The heat seems to always be on full blast the day of the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge along Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool. But this year, organizers felt it was just too much for the record 7,915 runners and shortened the normally three-and-a-half mile race to a two mile fun run. Our Kat De Maria has the story.
LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- The JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge has a way of bringing the heat: Not the nearly 8,000 people running three-and-a-half miles, but the near-record temperatures that have seemed to follow the event from August to June over its 30 year history. Luckily, organizers have had the same 30 years to perfect their preparations.
"More ice, chilling the water on the course, chilling down the course pavement itself," said race coordinator Dave Oja.
"We've taken some precautions by hydrating the road out here on a couple of occasions. When it evaporates, it takes some of that heat away and it drops the temperature on the road dramatically," said Onondaga County Parks Commissioner Bill Lansley.
Just before race time Tuesday, though, an announcement came over the loudspeaker: The heat and humidity were just too high. The race would be shortened to a two mile fun run.
"We thought about it and decided what's important about the Corporate Challenge is the camaraderie and teamwork. And the competition is nice, but we're going to give that up this evening," said JP Morgan Chase Regional President David Horan.
This year's Corporate Challenge became a fun run. But fun and safe is what it's supposed to have been all along.
"It's not a day to try to beat the guy in the cubicle next to you. It's not a day to kill yourself trying to make your team finish in the top five. It's a day to come and enjoy running on the Onondaga Lake Parkway," Oja said.
Reaction was mixed among the runners.
"It's all for safety. Safe is better. A run is a run. I had a good run, I enjoyed it," said Eric Johnson, running for Inficon.
"I was kind of disappointed. I think a lot of people were," said John Weiland, a first-time runner.
"I think it was smart. I think every year, people push it a little bit. It's exciting, it's a big event. It's hot out there!" said Maura White, running for the Liverpool School District.
In the end, all 8,000 got a big douse of water at the finish line and the hot, memorable event they came for.
"We'll hang out, have some Dinosaur, enjoy the evening," Johnson said.
The beneficiary of this year's Corporate Challenge happens to be the American Red Cross of Central New York. Officials with that organization say their theme this year has been family safety.