The business meeting scheduled Saturday at the University of Maryland will lack folders bulging with reports and recitations of return-on-equity figures. Instead, decisions at this meeting will be determined by fleet feet.
The Corporate Cup Association Relays, held in the Washington area for the first time, is expected to have more than 300 men and women competitors representing about a dozen corporate teams from the District, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It will be one of 18 regional qualifying meets for the CCAR national championships June 23 to 24 at Stanford University.
Runner's World magazine started the relays in 1978 to promote productivity through physical fitness in America's business community. David Hans, executive director of Corporate Cup Association, expects 450 to 500 corporate teams to participate in the regional meets and the championships.
"There are two levels of competition," said Hans. "First, the regionals, which is an 'every man's' track meet with a strong participatory element, second, the finals, which is fair game and where teams will be ready for stiff competition."
Some teams have been working to discredit the myth that the corporate cup relays refer to executives getting a cup of coffee without leaving their seats.
"Well, of course we're in fantastic shape," said Arlington's IBM team coordinator George Banker when asked about his team's fitness level. "We sent out 4,300 flyers to IBM recreation club members the end of March. And we've been on the track as a group two nights a week. . . . As far as IBM is concerned, there will be no looseness at all." Thirty-eight runners will represent IBM.
Honeywell Information Systems, with 30 runners from its McLean office, is more low key. "We haven't had a lot of time to get the group together," said team coordinator Jim Webber. "We're interested more in participation than competition. But once we're out there, it will be like a high school track event--everybody pulling for each other.
Also registered to compete so far are Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh, Potomac C&P Telephone, American Management Systems in Arlington and General Electric in Lanham. Local offices are allowed to have runners from branch offices in other states compete on the team.
Despite its growing popularity--seven cities hosted regional meets in 1978, and Houston, in its first year this year, has attracted 30 teams--the event has not begun to make money. "The program is really struggling financially. We have to rent stadiums, and pay for medals, trophies, racing numbers, promotional advertising and brochures," said Hans. "We'd like to see it self-sufficient on entry fees. But if we were in it to make money, we'd have dropped it three years ago."
The event is funded by Runner's World, local and national sponsors and teams' entry fees. Class AA teams (1,001 or more employes) pay a $175 entry fee for regional meets and a $450 entry fee for the national meet. Class A teams (1,000 or fewer employes) pay $100 for the regionals and $250 for the nationals.
Hans said the University of Maryland was picked because of its proximity to the District. "Eventually, we'd like to have a regional meet in every major populous area in the country."