Running: Corporate Challenge winners get to London - The Buffalo News
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Running: Corporate Challenge winners get to London

The three winning teams of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Buffalo earn the chance to go to the overall championships the following year in one of the participating cities. The 2013 champs did quite well when it comes to an exciting place to run.

Twelve runners took part earlier this month in the race against the world’s best Challenge participants in London.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Dan Snitzer, one of the members of the Praxair men’s team. “The race itself was pretty good, and the experience in London was really cool.”

The team had about 13 months to think about the trip. That led to a buildup around the office, as company newsletters highlighted the achievement of team members Snitzer, Patrick Moran, Ryan Bierl and Ben Kuch.

“The biggest question we got all the time was, ‘Is Praxair paying for the trip?’ ” Moran said with a laugh.

The Challenge’s sponsor took care of expenses, sending participants to London a bit early to allow them to do a little sightseeing.

“J.P. Morgan put us up in a nice hotel. There were pretty good meals,” Snitzer said. “One of the nights, we went to Lord’s Cricket Ground, a 200-year-old cricket ground. That was a super-cool experience. I’ve never been to anything like that before.”

Cities such as New York, Shanghai and Sydney send teams, so Buffalo is at something of a demographic disadvantage in the race. The Praxair team finished sixth out of 13 teams, which was very satisfactory.

“It was fun to see competition that’s just way better than usual,” Moran said.

How good? Johannesburg had all four of its runners break 17 minutes for 3ø miles.

“That team was phenomenal. It had four of the first five runners,” Moran said.

Also participating were the women’s team from Blue Cross/Blue Shield – Liz Koepsell, Kaitlyn Gorczynski, Moira Giammaresi and Grace Jackson – and the mixed team from M&T Bank – Richard Testa, Turner Gutmann, Katrina Ziolo and Molly Daetsch.

Heavy medal

Have some old marathon or half-marathon medals sitting in a box somewhere? An international organization wants to put them to good use.

Medals4Mettle gives out the prizes to people – often children – who are fighting major illnesses. So far, 45,000 medals have been presented.

This started with Dr. Steven Isenberg of Indianapolis, who in 2003 ran a marathon … and then presented his finisher’s medal to a colleague who was battling prostate cancer. Medals4Mettle was formed in 2005.

“Now we have about 75 chapters in four countries,” said Robin Blosser, director of outreach and community programs for the organization, who works out of Long Island. “It’s incredible what we do here. The medals are mostly from marathons, and the athletes bring them to hospitals to give them to kids with cancer.”

Many adults might wonder how much good a program like this can do. They’d be surprised.

“Lots of my runner friends don’t really get it until they see it for themselves,” Blosser said. “These kids love it. The Disney medals, the Rock ’n’ Roll event, places they’ve traveled or want to travel to, the recognition that someone ran 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles for them – the kids get it right away.”

One 7-year-old at a hospital in Stony Brook, Long Island, recently had received some medals for his fight against leukemia. When he ran into a friend at a hospital, he decided to pass along one of his awards. He remembered how the medal had cheered him up, and he told his mother he wanted to cheer up his friend in the same way.

A very short article in Runner’s World magazine prompted some local runners to ask about ties between the nonprofit organization and this area. Buffalo does not have a local chapter of the organization; the closest ones are in Hamilton, Ont., Toronto and Cleveland. Blosser, who works as a pediatric nurse, has a family connection to Lewiston and would love to see a Western New York chapter. That admittedly would take a lot of work.

There are simpler ways to help, though. You can send a medal to the national office or a local chapter, or you can donate funds. A $25 check, for example, earns a T-shirt.

Full details are at

Race calendar

• Tofurky Trot, 5K, Delaware Park, 11 a.m. today, 348-8346.

• Telegraph Road Race, timed race, Telegraph Road, Medina, 2 p.m. today, 549-5100.

• The Mud Run, 6K, South Feddick Road, Boston, 6:30 p.m. Monday, 941-1004.

• GBTC 5,000 Meter/1 Mile Track Races, 4301 Main St., Amherst, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

• Soaker 7.7 KM Race, NFTA Boat Harbor, Buffalo, 7 p.m. Thursday, 250-6494.

• TRZ Races, 5K & 10K, Firemen’s Grounds, Frewsburg, 9 a.m. Saturday, 397-2519.

• Erie County Fair 5K, Erie County Fairgrounds, Hamburg, 9 a.m. Saturday, 649-3900.

• Christine Padasak Memorial/Autism Awareness 5K, 393 North St., Springville, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 949-4072.

• Greg Stang Memorial 5K, Bassett Park, Amherst, 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 10, 597-9090.


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