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Health & Wellness
Hanging Out In The Tunnel

By Mark Krajnak, Manager, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Communications

Recently, on a warm, sunny, Sunday, I spent a fun time in a tunnel.

Not to mention I was under the Hudson River.

To explain: On April 26, the 23rd Annual Lincoln Tunnel Challenge took place. This is a very unique 3.1-mile charity run/walk through the Lincoln Tunnel, from the Jersey side, to the New York side and back. What makes it really unique is that this is the only time pedestrians can run (or walk) through the Lincoln Tunnel.

Presented by AmeriHealth of New Jersey, The Port Authority of NY & NJ, the Lincoln Tunnel Administration, and Coach USA, this annual event benefits Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ). I was there doing some volunteer work for the SONJ. However, I was also happy to find out that a contingent of Johnson & Johnson employees also was there to do the charity run. This part was all the doing of Michael Rosenmertz, who works in Information Technology for Ethicon, one of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. Michael has been organizing participation in this event for about three years now and his team, Team Papa, had 81 participants, young and old alike, and the second-largest team in the field. Of that squad, 12 work for Ethicon and one works for Johnson & Johnson in its corporate offices.

Rosenmertz told me that Team Papa started after he and his ten year-old nephew ran in the event for the first time three years ago as the only members of Team Papa. Apparently, his father was a long-time volunteer for SONJ and since he was battling cancer at the time, he couldn’t volunteer as he normally would. They decided to run the event in his honor and called the team ‘Team Papa’ because his grandkids called him Papa.

In addition to the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge and other volunteer events that Michael helps coordinate, perhaps the most unique is the team of 20 Johnson & Johnson Information Technology employees that participate in the annual Plane Pull. In this event, teams pull a Boeing 737 weighing over 93,000 lbs. on the Continental Airlines tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport. When I met up with Michael and the team after the race, with temperature pushing 90, they still had so much energy, it looked like they were ready to go do the run again. I also was impressed to see so many of my colleagues get up WAY early on a Sunday morning – check-in time was 6:45 AM – to do this charity event.

And from my perspective, it was pretty cool to be able to hang out under the Hudson River in the Lincoln Tunnel. Except not stuck in traffic this time.