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J P Morgan Coprorate Challenge was Wet without Regret

There was lot of rain and flood warnings in and around Buffalo this past weekend (but perfect running weather!), and slopping around Ring Road in North Buffalo on Thursday reminded me of the muddy conditions at this year’s Kentucky Derby. I wore my worst sneakers, and could not avoid the muck when I went tent-surfing. My running shoes went into the trash once I got home. Buffalo entrepreneurs take note: watch for a spike in running shoe sales in the coming weeks from many of the participants! 
Carolyn Evert, Media Relations Manager of the event, told me she was impressed with the camaraderie shown by the attendees, and by their incredible attendance despite the rainstorms. The branding has changed this year with “Chase” no longer in the title. This is the 33rd year of the race in Buffalo (one of only 13 such races worldwide), and it had about 13,000 participants register, but only 8,356 started in the 3 1/2 mile race through North Buffalo (thank you Mr. Race Counter, due to the new-this-year computer chips attached to each participant!).
That might explain a surplus of t-shirts at the t-shirt distribution booths at the very end. I help distribute race t-shirts to participants, and new sizes this year included extra-small and double extra large. We had run out of shirts in the past, but this year we had a lot of XLs left over. I think volunteer Barbara that oversees t-shirt distribution did a great job on ordering, but I believe the cause of the leftovers was due to a lot of the folks avoiding the rain and not showing up (or possibly hiding in their party tents!). Too bad we couldn’t get them some “It doesn’t just snow in Buffalo” umbrellas.
JP-Morgan-Challenge-Buffalo-NY-2.jpgRunners ready at Amherst St near Nottingham with Colvin at the green light
I absolutely love the pre-race atmosphere and running into friends I might not see the rest of the year. The mood was set with beautiful music through loudspeakers – it sounds like what DJs play at the Old Pink on Allen Street. The beautiful tennis courts were usually packed in past years, but eerily empty today due to Mother Nature. The four lady bisons that you can always view from the outside rear of the Buffalo Zoo were as relaxed as ever. The police Eye-In-The-Sky was parked on Ring Road overseeing another trouble-free Buffalo Race – thank you for your presence!  There definitely was heightened security this year, similar to the Buffalo Marathon that ran right through these same very streets just a week and a half ago. 
Tent-surfing was much easier this year 
New this year were multiple maps with five colors for each of five sections posted as you approach the tents from Ring Road. At each strategically placed display, you look up the company you want to visit, and find the tent number on the map, and easily walk to meet your friends at their tent – great job by the logistic folks! I still believe this is Buffalo’s biggest networking party of the year. To view my take on last year’s race, please click here
Vasilis Kariolis wins the Challenge by 11 seconds
Currently I see obesity problems in the United States have reached epic proportions. I am convinced that exercise and nutrition are the solution. I noticed that Buffalo companies at the Challenge are taking the initiative to do something about it. 
Allison Carr wins the ladies division by only 5 seconds    

Freed Maxick race captain Emily Burns said that her company helped their employees get in shape and prepare for the Challenge, with race plans and group runs. Also they encouraged volunteerism outside of the office, such as “biggest loser” contests and special family events with children. They can “run for run”, or “run to beat someone”. So now you can beat your boss to the finish line, and not get fired (well, not for that anyway…) What a nice stress buster!
Try-It Distributing race captain Robin O’Brien said that their company president Paul Vukelic recently built and opened an in-house gym at their facility, brought in a personal trainer for all three shifts, and promoted an interoffice weight loss contest.
For results and for other information about the race please click here.  
Buffalo Rising Reader, please share what your company is doing to curb obesity.
These two police officers seemed to be enjoying the wet and muddy grass, instead of when I usually see them downtown on the hard concrete pavement. 
Buffalo Rising reader, what did you especially enjoy during this year’s event?
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