Elvi Guzman was a big fan of outdoor obstacle races like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and the Spartan Race, but he didn't like throwing away his sneakers after every event.
So last year, he created the City Challenge Obstacle Race, a "clean" outdoor challenge that tests your endurance, strength and sense of adventure -- without leaving you a muddy mess afterward.
"Our challengers are looking for something different, something more intense than your everyday 5K," says Guzman, who started City Challenge last year in Hoboken and attracted nearly 1,500 challengers. "It's fun and intense."
This Sunday, Guzman brings his race to Randall's Island, where participants will climb rope walls, swing from monkey bars, slam medicine balls, race through a tire run, running up Icahn Stadium's steps and more during the course of the 3-mile race.
One of the highlights is sure to be the police car and taxi cab jump, a parkour-style obstacle that uses real NYPD vehicles and yellow cabs, rented from Movie Time Cars, that participants can run, jump, slide or hurdle over.
Runners go in waves of 200 racers, with chips keeping their time. Unlike obstacle races that might require months of training, City Challenge is open to all fitness levels.
"Whether you're an entry-level runner, experienced marathoner or go to the gym every day, it's for everyone," says Guzman. "All levels can run our race and have fun. At the same time, not only will this challenge you physically, it will challenge you mentally."
Guzman also hopes the race will encourage people to overcome personal obstacles in their life, whether it's losing weight, quitting smoking or battling an illness. He launched the race after his sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a portion of proceeds from the race benefit Susan G. Komen.
"We wanted to raise awareness while promoting health and fitness," says Guzman. "Mental endurance is really key. If you can believe that, you can overcome any obstacle in life."
Among the more than 20 obstacles in City Challenge, these are some of the toughest, according to its founder, Elvi Guzman.
Rope climb: Just like in gym class, use your upper body strength to climb to the top of a 12-foot rope and ring the bell.
Monkey bars: Take a trip back to the playground and work your upper-body and core strength and your coordination.
Sand bag sprint: Carry 25-40-pound sand bags 100 yards, testing your strength and endurance.
Battle rope jumps: Test your strength and coordination doing 30 jumps with a five-pound jump rope.
Water jugs carry: Put your arms and legs to the test and haul two filled 25-40-pound water jugs up a flight of stairs.
If you go: City Challenge Obstacle Race is Oct. 5 at Randall’s Island. Registration is $85. For more info, visit citychallengerace.com.