This past Thursday I ran the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge and my company has been running it for many years now. It’s always fun because we have runners of all levels. Some come for the running but most come for the team bonding after the race. We typically meet up and grab a beer and some food after.
The first Corporate Challenge was July 13, 1977 in Central park and was inspired by the firms who sponsor the NYC marathon. The event hosts wanted to look for a way to have an event just for corporate runners. Nowadays, all first place winners for each city will be invited to the championship that has an “olympic” style rotation where they visit cities throughout the challenge series. This race started with 200 runners from 50 companies and has grown to what it is today in 2016 at 254,501 entrants from 7,612 companies for 13 cities in seven countries on five continents. (Source)
For the everyday runner, it’s definitely not known as one of those races you PR. The goal of this race is really to just have fun and an opportunity for some team bonding. BUT…I actually did PR!! Technically a PR for a 3.5 mile race isn’t too difficult because they are so rare, but my 5k time for the race was also a PR for me! I ran the 3.5 mile race 23:48 (6:48 pace) and my 5k time was 20:55 (6:43 pace). Previously I think my fastest was 6:58 pace! I’m pretty excited because I felt pretty good after and have hope I can make some progress for my marathon training if I stick to it. I had my coworker, Jay, take a celebratory jump photo for me. And then I insisted that he take one too. Let’s just say that I went for form and he went for height :)…
You might be wondering why the race isn’t known for PR’s but I was able to get one–right? Well–if you look at the course, you start the race and almost immediately take a left turn–which can end up in a bottleneck with 9000 runners! If you are in the first corral, then you might not be so bad. But if you aren’t–then you might find yourself wanting to zigzag and run up on the sidewalks to try to get into a groove. The more expected thing to get is that you jog a little then walk, jog then walk, etc. until it clears up a bit. They had 3 different corrals and I was able to get into the first one so I was able to move at a pretty steady pace.
I typically hate the out and backs (for long races particularly) but for a shorter race it’s not as bad. I like that it starts/ends at the common because it’s central and has a lot of space. The logistics of the race aren’t too difficult to deal with since they design the race to be pretty easy for companies to get to (it was about a 10-15 minute walk from my office!). The race starts a little late for me (7:15 pm) but I understand that it is designed to be convenient for a work day. I ate a bagel and banana an hour or so before so I had some energy!
Overall, it was a great night. I got some exercise in, got to have some social time with some of my coworkers AND got a PR! I’m wondering if all the BBG workouts have helped me stay strong! Now I just have to stick to my training to keep improving. I’d love to someday get back to my pre-injury marathon PR (3:23:42). Next up for me is the Finish at the Fifty 5k at Gillette Stadium and the Old Port half marathon in Portland, Maine. What’s your next race?