Friday, June 8, 2012

Running for a reason

As anyone who knows me can attest, I am not a runner. In fact, before last night, my only experience with the JP Morgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge was how the traffic blocked my way home. After last night, however, I can truly see why this has become one of the biggest events in Buffalo every year.

Nancy Blaschak holding the tape for the first
Corporate Challenge finisher
First of all, the number of people and tents in Delaware Park are overwhelming. Over 400 corporate teams, over 12,000 runners with thousands more supporters. The start/finish line can best be described as a mass of humanity, with some serious runners and many others out to get some fun exercise.

The American Red Cross was honored to be chosen as the beneficiary of this year's Corporate Challenge. That meant our Executive Director, Nancy Blaschak was able to say a few words of thanks to everyone involved, and she even got to hold the tape for the first male finisher! A Red Cross team of walkers would finish the 3+ miles and cross that finish line a few minutes later. As a non-runner, it was really impressive to see how "fresh" they all were after running a distance that I need a car to cover!!

Some of our Red Cross runner! Congrats, team!!
We also were provided with a tent directly across from the stage, where some of our "non-runners" were able to display information about what it is we do in this community. And of course, we received an extremely generous donation from Chase Corporate Challenge Foundation.

Overnight, we had example of how we will put that generosity to good use. Our Disaster Action Team volunteers were called to provide temporary housing, food and clothing for two families displaced by a fire on West Ferry Street in the City of Buffalo. We are only able to be What Happens Next for our neighbors in need because of the community support we receive from events such as the Corporate Challenge and the year-round support of our donors.

We can't say thank you enough to the wonderful people from JP Morgan Chase and the Corporate Challenge for their support, hospitality, and for their generosity making us a part of this wonderful event. Who knows, maybe next year even I'll put on my running shoes!!

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