FIT Challenge is a new kid on the local scene, with their first event planned for August 24th, 2013 in Wrentham MA. Alone, that puts them in the company of many other small, local events looking to make a dent in the OCR world.
What does make them standout in my eyes, is the level of involvement they have had with the local OCR community, and specifically the New England Spahtens – Robb, the owner, and his merry men have plans to run races with us, they’ve joined our community and participated actively.
So, I asked some questions – and Robb was kind enough to respond, and this interview was born.
The date is excellent – right after the Spartan Race Sprint in Amesbury, so we’ll be able to regroup and maybe bring a bunch of new friends!
To register: http://www.fitchallenge.org/
Code: spahten10 for $10 off
Over to Robb
Who is behind Fit Challenge?
-Behind FIT Challenge is myself, Anthony Vizakis and Michael Candelmo. I started the company in February of this year and Anthony is a former football player of mine who is excellent with computers so I asked him to help me with the website. Michael is a member at my gym and I always see him with a Tough Mudder T-Shirt on so I told him about the race and my ideas and since then he has been my right hand man. I chose Pediatric Cancer as my niece who now is 6 and in her third year of remission was diagnosed when she was 3 with neuroblastoma
What is your OCR or Event planning background? Why an OCR?
-I have coached various sports at various levels for the past 11 years and currently I am the General Manager of Olympic Fitness in North Attleboro in addition to being a full time History teacher at Norton High School. I have never planned an OCR but have planned numerous events. I also learned a long time ago that I know what I don’t know and that there is someone out there who knows so I have sought the help of many different people as I begin this adventure!
I chose an OCR because I absolutely love running them and I really wanted to try and bring something local. I also know the tremendous impact OCR training can have on peoples’ lives in their quest for wellness. If our event can motivate just one person to become healthier then that’s an amazing success. These events have grown tremendously over the past few years, however there are still so many people who have not tried one. I’m hoping that by being able to bring one to my area I can change that.
Fit Challenge looks like a good, entry level OCR for new runners – is that the goal?
-I’d say our goal is to provide a challenging, yet manageable OCR for all level of runners. This will NOT be the toughest event on the planet and I have no plans to take over the Spartan Race or Warrior Dash. We want a FUN and challenging course and we plan to implement different aspects in the course and different options at the obstacles so everyone can participate. I plan to implement many different aspects of the many different races I have done, and avoid the negative stuff and build on the positive stuff. This is not going to be the greatest event and day you have ever had in your life! It will be fun, challenging and have no electricity!
What can racers expect at Fit Challenge? (terrain, obstacles, party, sponsors)
-Michael and I were on the course grounds yesterday and honestly our biggest problem right now is that we have too much land to work with! We have to figure out what aspects we are going to cut out in order to get the 5K distance. The race will begin with straight run of probably around a mile or so with smaller scale obstacles. We’re doing this to hopefully thin out any crowds and avoid any potential lines at obstacles, but with our waves being relatively small we shouldn’t have that problem anyway. We will then have our obstacles which right now could be anything! Again not the greatest obstacles you will ever see, but certainly challenging. We’ll definitely have a sandbag carry through some hilly terrain, (think Spartan Fenway not on bleachers!), walls, balance beams, tires and some other FITness style elements. Being August we will have something out there with water. The terrain is anything but flat and will provide a great natural obstacle in and of itself. The area is comprised of three massive fields and there is now way we can use all of the terrain and have a 5K, however next year’s race we can definitely have a 10K option and not just be two laps of the 5K course!
-Our after party is going to be at Mr. Dooley’s Pub which is walking distance from the course and parking area. Being our first year we didn’t want to do too much too soon and while there is an awesome area right there set up with 17 food booths and a stage, we figured we would let them handle it. They will have live entertainment and all 21+ participants will get a free beer at the pub. In addition they will have FIT food specials for all of the people who attend.
-Right now we are working on our sponsorship “goody bag” and will have discount coupons, samples of different products, discounted registration for our events and hopefully other events. I am trying as best I can to work with as many other events, especially smaller local races so that we can all help each other. I purposely picked August 24th, because there wasn’t any race that day! I myself am running the Tough Mudder, Reviver Challenge, Super Hero Scramble, Ruckus, Run For Your Lives, Tough Mountain Challenge, Spartan Sprint, Super, Beast, Citi Field, Citizens Bank Park and Fenway Park and Panic in the Dark/Blizzard Blast this year. I don’t do any of these because they are better or worse than others, they are all different and fun in their own way and I really don’t look at them as competitors as long as they all are on different dates. I did not like the Rebel Run as many feel the same way and to be honest I’d never run a Rugged Maniac again because they didn’t give a finisher medal, and I’m sorry that’s bullshit! I’d love to work with as many as possible to promote OCR in general and increase everyone’s participation and I really believe all of these smaller type races can help one another tremendously.
What are the long term plans for Fit Challenge?
-The long term goals are to have two OCR style events per year to raise as much money as we can for The Pediatric Cancer Foundation. I’d love to do one spring/summer and one fall/winter. I definitely want to add a 10K element next year and hopefully an elite champion’s heat next year as well. I will be present ALL day during the Mud Run taking any and all comments and suggestions and I want to do whatever I can with the resources I have. Clearly we don’t have the cash flow of one of the bigger corporate races, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put on a great event and won’t look to improve and grow each year and event!
I am also helping organize a family fun run in the fall to benefit the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. One of my clients at the gym had a brain aneurysm during a TRX class and thank god she is now fine and well on her way to recovery, so she would like to do a 5K family style run to raise money. I also was recently at the Hyperwear Sandbell certification course and a woman asked me if I would help her put together a 5K in Burlington to raise money for cancer. I’d love to do as many events as possible for as many different causes as possible and help as much as I can. I chose the FIT Challenge name because it can be universal and applied to anything. Fortitude, Integrity and Toughness can be applied to any aspect of life and we all should challenge ourselves as much as we can to reveal these traits! Maybe we’ll have the FIT Burpee Challenge or FIT Pull-Up Challenge! Who knows??? I will help and work with as many people as I possibly can to help their cause and raise awareness.