Friday, June 20, 2008

The 2008 JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge

This was my second year doing the 3.5-mile Corporate Challenge; my thanks to JP Morgan Chase and its co-sponsors for hosting the event. For most of the race I was on pace to post a better time than last year. At the 3-mile marker, knowing I could push myself for the last half mile, I got too excited and started getting too bouncy. Suddenly, I felt the shock of a bad step in my right knee. BAM! Not being one to quit, I forced myself to limp to the end, still managing to post a time of just one minute slower than last year. Well, it didn't seem that bad until I got off the Metro-North train at my town, but bending my right knee must have strained things even more. This morning the pain was excruciating enough that I couldn't make it to work. It's a bad sprain, and having lasted all day, tomorrow I should see a doctor to check out the ligament.

I won't bother doing the Corporate Challenge again. I'm a weightlifter, too heavy to be a competitive runner, so it's fun to push myself to finish it. It's not that I injured myself this time: I'm just turned off by the sheer rudeness of so many pure walkers. There are clear signs so runners can start in the appropriate pace group: sub-6-minute miles, 6-minute miles, 8-minute, 10-minute, 12-minute. I started in the 12-minute group. As clearly specified in the pre-race instructions, "All walkers must start at the back of the field. They may not start in front of any runners, and may not start the race early." Anyone above an idiot should understand that walkers slow down runners if they start together. Besides, walkers clearly aren't competing for the fastest time possible, so why should they care about starting ahead? Yet many don't give a damn, and this year was worse than last year. It took me eight, nearly nine minutes just to cover the 100 yards before the actual starting line, and for the first half-mile I was still passing these asswipes. That tells you how far ahead they started. It makes you unnecessarily more fatigued to weave in and out of runners, especially when five of them lock arms and walk side-by-side. To boot, that can add an additional eighth of a mile.

JP Morgan Chase really should enforce this better. I'd love to be a volunteer for next year, just to dash in and pluck out obvious walkers: "Good job! Your whole team's disqualified, and barred from the Challenge from now on!" Such disqualifications are threatened for other offenses, and it would deter walkers from ruining it for the runners.


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