Race Report: JP Morgan Corporate Challenge

Heard of this mega event? It’s a Championship battled between a lot of companies, in 13 cities and there’s a few rules to see who is the winner…

From their website: On the night of July 13th, 1977 in Central Park, a total of 200 runners from 50 companies entered an event called the Manufacturers Hanover Corporate Challenge, named for one of J.P. Morgan’s predecessor firms. The first race was inspired by the firms sponsorship of New York City Marathon. Officials at the bank looked for a way to create an event solely for corporate runners, and at a distance for which even a busy executive would have time to train for.

The race has grown to over 30,000 runners so they have split it into two separate races in consecutive days in Central Park. It’s MASSIVE. Every year, for the last few years, I had been volunteering at the race but this year I got invited to race.

I was SO scared… Every year I’d see a HUGE amount of people on this race… too much. I never really wanted to be in that mass. But, you have to try every race once, right? Just Do It.

I live around 90th st. The race chute started on 72 st so I run there from home (I had also done about 4 easy miles coaching a tempo that morning), picked up a few team mates and we walked the mile back to the start on 88th. Race starts at 7 pm which makes it a bit messy for my eating habits, I had had a late lunch (like 2:30 pm) and not hydrated enough. It was bit balmy: literally the first t-shirt day. And the course is no pickle.

Annie and I got into the corral, very close to the front.


NYRR Run Center Blue Corral Team

I ended up finding a lot of people I met around me. Rick was there, Daniela, Gary, we had about 30 minutes to chat and get pumped. I had a bottle of water I dozed my shirt with. There was one corral ahead of ours, the RED corral, and at 7 pm, the horn made a strange noise and the fastest people took off. We all walked up to the start, 100 meters ahead and as soon as the leaders got up to the half mile mark, we got released.

Here we go.

This is an interesting race. It’s 3.5 miles. Not 3, not 3.1, not 4 so I was excited to get an automatic PR! The first mile is flat and easy, but then… then it gets a little crazy, including Harlem Hill….


This is me running on the flat section (well, not really, but the flattest). Juan came to cheer/spectate and got these awesome shots, and I got a shout out! Mile 1 was 6:51.


hey there! this is FUN. for now.

I noticed a lot people struggling early on. I also saw many people pushing the pace in the wrong sections or not running the tangents. I had to yell up a bit up Harlem Hill as some people were struggling and walking. I actually had a guy yell at me to pass me on the right (I was hugging the curve, hey tangents!) right on the Harlem Hill climb, to stop to walk 20 meters later… But it wasn’t as crowded as I had feared. I wasn’t crowded much. Hill climbed, mile two was 7:21.

This is when everyone started fading off. I knew there were still  a few bumps on the road so tried to keep it even and smooth. No pushing, no getting exciting. Most of racing is controlling yourself. Mile 3: 7:26. I saw Ken cheering and he told me I looked good, so thankful for that!

Okay, let’s do this.

I actually felt it when I started kicking. It was not my usual ramp up because I wasn’t sure where the finish was, but I noticed I was passing a lot of people anyway. I wished I knew how many meters I had left, 400… 800? I saw a group of NYRR colleagues cheering right before the finish and it was amazing!

Last half mile was at an average 6:33 pace. 

And it was done. Total time was 24:59.

I saw a few people throwing up at the finish. I always congratulate them, good for them!


Melanie, Kevin and I at the finish. Kevin and I had almost identical times (he was obviously taking it super easy!)


one more finish line shot: Ann on the left yelled at me right before the finish, then there’s Roberto with a water bottle (??) Melanie and a colleague whose name escapes me.

They had bananas, and water, grabbed both and we walked to our area. Each company can get a table/area where they all group up before and after the race. We walked to see everybody.


Guess who took that amazing group boomerang? No one other than Mary Wittenberg. How COOL is that?


I liked the race and how every company had funny matching shirts. I think this is one of best things you could do with your coworkers… not that we don’t do it every single weekend anyway!

Did you ever do this race? Or seen it? What did you think?


6 thoughts on “Race Report: JP Morgan Corporate Challenge

  1. Pingback: June 2017 Recap | runningandthecity

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