Wall Street seeks top female athlete to join men’s titleholder

The search for the best athlete on Wall Street is beginning again, with an official women’s division for the first time.

Registration for the RBC Decathlon, a charity event that raised more than $1.3 million for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York last year, opened today through the event’s website. As many as 150 traders, bankers and financial advisers will test their speed, strength and agility in the 10-event competition, which is scheduled for July 27 at Columbia University’s Wien Stadium in Manhattan.

Mark Rubin, a former Penn State University safety who tried out for National Football League teams before joining Barclays Plc. in fixed-income futures sales, will defend his overall title. There are also age-group and executive winners, a team competition and a separate division to crown the best female athlete on Wall Street.

“Seeing the growth aspect of it continue this year with the women’s division, that’s what the event is really about, getting more and more people involved every year,” Rubin, 27, said in a telephone interview.

Vito Sperduto, a former Harvard University rugby player who heads U.S. Mergers & Acquisitions at RBC Capital Markets, will be competing again in the men’s over-40 division after raising more than $72,000 in donations last year. As the title sponsor, RBC last year piloted a program in which nine of its female employees competed in all 10 disciplines.

“When we looked at sponsoring the event, one of the things we worked with the organizers on was specifically involving women,” Sperduto, 43, said in a telephone interview. “It’s going to be a broader event, with a big focus in terms of recruiting more women athletes for the competition.”

‘Enthusiasm, Anxiety’

Terri Endicott, a director in RBC’s municipal finance department, participated in the pilot program and said she’s excited to show women on Wall Street are just as competitive as their male counterparts. A former gymnast who’s also currently works as a spinning instructor, Endicott registered for the competition this morning and will be traveling from Cincinnati for the event in July.

“It was nice to see we can be part of this wonderful cause and be able to really step in and compete with our peers of the opposite sex,” Endicott, 43, said in a telephone interview. “The spirit of the day -- the energy, the enthusiasm, the anxiety -- it’s incredible.”

Also new this year is the Wall Street Mile. That event will be held July 26, the day before the decathlon, with participants running in heats around the Wien Stadium track on the northern tip of Manhattan.

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