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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

Elvi Guzman The Man Behind the City Challenge Race

May 31, 2022 10:05AM ● By Nicole Teitler
Elvi Guzman working out 2 guys in his studio.

Elvi Guzman is a familiar face in the Hudson County fitness community. In 2013 he created the City Challenge Race, a mud-free obstacle course race that’s held in Hoboken and Jersey City. Urban obstacles range from its signature taxi/cop car hurdle and cinderblock carry to tire flips and jacked-up monkey bars. In its nearly decade-long run, the annual event draws in nearly 2,000 participants from all over, as they test their physical capabilities with the iconic New York City skyline as a backdrop.

We caught up with Guzman to learn more about the City Challenge Race and how to train for it.

How did you come up with the City Challenge Race?

The purpose behind CCR was to fundraise for breast cancer, since my sister had been recently diagnosed at the time. That inaugural year, in October 2013 in Hoboken, we partnered with the American Cancer Society. The following year we had our second event in downtown Jersey City and our third event that same summer in Manhattan. Since then we have produced hundreds of events all over the country.

Is CCR a good race for all types?

Yes, whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, our events are designed for everyone. You can compete at an elite level or join with friends and have fun helping each other on the course.

Given all the different types of obstacles, what sort of training program do you recommend people do before the race?

Training varies and is specific for each person. I think that everyone should create a training schedule that meets their goals and helps with their limitations. As long as you are active, you can do our events. If you need help, bring a friend on the course with you for support and motivation.

As you’re the founder of this large event, I’m sure everyone’s curious to know: How do you stay in shape?

I have been active in playing sports in school and later boxing in my 20s. I like to work out five to six times a week. Whether it’s a boxing workout, running, lifting or just going on a hike, being active helps me stay positive from a mental health standpoint and fit so that I’m ready to produce the races.

There’s a palpable sense of camaraderie at CCR. Almost transformative.

We help transform lives at our events by getting people off the couch and on the course. Our participants train and motivate each other leading up to the races, and when they cross the finish line they are motivated to do our races again. This causes them to care more about their physical and mental health. We often get messages from our participants thanking us for creating a platform that inspires them to live a more active lifestyle.

Beyond the participants, you’ve created an entire community surrounding the race.

The race has been great for restaurants and businesses where we host our events, because we promote local businesses to tourists interested in health and wellness. We partner with our community leaders to ensure our events are generating revenue for the community while producing a safe and fun event everyone can take part in. But we also actively support local charities, like the Hoboken Shelter—to date, we have donated over $21,000.

How has CCR and the community inspired you?

At every run I see our community overcoming obstacles to get to the finish line. Their grit, determination and camaraderie inspire me to overcome obstacles in my life and to never quit no matter what adversity I may be facing.

Nicole Teitler—known by her trademark, Nikki On The Daily—is a brand storyteller based out of Hoboken, NJ, connecting communities through conversation. To reach her, email [email protected] or visit


Join the CCR Community

The next City Challenge Races will take place in Hoboken on July 30 and in Manhattan on October 22. To sign up or learn more, visit


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