As a first time attendee of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge at Delaware Park in Buffalo, NY, I found myself leaving the night looking forward to the event again next year. I expected a 5K walk/run and tents for each company located within Delaware Park across from the Buffalo Zoo as the event was described. What I was extremely excited to discover was the great time I had and the atmosphere that I enjoyed while participating in this event.

I choose the walking option but there were other levels for the more advance runners or joggers. I love being active but I know athletics are not my strong suit, as the shown by my t-ball days as a young child (while in the outfield I enjoy picking flowers rather than running after the baseballs).

During the Corporate Challenge I felt no pressure to perform more than I was comfortable with and did the walk at my own pace which I really enjoyed. I have to admit I did run the last half mile on a count of my sister coaxing me. I thought that it was nice for the more competitive runners that there was a competition for the best times and even best times as a team. It gave the event a little more fun trying as a company to do as best as they can. Even with the fun competition there we still walked at our own pace. This I enjoyed because I myself am a fan of observing what is going on around me. I was able to do that walking most of the event.

While walking I enjoyed the company I was with (Freed Maxick of course!), at the same time I was able to meet others along the 5K walk. The amount of companies that attended this function was astounding to me. I found out that there were over 500 companies that participated in this year’s Corporate Challenge. The groups of people participating at the difference levels of running, jogging, and walk/running lined up and started at different times so there was distance between the groups. In what I believe was the biggest section, the walking/running section. I felt a little like herded cattle trying to stick with my group and way too close for my American “give me my personal space” needs. The lining up was a little overwhelming from the amount of people participating but shortly after we were able to start moving and we were off!

While walking I enjoyed spotting people from our company throughout the crowd with our bright green team shirts and cheering them on. During the walk I had time to discover the other companies that were attending along with their creative t-shirt designs. I found out that there was a best t-shirt contest for the Corporate Challenge which I thought was great to have the companies united in the same t-shirt and allow them to get creative with their company name/ logo.  Once the race finished there were lots of tables filled with fruit, water, and granola to rehydrate and reenergize after the race. I found my way back to the Freed Maxick tent to enjoy some good food catered by Fat Bob’s, a local BBQ and smokehouse restaurant.

It was a great time socializing and got to know my fellow co-workings outside of the work place. I also roamed around the over 200 hundred tents and found friends at other tents and made new acquaintances. It was a great time with a wonderful friendly atmosphere. They had music playing throughout the whole site and I was able to enjoy the music, drinks, and an award ceremony put on after the race. I know they hold this event all over the world and now I can see why. It is a great way to network and enjoy the company of your company. Overall, a great time and I will definitely be going again next year!