Health & Wellness

Somerville 5K Challenge Features Obstacle Course along Peters Brook Greenway

Jeff Calvert flexes before unloading logs that will be used in the Somerville 5K Challenge. Credits: Karen Monetti
Anthony Monetti, at right wearing the white bandana, gets some help building obstacles for the Somerville 5K Challenge. Credits: Karen Monetti
The Somerville 5K Challenge will raise money for the Somerville Rescue Squad.

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Anthony Monetti says that if you do this right, you’ll get dirty and sweaty, probably acquire a few cuts, scratches and bruises along the way, but in the end, you’ll be smiling.

The Bodhi by Anthony gym at 198 W. Main St., owned and operated by Monetti and his wife Karen, is sponsor of the first-ever Somerville Challenge 5K on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The challenge features an obstacle course to challenge runners’ strength and agility along the pathway that parallels the Peters Brook Greenway, which stretches throughout the borough.

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All monies raised will be donated to the Somerville Rescue Squad.

The family-owned gym offers group fitness programs, nutrition programs, yoga classes and personal training sessions. Many of their clients have taken up the challenge and plan to participate, according to Karen Monetti.

“This is not your typical 5K,” she said.

Obstacles and challenges will be set up alongside the pathway, including a tire shuffle, an Army crawl, balance tests, cinder block carries, an over-under obstacle and others, including a memory test. Each of the obstacles/challenges will be supervised by a volunteer trainer from the gym.

Physical therapists will also be on hand prior to and after the race to help those in the challenge to stretch out.

The obstacles, which were being constructed in the Monetti’s backyard on High Street Thursday and Friday, will not be placed on the course until early Saturday morning.

Staging area is at Michael Lepp Park on Veterans Memorial Drive East, beginning at 7 a.m.

The first wave of 20 runners heads out at 9:30 a.m. Waves will be staged every 15 minutes to prevent the course from getting clogged.

More than 80 people had signed up, individually and as teams by Thursday night; Monetti hopes to have 100 people out on the course Saturday morning.

Pre-race registration will continue online through Friday night, Sept. 29. Fee is $60. Registration can also be completed the morning of the event.

The rescue squad will have eight members running in the event, with other EMTs along the course with emergency medical equipment on standby.

Rescue Squad Chief Fred Picchiello is grateful for the Monetti's support.

The squad rolls out for emergency calls throughout the borough and neighboring Raritan Borough 24/7 without charge.

“They don’t send you a bill,” Karen Monetti said.

“Our donations are down this year which affects our education programs,” Picchiello said. “We try to be as cost effective as possible. It’s tough when you rely on donations.

 “We have three out of four ambulances that are over 20 years old. The last new one was bought in 2012 and that cost $165,000. Our trucks are 32 years old another one is pushing 40 years old. Sooner or later, they’ll need to be replaced too."

Monetti emphasized that the 5K Somerville Challenge is open to all ages, and is not considered a competition. The event will not be timed, and there will be no trophies, just the satisfaction of having faced up to a challenge and overcoming the obstacles.

“This is pure fun to push yourself to see what you can do,” she said.

Vendors will also be set up at Lepp Park, with running and physical fitness products and giveaways. Lulu Lemon, a popular outfitter at the Bridgewater Commons Mall, will host a closed event at the store for the first 100 registrants and will participate in the 5K Somerville Challenge.

Register online at

Further information is available by calling (908) 526-2288.

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