On Thursday, June 2, 150 Viacom employees ended their workday with a 3.2 mile race through Central Park, less than a mile uptown from our Times Square offices in Manhattan, as part of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. The Corporate Challenge, now in its 40th year, is the largest running series for businesses around the globe.
Close to 700 companies participated in the 40th anniversary of the race, which benefits the Central Park Conservancy, the organization that collaborates with the New York City Parks Department to keep the park pristine.
Director of New Business Partner Marketing Ross McGraw was Viacom’s first-place male runner, with a time of 17:11. He was the 13thrunner to cross the finish line for the entire race.
Client Services Representative Erica Martin was our first-place winner for women, completing the 5K in 24:12. She was the 364th runner overall.
Congratulations to all of Viacom’s runners, as well as the participants from businesses worldwide. Check out this Q&A with our winners, McGraw and Martin.
How long have you been a runner? Have you done any other races recently?
Ross McGraw: I have been running for sport since I was a kid, but have only in the past year started competing as a triathlete. I have not done any racing yet this season, but I am preparing to compete in the World Championships this fall on Team USA for my age group.
Erica Martin: I grew up placing sports and have always enjoyed running. I plan on running the Bronx Half Marathon this October.
Did you train for this race with any fellow employees?
RM: I train mostly with friends, but I am always looking for training partners.
EM: I did not. I thought it would be a fun after-work activity. I really enjoyed running with Team Viacom and bonding with fellow employees.
How was the morale for the Viacom team?
RM: The Viacom showing was very impressive in numbers and enthusiasm. It was such a great group to be a part of.
EM: Everyone was excited to be there! The morale was high. You couldn’t miss us, since we were all wearing bright yellow shirts.
How did you feel when you crossed the finish line?
RM: The energy was high when I finished, but I recall being hungry for dinner.
EM: There was great energy crossing the finish line. Each finisher stayed to cheer on the rest of their team.
What was the atmosphere like at the race?
RM: As an athlete that races regularly, the start felt very relaxed and fun. I got to chat with a few people I regularly train with before the starting horn went off. I came in with no expectations, so it was nice to look around and see the massive scale of the event.
EM: The atmosphere was friendly, with a lot of different companies representing themselves. Many people lined up along the race to cheer others on and encourage fellow peers.
Why do you think events like the Corporate Challenge are important?
RM: At a big company like Viacom it’s easy to feel a bit disconnected, but the Corporate Challenge is a way to feel proud of where you work and connect with others in the company. You feel like you have to do well since you’re representing so many people.
EM: Social events enhance relationships with other employees. It allows people to engage in a hobby or similar interest other than work. It is one of the best ways to encourage a healthy work environment where teamwork thrives.