First Round: PE takes on the JPMorgan corporate challenge

Private equity makes a good showing in the annual JPMorgan corporate challenge.

When print deadlines and the pressure of breaking news is too much to bear, First Round is known to reach for the occasional doughnut. Chocolate or jam, it doesn't matter – anything to temporarily alleviate the stress of the newsroom.

In the long run, eating a doughnut a day is more likely to invite the heart surgeon round for a visit than have much positive benefit, and so to offset the side-effects First Round has also been known to don the hoodie and trainers and do a couple of laps around the local park.

It appears private equity firms have had the same idea. Across two evenings at the end of May and beginning of June, 15,000 runners descended on New York's Central Park for JPMorgan's annual corporate challenge. Among the 351 businesses and public sector organisations that participated were at least 11 private equity firms, with the likes of Ardian, Apollo, Apax Partners, KKR, Silver Lake and Warburg Pincus sending their finest athletes (ie, first-year associates) to run a 3.5-mile course in the name of health, fitness and fostering goodwill and camaraderie.

First Round was delighted to discover private equity delivered some pretty strong alpha, with at least 28 industry folk making the top 1,000.

The gold medal for the fastest PE professional went to Cerberus Capital Management's Cabell Rosanelli, a senior associate in operations and advisory. Rosanelli took just 18 minutes 12 seconds to complete the circuit and came fourth overall, eclipsing PE runner-up Peter Ryan, an associate in Blackstone's tactical opportunities unit, who came 46th. It's probably the first time Blackstone hasn't come first in anything, so kudos to Rosanelli who will now likely have a target on his back if he ventures anywhere near 345 Park.

Jokes aside, JPMorgan will make a donation on behalf of the Corporate Challenge to the Central Park Conservancy, a non-profit working to restore, manage and enhance the New York landmark. With ESG such a hot issue these days, First Round applauds private equity for taking such a hands-on approach. Well done!

Now, where are those doughnuts…