Employees Compete on Championship Stage

Employees Compete on Championship Stage


The color red stood out at the starting line of the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship in Rochester, N.Y., among a collection of incredibly fast and fitness-minded professionals from across the globe.

That’s because SUNY Cortland sent eight faculty and staff members to represent the Central New York region at the international competition, which invited just 156 runners from 13 cities worldwide. In August, the College’s four-person men’s and women’s teams earned entries by winning the local Corporate Challenge in Syracuse, N.Y., with the fastest total team times.

On the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, where the 3.5-mile race was held May 21, SUNY Cortland’s representatives were in the midst of teams that included Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Morgan Stanley and Deloitte. They met scores of people from nations such as Australia, Singapore and South Africa.

And regardless of home country, each organization shared a commitment to health and wellness similar to the characteristic that has distinguished SUNY Cortland among its peer institutions, according to Chris Tucker, a men’s team member and an annual organizer of the College’s participation in the Syracuse event.

Corporate Challenge team
Hugh Anderson, Louise Mahar and Miranda
Blechman competed at the Corporate
Challenge Championship in Rochester, N.Y.

“To represent SUNY Cortland on a global stage with my co-workers and then interact with people from different cultures on top of that, those sorts of things were really special for me,” said Tucker, the College’s property control officer for the Purchasing Department. “And to be able to send not just one but two teams there, that made it even more special.”

Along with Tucker, SUNY Cortland’s men’s team consisted of John Aerni-Flessner, pictured above, assistant professor of history; Hugh Anderson, study abroad advisor for the International Programs Office; and Michael Bersani, staff writer in the Public Relations Office. They finished ninth among men’s teams.

The College’s women’s foursome included Julie Barclay, lecturer of geology; Miranda Blechman, assistant for institutional research and assessment; Kim Kraebel, associate professor of psychology; and Louise Mahar, assistant director of recreational sports. They put together the seventh fastest women’s team time.

“Being treated like a professional athlete for two whole days, that was new for me and it was a lot of fun,” Mahar said. “And, of course, being able to share that experience with my colleagues and getting to know them more just added to it.”

The College again will participate in the local running of the Corporate Challenge on Tuesday, June 18. Nearly 80 employees, both runners and walkers, are expected to participate in Central New York’s largest running event.