Gian-Paul Caccia of TradingScreen breaks the finish line tape held by Catherine Keating (left) and Carter Franke (right) of JPMorgan Chase.
This one was in the cards
for first-time winners in Central Park
Results | Photos
Members of News Corporation gather for a group photo on a rock overlooking Central Park's Sheep Meadow. News Corporation was one of 373 companies participating on the first of two nights of racing in Central Park. Photos: Joe Vericker.
NEW YORK, June 16, 2010 – The 34th annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Central Park was a perfect venue for Gian-Paul Caccia to practice his craft.
An account manager on the sales team for TradingScreen, a provider of electronic trading solutions, Caccia was tempted to hand out business cards to participants on the 3.5-mile race course. After all, the sold-out crowd of 15,000 runners from 373 companies featured many from financial services outfits that Caccia does business with.
“It was the perfect networking opportunity,” Caccia said. “Everywhere I looked, there was a company we have a relationship with.”
There was only one flaw in Caccia’s plan to build sales contacts. He just ran too darn fast.
A 2008 graduate of Loyola (Maryland), where he was a distance running standout, Caccia was the first men’s finisher in the Corporate Challenge, crossing the Bethesda Fountain finish line in 17:36, six seconds ahead of defending champ Sean Swift of race owner and operator JPMorgan Chase.
Caccia is a first-time Corporate Challenge participant, and believes that his triumph could indeed help him in the workplace.
“I’m sure it will come up in some conversations,” he said. “Maybe it will help me with a few sales. It’s great to be able to combine two things I’m passionate about – work and running.”
Same for the women’s champion, Catherine Mullen of The Rockefeller Group, also a first-timer breaking the tape.
Fried Frank was one of the companies happy to have clear, dry weather for the race and post-event party in Central Park.
Mullen, a 2007 Princeton graduate, pulled double-duty in this Corporate Challenge, also serving as team captain for the 22-person Rockefeller team. The administrative duties gave the accomplished runner an appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes at a race, and also allowed her to connect with her colleagues.
“It really was a great experience, being able to help my co-workers get a chance to run in this terrific race,” she said. “And I’m so proud to win the race with The Rockefeller Group on my shirt.”
Mullen, who pulls demanding hours in the Investment Management Group at the commercial real estate firm, didn’t take any chances with this race. Shortly after New York City Police Officer Jason Martinoff finished a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, Mullen took it out with an aggressive pace and held it, logging a very impressive winning time of 19:07. Aileen Conlon of Polo Ralph Lauren ran a terrific 19:37 but happened to come up against a runner on top of her game.
“I ran a 2:40 marathon in Boston this past April to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials,” enthused Mullen, who ran with her twin sister Caroline at Princeton. “That was a big highlight and I’m running with a lot of confidence.”
Catherine Mullen of The Rockefeller Group is a happy winner after she breaks the tape held by Penny Ford of USA TODAY (left) and Patrick King of Rockport (right).
Both Caccia and Mullen are products of the famed New York Athletic Club running team and know the in’s and out’s of a Central Park course.
“Some people underestimate the hills in here,” Caccia said. “I think everybody was hurting tonight at about the two-mile mark.”
But at least the participants were comfortable and dry. After a dreadful overnight forecast had event organizers preparing rain contingency plans, the night turned out clear and cool. Perfect weather for racing and enjoying post-race hospitality.
The conditions also showed off Central Park at its emerald best. And each participant gave back to the city jewel, as the JPMorgan Chase Foundation made a donation for each entry to the Central Park Conservancy.
This was the first of two nights of racing in Central Park. The two J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge events will draw a capacity total of 30,000 entrants. The races have sold out each year since 1988, often times less than one month after registration opens.
The five largest participating companies on this night were Goldman Sachs (873 entrants); Bloomberg (820); Morgan Stanley (651); Credit Suisse (598) and American Express (545). Financial services firms made up approximately 50-percent of the total entrants on this night.
Nature Publishing Company and Time Warner Cable do their business in other industry groups, and they were judged to be the most creative. Both were winners in the Corporate Challenge t-shirt competition and will receive $1,000 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to donate to a charity of their choice.
The top runners will now await tabulation of team results to learn which men’s, women’s and mixed teams will represent New York in the 2011 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Singapore. Official results will be posted after the eligibility status of the top runners is confirmed. Participants in the Corporate Challenge must be actively employed, working a minimum of 25 hours a week for at least three months prior to race day for the company they are representing. Temporary employees, employees on leave, and sub-contractors are not eligible.
The winning teams are compiled from the fastest company times of the two nights combined. Caccia and Mullen were among the runners who set the bar high the first evening.
(For comments on JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series features, or suggestions for feature stories, please contact Alan Tieuli at email@example.com)