High Rock challenge has become one of the most popular races on Staten Island. I do not have the actual statistics but it seems like whomever I talk to has either done this race, knows someone who has done it or heard about it. I’m so glad to have finally been able to actually participate in this race. Everything just worked out: I didn’t have any races that weekend and my hubby actually wanted to run with me. How cool, I get to run an obstacle race in our gorgeous greenbelt with my hubby!
High Rock Challenge is a two-member team run and takes place along Greenbelt trails. You compete in mystery events and physical obstacles, which are located throughout the 10K course. Events are designed to encourage teamwork as well as physical and mental stamina. Events and the map are not revealed until race day when you’re on the course (www.sigreenbelt.org). The High Rock Challenge course is scenic and rustic. It’s an oasis in the middle of urban an environment. The race is held in memory of NYPD Officer John Kelly. Proceeds from the High Rock Challenge help support the Greenbelt Conservancy, a non-profit organization that provides trail maintenance and environmental education programs in the Greenbelt.
Running the trails weekly I sort of have a home advantage of knowing where I am going. But as I said before the course remains a mystery until the race day which kind of keeps you on your toes. You have to pay attention to the markings to make sure you don’t end up making a wrong turn (and it’s very possible).
It was a gorgeous Saturday morning. The sun finally came out after days of rain and especially a crazy heavy downpour the night before. The temperatures were also climbing up which were going to make it an unseasonally hot day. Hundreds of people showed up to enjoy themselves, reconnect with friends, run in the muddy trails and challenge themselves on the obstacles. My hubby and I decided to name our team “High School Sweethearts”. We had the shirts made and our team outfit was complete with crocheted hearts I made for the Valentine’s Day 5k. We lined up for 9:30 competitive wave. After a brief instruction and a warning: if we are not able to complete an obstacle a penalty of 30 jumping jacks will be enforced; off we went up the hill and onto the 1st obstacle- Walk the Plank. You and your partner had to hold on and face each other and walk along a balance beam. Next up was Picnic bench Hurdles and Ladder walk. Then we came across Snake Pit: a covered low crawl-it got kinda hot under that tarp. Some swift turns brought us to the blue trail and the wonderful views of Richmond County Country Club and past it you can see Great Kills Harbor. I always loved that view especially on a clear sunny day like that. After a couple of miles of straight up running we came to High Rock headquarters and a fun challenge of tying a tie on your partner. Down the hill of the yellow trail some quick turns and the next challenge partnered tire walk (hold your partner back to back) and a tube crawl. A quick run brought us to the sand bag carry. Some people were ambitious and ran with that bag on their shoulders but we decided to just enjoy a breather. The walk took us around the pond (purple trail). Now onto the famed Moses Mountain which we had to climb with the help of a rope. Next up kayaking on the Ohrback Lake. This was our absolute favorite challenge and the most painful (my hip flexor and TFL were not happy to be pinched in a sitting position) but getting wet felt so refreshing. Of course in completing this challenge with your life partner a quick quarrel is a requirement-if you are not arguing you don’t love each other that much. More running-YES! At this point we ended up walking the uphills. A hoop challenge was next where 1 partner holds the hula hoop and the other throws a bean bag backwards. And to much of my delight the Stairway to Heaven was included in this race. I did love all the “warning signs” leading up to them but those stairs are murder. Next up was the tube crossing, block carry, inverted wall and an A-frame wall right at the finish line. Coming thru the finish line, what a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of euphoria. We did it! And we did it together!
The finish line festivities were pretty sweet. After we got our medal there were plenty of things to refuel us. Trader Joe’s brought some bars, there were bagels and water and some more snacks. Food was all around. Let’s not forget free beer!!! YESS!!! And a BBQ place (the Smoke Exchange) which could not be passed. We got a pulled pork sandwich, espresso maple smoked bacon and raspberry ice tea. Oh man that was so delicious!
Greenbelt Conservancy knows how to throw a race: from an amazing fun and challenging course to a pretty rocking after party! We are already looking forward to next years race.
I’d like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this race: Greenbelt Conservancy staff, volunteers, CERT team, and all the sponsors. You have made this not just a race but a memorable event that people come back to each year!