The peak of the OCR season is fast approaching. Participants are getting their gear in order, like proper running attire and footwear, along with trying to work out work schedules with their race schedules, all while trying to fill every weekend they can with a challenging OCR event. Of course, not every event is as challenging as some, and of course not everybody races every possible weekend, but instead, just a race or two for the whole season, nevertheless, whichever one of those categories one falls under, they all have one thing in common, the passion/desire to conquer obstacles. OCRs, in essence, has given society a boost or shall I say, a well needed electric charge. It gives people a very good reason to wake up in the morning and change/make a better life for themselves. But let’s face it, regardless of how much an OCR can push someone to a better lifestyle or how great it can make them feel when they cross that finish line, there are many of people that would love to get that same rush, without all the dirt, water and mud and major risk of injury. City Challenge Obstacle Race does just this, meaning, they offer the best of both worlds, providing a challenging OCR course, but only through the streets of a concrete jungle.
They arrived in 2013 with a vision and Elvi Guzman, founder of City Challenge Race and top 1% finisher in OCRs felt that after conquering all the challenges he has faced on numerous courses, that he was ready for his next one. Being a city boy from the day he was born and his love for extreme competitive sports, sparked Guzman’s idea for an OCR, right on the city streets from where he was from. Attempting to change the face of the sport, City Challenge Race arises to the scene making big moves. The race began in Jersey City, NJ but will expand to 3 other TBA locations in 2014. At each location, Guzman will raise funds for causes like Breast Cancer and other local charities that will specifically benefit the city in which the race takes place. The next City Challenge event will be on May 17th 2014, in Guzman’s home town in New Jersey. With this, expect a competition like no other; a minimum of 5k, a minimum of 15 obstacles and chock full of well-known sponsors like, Under Armour, New Balance, Yelp, UFC Gym and many more.
Guzman says, “There is no mud, no water and no electric shocks but it has all the challenges people want, without having to throw away a good pair of sneakers. We are the clean alternative for people to have fun with OCRs.” He adds, “Besides that, we take pride in what we stand for, as we promote healthy living, fitness and long lasting life so you will not find products that are bad for your body like caffeine drinks.”
City Challenge Race is designed for all fitness levels and it’s only as competitive as you make it. If you are not trying to compete at high level, much like any race, you can move at your own pace and have a blast doing it, and unlike typical OCRs, you will enjoy the sites of the city landscape. If you are running at the Elite level, you may find yourself testing your body in ways that you may not be accustomed to. Either way, you will find great satisfaction when you cross the finish line.
“OCRs give people, even just for 1 day, the opportunity to be an athlete, to be something they feel great about in the end. It provides a platform to help individuals make a difference in their lives and I am happy to be able to offer this and be part of what someone will remember for a long time,” said Guzman.
Guzman wanted to make it clear that besides the race taking place in the streets, another aspect has them stand out and that is, he did not let go of the concept of customer service, that is, not forgetting about the people that help make it all possible. Many other big name races seem to have left this ideology behind. The sport is growing and approaches have become more profit driven. He understands that if it were not for the people that spend their hard earned cash on registration, he would not exist. “I am into customer service,” he says. “I feel that I must treat people right because this is what I believe and treating them right, will always give them a reason to come back. Let’s say somebody gets injured before a race and they contact us, I have no problems giving them a refund or transferring their registration. I know what it takes to attend one of these events and how much it costs. I also listen to feedback and here what people have to say. If someone contacts us via email or phone, they will not only get someone respond or answer right away, but they will get me. I will answer emails and phone calls. I feel good about that. Big things are happening and my next location has not been announced because it’s a major surprise but I guarantee, the tri-state area will absolutely love it.”