BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Thousands of runners partied Thursday night in Delaware Park, after participating in the 31st annual Chase Corporate Challenge.
The 5K race was open to full time employees of participating corporations, and is the largest corporate road racing series in the world.
There were 11,000 plus entrants from 399 WNY companies.
The race started on Amherst Street at 6:45pm, just west of Colvin, with the finish on the northwest side of ring road within Delaware Park. The majority of the course is an out-and-back on Delaware Avenue.
Several streets were closed for the event: Amherst (from Colvin to Delaware) and Delaware (from Amherst to W. Ferry).
Channel 7's John Borsa and photojournalist Chris Podosek are there.
The event experienced a loss of participants when the economy went down in 2009, however more companies are now returning to the event.
One of those local companies, Multisorb, is proud to participate:
BUFFALO, May 5, 2011 (release) As the Chase Corporate Challenge
hosts its 31st annual race in Buffalo, a local company celebrating some history of its own will once again be part of the region's corporate social party of the year.
Fifty years ago, John S. "Jack" Cullen began a business in the breezeway of his parents' home in the Buffalo suburb of Eggertsville to serve the needs of the electronics market in protecting products against the damaging effects of moisture. Today, Cullen's company, Multisorb Technologies, employs more than 500 people and is the world leader in active packaging, which is designed to provide protection against moisture, odor, oxygen, and other gases.
On June 9, many of Multisorb's employees will make their way to Buffalo's stately Delaware Park for the annual running of the second oldest event on the worldwide JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge® circuit. They will join more than 11,000 in the race, and then thousands more for a post-event party that will last well into the night. Among those on hand will be James Renda, who in October was named president of Multisorb Technologies.
"Both I and the company have been involved in the Corporate Challenge since it first started in Buffalo," said Renda, a Buffalo native. "I run regularly but do not look at the Corporate Challenge to set any personal best times! My goals are to have fun, mix with my employees and their families, and meet with other people from the business community."
And the Corporate Challenge, which has evolved into a unique Buffalo event in the welcoming green expanse of Delaware Park, is the ideal place to reach those goals.
"Delaware Park is a perfect setting for the Corporate Challenge," said Renda. "Besides its central location, in an indirect way it reminds us of the importance that the City of Buffalo has on our region. Remember, not all the organizations that participate are from the City, so it brings into the community many people who do not regularly get here. It is good for the City of Buffalo."
The Corporate Challenge also is good for the morale of Multisorb employees like Elizabeth Marek, a Human Resources Specialist who has served as the team's Company Captain for three years.
"I became interested in the event as soon as I started working at Multisorb in 2008 because I thought it would be a fun thing to do and I was right," she said. "Each year our company has a fantastic time together and the fact that it is for such a great cause (Child Care Resource Network) makes it that much better!"
Runners spread out in Delaware Park after the start of the Chase Corporate Challenge. Multisorb has been a part of the Corporate Challenge in Buffalo for three decades and will have one of its largest teams this June.
This year, she says, with 55 registrants by early May, Multisorb is looking to celebrate its 50th anniversary in a big way at the Corporate Challenge.
"We are definitely going to have a larger group this year then we have in the past," she said. "We begin organizing for the Corporate Challenge in March and kick it off with our own T-shirt contest. We encourage employees to be creative and make a design that incorporates Multisorb and the Corporate Challenge. After we collect all of our awesome designs we have a voting day. It is a fun way for the employees to become interested and get excited for the Corporate Challenge and for spring! We have a post-race party every year and invite our participants and their guests for some great food, drinks, and good company."
The benefits of team building and camaraderie are important for Multisorb, which has factories in West Seneca and Cheektowaga, as well as Alabama and England.
"A key fundamental to the success of our business is teamwork and collaboration," said Renda. "To assure a successful team we need a strong sense of camaraderie. Events like the Corporate Challenge give our employees a chance to socialize and get to know each other better outside of the workplace."
Marek seconded those thoughts.
"It is always fun to see everyone outside of work," she said. "It also gives us the chance to meet family members of employees. Sometimes we may not always have the time to socialize with others in different departments or even at our other facility so it is nice that the event brings everyone together."
And, Renda said, the socializing aspect of Buffalo's Corporate Challenge extends beyond any one company.
"The Corporate Challenge is something that I think many organizations look forward to each year," he said. "The reason is it brings so many people from diverse backgrounds into one place at one time. Not only do you get to spend time with your employees, but also others in the corporate community in a friendly and casual atmosphere. Plus, it is lots of fun!
"In another positive way, it puts a focus on our corporate wellness program where we encourage employees to participate in programs that lead to a healthier life style."
So, the fit between Multisorb and the Chase Corporate Challenge in Buffalo, already one of the longest on the worldwide circuit, is likely to endure for many more years.
"At Multisorb, we are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year," Renda said. "It is an amazing story that a manufacturing company that started in the breezeway of a home continues to remain strong and grow right here in Western New York. It is a tribute to our employees and their commitment to excellence. We are proud to be part of the Western New York community. We look forward to the continued success of the Corporate Challenge so that our employees can enjoy it for the next 50 years."