Health & Wellness

Runners Overcome Obstacles and Chalk Dust to Complete Somerville Challenge 5K

A runner loops back to the starting line in Lepp Park after working through the obstacles in Southside Park during Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K. Credits: Rod Hirsch
A runner is doused with chalk dust as he makes his way through the gauntlet during Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K. Credits: Rod Hirsch
A runner is doused with chalk dust as he makes his way through the gauntlet during Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Borough Councilman Jason Kraska stretches out on the obstacle course during Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Bodhi by Anthony Gym owner Anthony Monetti, who organized Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K, gives instructions to runners before they set out on the obstacle course. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Anthony Monetti,, organizer of Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K, ties off the banner at the starting line. Credits: Rod Hirsch
The Somerville Challenge 5K featured 12 obstacles and challenges, including carrying a 5-gallon jug of water several hundred yards. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Karen Monetti, right, co-owner of the Bodhi by Anthony Gym, talks with volunteers at Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K. Credits: Rod Hirsch
The Somerville Challenge 5K featured 12 obstacles and challenges, including carrying a 5-gallon jug of water several hundred yards. Credits: Rod Hirsch
A runner stretches out hopping from one upended log to the next during Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K. Credits: Rod Hirsch
The #Team Somerville log at the starting line. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Race organizer Anthony Monetti, right, with Rocco the Ram at the staging area. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Runners sign the #Team Somerville log prior to setting off on the 5K obstacle course. Credits: Rod Hirsch
A runner is powdered with chalk dust as he makes his way through the gauntlet during Saturday's Somerville Challenge 5K. Credits: Rod Hirsch

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The last leg of Saturday’s Somerville Challenge 5K was the gauntlet, with the prerequisite cinder blocks, logs, truck tires and wooden block obstacles - plus an added touch.

Volunteers armed with soakers sprayed the runners and tossed cups of chalk dust in their paths, good for lots of laughs, a few expletives, rainbow clouds of dust, and some bizarre designs on their clothes.

Anthony Monetti and his wife Karen, owners of the Bodhi by Anthony Gym, 198 West Main St., along with friends and clients, designed and built many of the 12 obstacles that were on the course, which ran along the pathway of the Peters Brook.   

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Entrants paid $50 to test themselves, with all monies raised donated to the Somerville First Aid Squad.

The family-owned gym offers group fitness programs, nutrition programs, yoga classes and personal training sessions.

The staging area was at Michael Lepp Park on Veterans Memorial Drive East. Runners took off across the bridge that connects to Southside Park, looping around the park and back to Lepp Park, before heading across Main Street and through the side streets of the borough.

The runners went out in groups of 20 or less and were staged 10-15 minutes apart to prevent the course from getting clogged.

The first aid squad had eight members running in the event, with other EMTs along the course with emergency medical equipment on standby.

There was no official timer; no trophies were awarded, but runners walked away satisfied they had faced up to the challenge and had overcome the obstacles.

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

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