At take two of the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Liverpool, N.Y., fitness-minded SUNY Cortland employees took home all of the road race’s glory.
The College’s men’s and women’s four-person teams both finished first at the Aug. 5 make-up of the annual running event for Central New York businesses and organizations, which was shortened in June due to soaring temperatures and heat-related medical risks. The make-up was necessary to crown competitive squads who will represent Syracuse at the 2013 international championship.
That means the two four-person teams from SUNY Cortland will travel Tuesday, May 21, to Rochester, N.Y. Companies with four-person winning teams in men’s, women’s and co-ed divisions in each of the 13 cities — 156 athletes in all — receive an expenses-paid trip to the championship. The last three years it has been held in Johannesburg, South Africa; Singapore and Chicago.
Christopher Tucker, the Corporate Challenge team captain and the College’s property control manager, said he was thrilled with the results and even more impressed with SUNY Cortland’s turnout.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stoked for the men and women who get to travel,” said Tucker, who finished third on the SUNY Cortland men’s team to qualify for the championship. “But really, this is about everyone from the College who made the effort to run — the group of 10 who competed in the championship qualifier and the 121 people who showed up to the first race in June.
Josh Henry, left, and Kim Kraebel won
the men's and women's titles at the J.P.
Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge on
“We always talk about how health-conscious and committed to fitness we are as Cortland employees. You really get a sense of that by seeing all of the Cortland shirts in a race like this. It’s come to be expected that if there’s a big community event promoting health or wellness, SUNY Cortland will be represented well. That certainly was the case here.”
SUNY Cortland fielded the largest team at the Aug. 5 make-up. Of the 39 runners who raced, 10 were College employees. The 121 faculty and staff members who participated in the June event also marked an all-time high for SUNY Cortland and ranked 10th out of 283 organizations at the event.
“The numbers don’t lie,” Tucker said. “Everyone who’s involved with our Corporate Challenge effort is part of a special group.”
A small slice of that group flexed its muscles at the make-up race, taking the top two overall spots and accumulating the top three women’s finishes.
Josh Henry, an assistant coach for the College’s cross country and track and field teams, broke the finish line tape in 18 minutes and 45 seconds, good for a 5:21 pace per mile. John Aerni-Flessner, an assistant professor of history, earned second place overall in 19:18 while Tucker (21:19) and Hugh Anderson (21:46), the study abroad advisor for the International Programs Office, completed the men’s top four.
Kim Kraebel, an associate professor of psychology, paced the women’s field in 23:04. Julie Barclay, a lecturer of geology, and Miranda Blechman, an assistant in institutional research and assessment, finished second and third among women with respective times of 24:24 and 24:35. Louise Mahar, the assistant director of recreational sports for fitness, rounded out the SUNY Cortland women’s contingent in 26:45.
The next race stop is the Rochester Institute of Technology campus for both four-person teams, where they’ll run among some of the fastest businesses in the world.
“Will we finish first in the world?” Tucker asked out loud. “That’s pretty wishful. But hopefully, spectators will see eight SUNY Cortland shirts and they’ll say to the person next them: ‘Man, that Cortland must be one heck of a team.’”