At Power Dance and Fitness, owner Jaimie Roberts and her instructors welcome locals to cardio-dance and fitness classes, such as Power Dance Throw Down—a heart-pumping choreographed dance class—boot camp, HIIT-High Intensity Interval Training, yoga, and more. With bamboo sprung floors firmly in place, the studio promotes a high-energy atmosphere that blends fitness and fun.
During the Superhero Scramble, racers of all fitness levels tear across arduous terrain littered with body- and mind-challenging obstacles. Participants must wade through mud and, to reach the finish line, persevere through a barrage of Super Slime generously donated by retired Ghostbusters.
Upon completing the race, athletes ride their endorphin high into a party stocked with ice-cold beer. There, they can mingle with other contestants, sway to live music, and see awards doled out to the fastest runners in each age bracket. Male and female Scramble Gamble contestants compete for prizes that can cover the cost of replacing the engines in their sneakers. The benefits of the race extend beyond the Gamble winners, too—the organizers donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.
Any race requires endurance and speed, but the Xtreme Obstacle Challenge also tests balance, upper-body strength, and problem-solving skills. More than 20 obstacles populate the 3-mile course, each one requiring a different approach. In the Matrix, for instance, runners navigate a tangled web of ropes that cross horizontally, rising as high as their waist. A firm grip is a must at Hang Tough, a gauntlet of gymnastic rings competitors traverse like dangling monkey bars. And perhaps the most testing of them all, Dizzy Lizzy confronts runners with an angled spinning disc—decorated with a hypnotic spiral—that they must ascend without losing their balance or getting very, very sleepy.
For the volunteers at Run for Freedom, every successful race brings their organization one step closer to bringing others to safety. Through charitable runs or walks and fundraisers across the east coast, the not-for-profit group brings awareness to the problem of human trafficking in the United States. Funds raised from each event also help assist those who have been rescued or escaped from captivity by providing therapy services, education opportunities, and emotional support to help them take back control of their lives.
Fusion Fitness founder Ealiane Joseph isn't looking to be tough on her clients. She views fitness as a means to pursuing a happier, healthier lifestyle, so she approaches each person from a supportive, encouraging frame of mind. She believes strongly in mixing it up, so as to avoid the boredom that comes with too regular of a routine. In that spirit, her gym's offerings include everything from 5K races to personal training sessions and group classes, including aerobics and boot camps.
After training for weeks, runners take their positions at the starting line, wait for the signal, and adjust the regulation sombreros attached to the tops of their helmets. Upon hearing the starting gun, they all bolt forward—only to tumble into a pit that puts them neck deep in oozy, disgusting, glorious mud.
Participants in the American Mud Race replicate this scene as they take on a 3- to 4-mile mud-filled obstacle course, all in the effort to benefit wounded veterans through the Home at Last Project by West Orange Habitat for Humanity. Afterward, racers bring home their mud-caked clothing and costumes to take revenge against their bathtubs, or they can replace them at the race site with a free T-shirt. Food and drink wristbands entitle their wearers to barbecue lunches and beer at the after party, where live music and DJs provide a soundtrack for dancing.