Tuesday, May 26, 2015

JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge

My history with the Corporate Challenge:

The first time I participated was 2005 and I ran the (odd) distance of 3.5 miles in 36:24 - but I think that was before they chip timed the event and you self reported your time, so who knows how accurate that is. I know I ran several times between 2005 and 2011 - but for some reason none of my times are showing up on the Corporate Challenge website.

When I joined my current company, I became the Corporate Challenge team lead, so I managed getting our tent and food and registering our company. That was in 2007, and I know I ran it that year. I'm pretty sure I ran it the next year too. I know I did not run it in 2010 because I had baby H. the Monday before the race. But 2011 I ran with a recorded time of 35:57. I skipped 2012. I ran in 2013 (35:52), but I skipped again last year because honestly I had begun to hate this race. But this year, after a debacle of having no one in our office sign up and then needing to find ways to get people to sign up, I signed up and ran in 35:07 - so at least I am getting faster - but I still hate this race.

Reasons I don't like the Corporate Challenge:

  1. After having to be the team lead for several years, I'm kinda just through with it.
  2. It used to be too hot, but then they moved it to the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend. But now the weather is so unpredictable it's still too hot, or it's freezing cold or it's raining. It seems like no matter what, there is some sort of extreme weather Memorial Day weekend.
  3. It's too crowded.

About 25,000 people sign up for this race; a good number of them walk it. I have no problem with walkers, and I understand why they want to start at the front just as much as someone who is going to run wants to start closer to the front. They don't want to be stuck behind so many people that it takes 30 minutes to even cross the start line. They'd like to be done walking as quickly as possible to get back to their company tent and enjoy the food. I get that. But that means walkers are going to be interspersed throughout the course. That means if you're running, you're weaving. And walkers are three and four people abreast because it's much easier to carry on a conversation when you're walking and not actively trying to pass people. I seeded myself correctly with my pace, and I spent the entire race weaving in and out of walkers. There was never a time where I wasn't passing someone who was walking except maybe the last half mile. It's frustrating to say the least. And running when you're frustrated isn't fun. Each year I try to go into this "race" with a zen attitude of just treat it like a run not a race. But you know how it's hard to not "race" when you're running a "race". Yeah, that. And so I want to "race" and then I get frustrated because even though I'm actually running a pretty good pace, there is a lot of stopping and starting, it's just not that much fun. So that's why I'm not a big fan of the Corporate Challenge. Do I think there is anything they can do to help? Well for some reason this year they only had two bibs - people running uber fast and the rest of us. So even though technically there were seeded corrals - you could get into any one you wanted. Going back to at least trying to have different pace corrals would help. Other than that, no, there probably isn't anything you can do except maybe let the walkers all start at 6 and then the race could start at 7 and we wouldn't be in each other's way.

This year's Corporate Challenge:

  1. I wasn't the "team lead" but was partially responsible for getting people to sign up - which no one wanted to because the company was no longer sponsoring the cost of registration. This changed when they had a whopping five people (me included) signed up. 
  2. The weather was actually good running weather.
  3. We had lots of food (too much as usual)
  4. We were able to listen to decent music courtesy of the Hyatt tent next to ours.
  5. In the end we had 50 people sign up for the race. However we had 25 people show up - a little disappointing. 
  6. I was the third girl in my company to finish - I tried to keep up with our intern, but just couldn't hold out at the end.

Now I don't have to think about it anymore - until next year.


Pete B said...

Congrats on being #3! Too bad about having to weave so much. It would be nice if there was a separate 1 mile course for those walkers who wanted to get to the party sooner. :)

Patty Johnson said...

Nice job on the race! I ran it this year for the first time. For the most part I had a good time, but there were some people who failed to show proper running etiquette, which can be stressful. But I'm looking forward to next year!

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