Now called the J. P. Morgan Corporate Challenge this annual race was first organised by Manufacturers Hanover (Manny Hanny to older readers) in New York in 1977. The idea was to encourage fitness, camaraderie, and teamwork among work colleagues. Today the 3.5 mile fun-run is held across 13 cities in 7 countries, London’s Battersea Park along with Frankfurt being the only two in Europe. For a third consecutive year the STA has put a team forward with money raised going to Cancer Research UK.
Meeting at the rather grand old Victorian pub the Prince Albert by the Albert Bridge Road park gate, Mark Tennyson-d’Eyncourt and I were on hand to look after the runners’ bags and things while Tom Hicks supplied them with T-shirts, this year in a fetching baby blue with the red STA logo to make them easier to spot. Setting off in stages according to predicted speeds, they were among the 14,100 or so who took part yesterday. In fact last year a total 254,500 people from 7624 companies around the globe took part, half of them women.
Happily posing for the team photo they rushed off only to find they had to queue for about 300 metres just to get to the starting line. Meanwhile Mark, describing his role as cloakroom attendant, and I (photographer in residence) had ample time to chat. Reminiscing about how finance in London used to be, remembering members who are no longer with us, we agreed that our running days were over – though we would not rule out walking the course next year. Asked why the Committee had decided to support this event he said, ‘we want to continue to improve our public profile, within and without the City’.
Runners and riders at Team STA were an enthusiastic bunch, pleased to be taking part in this worthwhile event on one of the hottest summer evenings in 40 years. All completed the course with ease and were, on the whole, pleased with their performance – and were given another T-shirt to prove it.
Having a wager on the winner, it was youthful outsider Nick Jarvis who came in streets ahead running the crowded course in just 22 minutes. Asked why he’d come he said, ‘Dad mentioned it. I like running; I’ve done it all my life’. Like father like son and bearing a striking resemblance, because guess who came in second – Steve Jarvis, a real one-two for father and son. Congratulations.
Other participants were determined to pace themselves, and lucky thing it was too. The last thing we needed was them collapsing from heat and exhaustion. What would happen to our subscriptions then!