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Syracuse WorkForce Run plans for June 21 event

By Traci DeLore (



After a virtual event in 2020 and a limited-capacity event last year (pictured), the Syracuse WorkForce Run is ready to return to normal this year. The 5K run/walk and corporate team-building event takes place on Tuesday, June 21. (Photo credit: Syracuse WorkForce Run)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a virtual event in 2020 and a small-scale, in-person event in 2021, the Syracuse WorkForce Run is back on the calendar for this June to kick off summer with some corporate teambuilding, fitness, and fun.

“It feels like the Syracuse WorkForce Run has been in a cocoon the past couple of years,” Race Director Robert Barwick of Barwick Group says in an interview. Organizers are ready to welcome back runners, typically numbering in the thousands, and the area’s companies that enjoy participating in the annual run.

This year’s 5K steps off at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 at Onondaga Lake Park/ Onondaga Lake Parkway. Participants can run or walk the 3.1-mile route.

The event typically features corporate teams of three or more employees from a business. This year, individual entries are also allowed.

“The big picture is the park is filled with people eating and drinking and having a good time both before and after the 5K,” Barwick says.

After two summers of canceled, postponed, or otherwise altered events of all types, Barwick is looking forward to holding the run in its usual manner this year. And he thinks people are ready to get out and enjoy participating in things again.

Originally called the Corporate Challenge and operated by JP Morgan Chase from 1982-2019, the run’s last big event was in 2019. That year, it drew 6,018 entrants.

In the first year Barwick Group took over as owner and renamed the event, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the race to take place virtually. Last year, Barwick Group tested an in-person event on a small scale with about 400 participants at Onondaga Lake Park.

Between the change in ownership, new name, and the pandemic, it’s almost like building the event from the beginning, Barwick says. While the overall goal for this year is to bring back the experience of events past, he says he’s not sure how many participants they will end up attracting. He’s hopeful they can come close to 2019 levels but is ok if they don’t quite get there.

Registration opened Feb. 15 and there has already been a good response, Barwick says. JP Morgan Chase (also a sponsor), Raymour & Flanigan, and M&T Bank have already registered participants.

“Those are all great signs for us,” Barwick says.

As in years past, the run begins after the workday ends and will include several hospitality options for teams to consider. For as little as $50, teams can reserve a picnic spot that can hold up to 10 people or teams can pay more for a covered tent with the largest ones holding up to 112 people. Teams may also have food catered by one of the event’s preferred caterers.

Those spaces give teams a place to not only warm up for the event, but also to socialize and relax in afterwards while they enjoy a meal. That’s where the real team building happens as people bond with their matching company shirts or race shirts, Barwick notes.

He adds that it’s also a great time for people to network with other teams. It’s all about bringing community together and enjoying that time together, he says.

“People are itching to get out and do things,” Barwick says. “People are going to enjoy that because they’ve missed it for a couple of years.”

Registration for the Syracuse WorkForce Run is open through June 7. The cost is $38 per participant (plus a team creation fee of $25). More information about the event is available online at