|Corp. Challenge & Chicago|
When a few of us ran the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championships in Johannesburg back in 2010, the global nature of the event felt a bit like the World Cup, which was happening in South Africa at the time. This year, the upcoming Olympics came to mind as seven Google runners and I toed the line in Chicago alongside athletes from seven countries on five continents.
At the reception the night before the race, we chatted with runners representing companies from Sydney, Tokyo, Frankfurt and ten other cities in the Chase tower overlooking the Chicago skyline. We even rubbed elbows with Chicago celebrities like Mike Ditka, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Harry Carey. After realizing that Mr. Ditka as well as the other four were impersonators, ESPN-junkie Eddie gradually regained balance and picked up his dropped jaw. Good thing since there was plenty to munch on, albeit not your standard pre-race fare: delicious tootsie rolls, hot dogs served by vendors clad in Cubs gear, and other Chicago classics. We even cleansed our palates with Wrigley's gum manufactured nearby.
Race day was unseasonably warm and windy, even for Chicago standards. Of course, the strongest headwind had to be in the final mile as we entered the homestretch back to gorgeous Grant Park by Lake Michigan. After the race, we kept the adrenaline levels high dancing to a rocking soul band. We learned that the mens team had finished in 3rd place overall, just seconds in front of Swimming Australia Limited from Sydney, and the mixed team had finished in 5th place in the mixed division! Here are the full results.
After accepting the awards, we resumed grooving to Blues Brothers covers along with runners from around the world. Then we hung out with Googlers from the Chicago office who had run the open race, which started shortly after the championship, along with about 23,000 other participants.
I have to hand it to the JP Morgan race organizers not only for their fine taste in blues music, but also for their incredible hospitality throughout the event and for putting on a fantastic race series that benefits a number of awesome charities.
However, JP Morgan's caption-writing could be improved :) The site includes a photo of the Google mens team, featuring Eddie with hands outstretched in post-race jubilation and Loren doubled over after clearly leaving everything on the course. The caption reads: Members of Google have some fun as they warm-up for the race.
Video highlights from JP Morgan Corporate Challenge site.