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More than 7,400 runners and walkers take the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge

Randy Gorbman

Several thousand runners and walkers got to network and get some good exercise at the same time on Tuesday night.

It was the 27th annual J.P.  Morgan Challenge in Rochester and it provided a different view for many of the 7,400  or so participants who have run at RIT in recent years, or even at Highland Park a number of years ago.

This event was entirely within the downtown area, starting and ending near Frontier Field.

Wherever it takes place, Stanley Bigord says it’s just a great time.

“I just love the camaraderie with all the other companies in the area, and , it’s just a beautiful event, a beautiful day, it’s nice to have everyone out in Rochester just having a great time.”

Alisha D’alfonso   says she liked the course which wound its way through parts of the Inner Loop, State Street and other downtown and High Falls locations.

“I like the scenery, I like running, it was pretty to look at, all the buildings, it’s good to see everybody come out and run and be a part of something.”

Aaron Olden, another runner, thinks the new location is a good idea.

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

“I think it’s neat to have everybody downtown , there’s a lot to see down here, downtown’s really being revitalized, so having it in the center of the city is kind of a neat thing.”

Not everyone was thrilled with the course change; Paul Henry says he’s been taking part in the event since the Highland Park days.

“I don’t know, I like Highland a lot better,  RIT was awesome because of parking,  it’s a flat field, you have room for the party tents, this is a little different.”

More than 300 companies and organizations fielded teams for the challenge.

The 3.5 mile event also raised money for  Hillside Work-Scholarship connection and the Catholic Family Center.

The first-place men’s finisher was the 2016 defending champion, Matthew Pierce, representing EagleView.  Pierce had a winning time of 18:19, with runner-up Andrew Foxenberg of Aloi Materials Handling crossing the line in 18:23.

Trisha Byler of DuPont won the women’s individual title, breaking the tape in 20:25 (5:50 pace).  She beat out the second-place finisher, Ashley Nevol of Corning, with her final stride.  Nevol’s finish time was also 20:25, with their actual finish difference less than one-tenth of a second.

Byler was also the women’s individual champion at the 2017 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship, held on June 13 in Frankfurt, Germany.  There Byler beat out the fastest women from Corporate Challenge races in seven U.S. cities, Australia, China, England, Germany, Singapore and South Africa.

The largest companies in terms of participation were: Wegmans (830 entrants), Paychex (374), Rochester Regional Health (371), University of Rochester (176), Harris Corporation (141), LaBella Associates (100), CGI Communications (90), City of Rochester (86), CooperVision (84) and J.P. Morgan (77).

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.