REVIEW: JPMorgan Corporate Challenge

JPMorgan Corporate ChallengeIf you’re a gym-goer who lives in a major city across the globe (London, New York, Frankfurt, Sydney, Singapore or many others), you’ll have undoubtedly seen someone wearing a white t-shirt with ‘JPMorgan Corporate Challenge’ written on the front. If you’re really lucky you may have even spotted someone wearing one that fits them.

On the rare occasion that you actually spot a shirt that hugs the biceps and doesn’t flap around in the air conditioning from your local gym then go over, shake that person’s hand and ask them if they’d like a running partner. The likelihood is that this person has finished the JPMorgan CC in under 24 minutes.

Every year business moguls in their thousands turn up to one of their city’s finest parks to run the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, an event now over 30 years old and so popular that it boasts nearly a quarter of a million entrants each year across the globe. Part of its popularity is probably down to the length of the race; a manageable 3.5 miles. This gives even the hardest working city trader time to put down his or her Blackberry a couple of times a week to train.

If you’re lucky enough to get a place then the first question you’ll be asked is whether or not you think you can run 3.5 miles in under 21 minutes. If you think you can then you’ll be given a red sticker and, on arrival, you’ll be ushered to the front of the line to be given a relatively clear run to the finish. If you don’t then be prepared for an elbow-jousting scrap for one square-foot of asphalt at every other step.

The start...

The London event is hosted at the beautiful Battersea Park and is a utter schmooze-fest. If you’re a client of one of the corporate giants attending then you’ll be in for plastic glasses and private portaloos. If not, feel free to be intimidated by the size of another company’s hospitality tent and get in the queue for the sub-£5 million-a-year toilets.

It’s a very crowded race once you’ve managed to get over the start line so don’t be expecting to be beating any PBs. You’ll be lucky to get under a minute over your usual time (the London race actually ground to a halt during one bottle-necked corner). The atmosphere makes up for this though. Each year all companies compete in a t-shirt competition and this makes for an interesting read as you progress (this year’s London event was won by Tudor Capital). There’s also an award for the fastest ‘most senior executive’ and, as you can imagine, an incredible amount of money is raised for causes across the globe ($600,000 to charities and even more for not-for-profit organisations).

At the end you’ll get the fabled JPMCC t-shirt and if you’re quick enough, you’ll get one in your size! Wear it with pride.

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