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Corporate battle finishes on track

(ran SS edition of Metro & State)

More than 600 athletes from some of the best known companies in the nation _ Chrysler, AT&T, Kodak, Global One, Motorola, Reebok _ are competing today in track and field events in the last part of the annual Corporate Sports Battle National Finals.

Commentators are Olympic gymnast Bart Conner and wind surfing champion Tom Pace. ESPN is taping the three-day competition that's scheduled to be televised at 3 p.m. Dec. 26.

Today's events, free and open to the public, are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Long Center at 1501 Belcher Road in Clearwater. They include a 5-kilometer run, several 60-yard dashes, hip hugger relays, Frisbee toss and catch, obstacle courses and a tug of war.

The "battle" of 29 teams _ each represented by 20 employees and an executive _ began Thursday with a golf putt and basketball games at the Doubletree Resort Surfside in Clearwater Beach.

Garbed in the blazing red shirts and tights of the Motorola company, Chicago residents Arlene Lacayo, 23, and Terry Byrd, 31, were among the cheering fans at Thursday's basketball competition. Both Lacayo and Byrd will compete in today's events.

For the past 15 years, Corporate Sports Battle, based in Washington, D.C., has been producing a series of Olympic-style track and swimming competitions for corporate America. Executives and employees compete in serious as well as wacky athletic events at the local/regional level and the winners go on to the national battle.

"A lot of camaraderie and lifelong friendships have developed out of this," said Jerry Ellis of Dallas and the battle's sponsor, Anderson Consulting.