Race Report: JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Chicago 2018

This year was my third Corporate Challenge. I don’t have high expectations for this race – it’s always overcrowded, most participants don’t know how to line up correctly in the corrals, so there’s lots of weaving if you’re actually running, and the course leaves a lot to be desired. But, it’s a “free” race (the participating companies pay for their employees to run), there’s free (to me) food and booze in my company’s tent, and it’s a nice chance to hang out with my coworkers. (Yes, I do like them.) So, I always look forward to it.

Earlier in the week, I realized it was time for new shoes. The pair I was running in (yet another pair of Brooks Adrenalines) had about 300 miles on them, and I wasn’t even to mile 3 on my last run before my ankles started feeling really tired. I figured it was a sign they were ready for retirement. Luckily, the Fleet Fleet South Loop location is walking distance (about a mile) to Grant Park, where the race was held. So, I made a detour on my way from my office to the race and stopped at Fleet Feet for a new pair of Adrenalines. The is the first time I’ve worn my shoes out of the store.

brooks adrenaline 18 womens

One the way to my company’s tent in Grant Park, I ran into Emily! Always nice to see her 🙂

I got to my company’s tent in time to drop off my bags and get in the team photo.

Plz keep shopping at malls, kthnx

Hey it’s marketing & then some. 

I got into the corral around 6:40 for the 7:00 race start. There are three corrals at the Corporate Challange – red (fast), green (medium) and blue (slow).  They never post what the time cutoffs are for each corral, but I assume we’re assigned based on the expected finish times we input when we sign up. I’ve always ended up in the blue corral, even though if I recall correctly, I assume I typically input a 9:00-10:00 pace. This year, I think I entered something around 8:00 for my pace and wound up in the green corral, which is much smaller. I crossed the start line 3 minutes after the race started and ended up doing a lot less weaving this year.


My coworker Jeff (above) and I stuck together for the first couple blocks and then he took off. The course was the same as the past few years – run up Columbus, make a left onto Lower Wacker Drive, hairpin turn, run east on Lower Wacker to almost Lake Shore Drive, another hairpin turn back to Columbus, then run east on Lower Randolph, hairpin turn back to Columbus, turn left on and finish. Not the most interesting course. It was a bit warm this year (it’s been chilly and then BAM – 80 degrees), plus I’ll be honest, I’ve been slacking on running (and … all fitness). My finish time was 31:32, which is a 9:01 pace and I think somewhere around the 5th best woman on my company’s team. Plus about 2 minutes slower than last year, but last year, I was training for the Soldier Field 10.

After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a bottle of water, banana, and KIND bar from the volunteers, stopped to grab my finishers shirt, and headed back to my company tent for food and booze and stuff. I was happy to discover that my beloved Athleta Be Free shorts have really stretchy pockets, which made it easy to carry all my snacks, and later, gave me a spot to hold while beer while I ate.

Did you run the Corporate Challange? How was your experience? 


Share this post

2 Comments on “Race Report: JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Chicago 2018”

  1. Ah, the CCC. I’m a HARD one and done on that race, but I do always enjoy hearing about how other runners feel about it, haha. That was a good call on putting in a time that’d get you into a faster corral. I don’t remember how corraling worked when I did it, but I know I ditched all my coworkers and tried to get as close to the front as possible to minimize my frustration. That’s nice that your company pays for your entries, though – that’s definitely not how it works for us! We have to pay for our own entry, but it can be reimbursed at the end of the year if you’ve earned enough wellness points.

    1. Oh man, how crummy that your company didn’t cover your entry. Although I wonder if all the runners had to pay all or part of the cost, if the event would be limited to “real” runners and less of a clusterf*ck?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.