Despite a day filled with rain, the 39th annual JP Morgan Corporate Challege took off under sunny skies with employees from 427 Western New York companies in attendance.
The 3½-mile race brought in 13,869 runners and walkers to Delaware Park. The Corporate Challenge is part of a 13-city series with more than 250,000 participants worldwide.
Leading the way with participants were employees from Wegmans (501), Ingram Micro (482), Kaleida Health (413), Buffalo Public Schools (366), M&T Bank (278), Moog (253), HSBC (245), Elderwood (239), Erie County Medical Center (218) and Erie County (213).
But none of those companies was able to produce the winners.
Kimberly Tomasik of Western Regional Off Track Betting (Batavia Downs) successfully defended her 2018 crown.
Tomasik ran the course in 20:11 for a 5:46 pace. Her time was 11 seconds faster than the 20:22 she won with in 2018.
"I started off way too fast last year, so I kind of paced myself," Tomasik said. "I used the downhills to use as little energy as possible. I actually felt good on the flats and the uphills, so I was able to maintain my pace all the way through."
She finished as the 24th finisher overall. Her husband, Zachary Tomasik, finished one second faster.
Still, Tomasik took this years championship with over a minute to spare. Kelsey Gratien of Univera Healthcare finished second with a time of 21:13.
Third place went to Hannah Weppner from Rich Products at 22:01.
Men’s first-place finisher Alexander Burks, a physical science teacher from Attica Central School District, covered the course in 17:44 for a 5:04 pace.
Burks ran for four years at SUNY Geneseo. Geneseo alumni Lee Berube and Tim Chichester won the Corporate Challenge in Syracuse and Rochester, respectively.
The 2018 champion, Alex Simon from ECMC, finished second at 18:12.
Third place was Greg Selke of Stark Tech Group at 18:23.