challenge in Rochester.

Rochester celebrates spring with community
effort in 21st Chase Corporate Challenge

An appreciative Amy Fici, president of Child Care Council, the race beneficiary, addresses the race participants. (Ken Hugh photos)

ROCHESTER, May 24, 2011 — Bill Pollock, founder and President/CEO of Optimation Technology has run in plenty of Chase Corporate Challenge® events in Rochester.

Eighteen of the 21, in fact.

“But this is one of the best ones in terms of weather,” Pollock said, moments before the 7 p.m. start under cloudless, blue skies with temperatures in the mid-60’s. “We deserve this after the type of winter we endured up here.”

Indeed, it was a celebration of spring for the residents of Western New York. And they showed up in force — 8,962 strong from 394 companies for the 21st annual Chase Corporate Challenge at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Pollock and his Optimation colleagues have entered the Corporate Challenge annually since 1994, with the team organized by company captain Diane Trentini each time.

“She really deserves the credit for all the work she does behind the scenes,” Pollock said. “It is tremendous because we all get to come out and I get to have fun with everybody, including the ‘never, never’ types. You know, those that say, ‘I could never run or walk 3.5 miles.’ But they find their way out here and have a great time.”

Those “never, never” types joined Rochester’s best racers, regular runners, joggers and walkers in an unmatched atmosphere of team-building and camaraderie.

Jessica Snyder of the University of Rochester and Jeff Beck of Medved Outfitters salute the crowd after winning the women's and men's individual titles.

“This is what I love about working and living here,” enthused Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks from the start stage. “The Chase Corporate Challenge really captures the enthusiasm and spirit of this community.”

The University of Rochester had the largest number of participants with an impressive 318, following closely behind by Wegmans (252), Paychex (202) and Unity Health System (202). RIT (147), Tops Friendly Markets (131), Chase (127), Coopervision (122), the YMCA of Greater Rochester (118) and Verizon Wireless (105) rounded out the top 10.

An estimated 350 of the 394 companies had tents, the largest percentage of post-race partying in the Corporate Challenge Series.

In addition to having the largest teams, U of R also had some of the finest runners. Jessica Snyder was the first overall women’s finisher, breaking the tape in 20:20 for her first career Corporate Challenge victory. She bested 2nd place finisher Trisha Byler of Danisco (20:33) and Rachel Sweet of the Greece Central School District (21:37). Snyder and Byler have plenty of experience at the front of the pack — Snyder represented U of R at the 2010 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship in Johannesburg; Byler recently returned from the 2011 Championship in Singapore.

Speaking of runners with a long resumé, Jeff Beck of Medved Running and Walking Outfitters won his fourth Chase Corporate Challenge men’s title, racing home in an impressive 17:44. Another past champ, Dave Bradshaw of the Palmyra-Macedon School District, was second in 18:04, with Jim Derick of Corning third in 18:29. Derick has run in dozens of Corporate Challenge events through the years — including multiple Championships — usually finishing in the top five.

The outstanding crowd also provided a great platform to raise awareness of the good work in the community provided by event beneficiary, Child Care Council, Inc.

A not-for-profit that provides information, training and resources to child care providers and parents in Livingston, Monroe and Wayne counties, Child Care Council provides training courses, community programs and important licensing information for parents and providers so that they can offer the best care possible.

Kerry Wille (2853) of Greece Central School District leads a large contingent of runners off the starting line in the 2011 Chase Corporate Challenge. Wille would go on to finish sixth among women finishers in 22:12.

“We are proud through our Chase Corporate Challenge events in upstate New York to call attention to the importance of early child care,” said E. Malcolm “Sandy” Wolcott, president for Chase in upstate New York. “Research completed over the past decade clearly shows that 75% of a child’s brain growth occurs before age five. And children who attend quality early learning programs enter kindergarten ready to learn, and twice as likely to graduate high school and attend college.”

All participants (and fans of the Corporate Challenge) now have an opportunity to judge who the most artistic companies were. Please visit our Facebook page today at www.facebook.com/RochesterCorporateChallenge, “Like” us, and then vote in the T-Shirt contest. There are two categories — “Most Creative” and “Teaming Up For a Greener Tomorrow.” Please cast your vote by Friday, June 3.

Results will be on the Facebook page and this website, with the two winners receiving a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series takes a one-day break and then resumes on Thursday, May 26 with the 30th annual Corporate Challenge at Chicago’s Grant Park.

(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at series-info@jpmorganchasecc.com)


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