IBJOpinion

MAURER: If you’re 70, Corporate Challenge is a breeze

Mickey Maurer
November 9, 2013
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Mickey Maurer“Mickey, all you have to do is show up.” That was captain AJ Hillebrand’s recruiting pitch to run for The National Bank of Indianapolis team in the Indiana Sports Corp.’s Corporate Challenge race.

AJ was well informed. In my age group, 70 and older, hardly anyone is still employed, let alone able to complete a 5K (3.1 miles). I can still walk and talk—and work—at this age, so I agreed to participate. My next-door neighbor, Celadon Group Chairman Steve Russell, also over 70, accepted a similar challenge from his team captain. I offered to pick him up.

We arrived at Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI campus at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 to warm up for the 8 a.m. start. It was exhilarating to strut around the complex in running shorts and mix with healthy athletes of all ages. I did not feel like an old man—until the race began. I was passed by waves and waves of runners as I struggled to maintain a pace that would allow me to finish without shuffling down the homestretch with my head down, looking like I dropped my car keys. I began to feel silly about our team T-shirt that read on the back, “Bye, Bye, see you at the finish line.” Who would be left back there to read that message?

The competition is divided according to number of employees. The bank was in the second of four divisions and thus not measured against biggies Celadon, Eli Lilly and the like. Most financial institutions were in our division. I finished 846th out of 903 runners in all divisions. But AJ was right: I bested the one other guy my age in our division and earned 100 first-place points toward the team total.

I reprised that performance in the half mile: another mediocre finish, and another first. I was the highest scorer for the bank team—a real jock. The bank came in third in our division and first among financial institutions regardless of employee census.

Everyone had a chance to play. There was a 5K fitness walk that allowed each finisher to score one point for the team regardless of finish time. In addition, participants chose from an array of events that included tug-of-war, basketball shootout, football accuracy throw, Frisbee toss (sponsored by Indianapolis Business Journal), golf chipping, obstacle course relay, parallel parking and soccer shootout. Earlier in the week, competitions were held in bicycling, bowling and volleyball. Also included was a philanthropic competition where companies received points based on how much they donated to designated local charities.

And what became of Steve Russell? In spite of backache challenges this year that inhibited his ability to properly train, he took his place at the start line and began a pace that was difficult for him to sustain. A real gamer, he finished the race practically carried across the finish line by three female participants. After this near collapse, he was strapped to a gurney and transported to an ambulance. The preliminary diagnosis was blood pressure problems. I never learned whether the blood pressure was a result of running the race or the close physical contact with three younger women at the finish.

I offered to take Steve home, but the med techs would not release him. He was taken to Methodist Hospital for observation and set free in time to enjoy lunch with his wife, Livia—a full recovery. He did not even curtail his evening activities. Steve also earned 100 first-place points in his division; he was the only entrant in the septuagenarian category.

The Corporate Challenge, sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and co-chaired by Tag Birge and Lisa Purichia, was billed as a fun-filled community event that emphasizes healthy lifestyles, friendly competition and company camaraderie. It was all of that. Steve Russell and I will be there next year. Won’t you?•

__________

Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.

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  • Congrats Steve and Mickey, 70 years young
    Well done guys, an inspiration to us all...I am still running 30 to 40 miles a week at 59 (at a leisurely pace I might add), and I hope to still be lining up for races at your age. let us know if you ever figure out what caused the spike in Steve's BP...I am guessing it was the assistance rendered rather than the effort...
  • Good for you
    Congratulations on the race from a fellow over 70, still working, still running member of the community. Mike Uber and I co-chaired the first several Corporate Challenges long ago and I'm glad it has survived.

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  1. This is a terrible idea. I have an enormous amount of respect and appreciation for all the men and women who wear a uniform and serve the Indy Metro area. They don't get paid enough for all the crap they have to take. Low Pay and Benefits. Every thug and crazy taking pot shots at them. The statistics, demographics, and data that we have accumulated for umpteen years DO NOT LIE. Let's focus on making sure that the politicians that are "mandating" this crap are living where THEY are supposed to be living. Let's make sure that the politicians are not corrupt and wasting resources before we start digging into the folks on the front lines trying to do a difficult job. Since we are "hip" to "great ideas" Let's round up all the thugs in the Indy Metro area who are on parole violation as well as those in Marion County Jail that are never going to be rehabilitated and ship them down to Central America or better yet...China. Let's see how they fare in that part of the world.

  2. Once a Marion Co. commuter tax is established, I'm moving my organization out of Indianapolis. Face it, with the advancement in technology, it's getting more cost effective to have people work out of their homes. The clock is running out on the need for much of the office space in Indianapolis. Establishing a commuter tax will only advance the hands of the clock and the residents of Indianapolis will be left to clean up the mess they created on their own, with much less resources.

  3. The 2013 YE financial indicates the City of Indianapolis has over $2 B in assets and net position of $362.7 M. All of these assets have been created and funded by taxpayers. In 2013 they took in $806 M in revenues. Again, all from tax payers. Think about this, Indianapolis takes in $800 M per year and they do not have enough money? The premise that government needs more money for services is false.

  4. As I understand it, the idea is to offer police to live in high risk areas in exchange for a housing benefit/subsidy of some kind. This fact means there is a choice for the officer(s) to take the offer and receive the benefit. In terms of mandating living in a community, it is entirely reasonable for employers to mandate public safety officials live in their community. Again, the public safety official has a choice, to live in the area or to take another job.

  5. The free market will seek its own level. If Employers cannot hire a retain good employees in Marion Co they will leave and set up shop in adjacent county. Marion Co already suffers from businesses leaving I would think this would encourage more of the same.

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