On your mark…get set…go! Join the Freshkills Park Alliance and King of the Mountain Events for the return of the Freshkills Challenge on Staten Island, a race that’s packed with adventure!
The Freshkills Challenge, which is on Sunday, April 30, at Freshkills Park in Travis, isn’t your average race. It’s a 10K spartan-style experience designed to challenge runners physically and mentally both on land and in water.
The race is open to all participants, ages and abilities—anyone who’s ready for some rugged outdoor fun! Runners younger than 18 will need a parent or guardian to sign up, but all are encouraged to take on the challenge, according to event organizers.
Although this is the first time the race will be held at Freshkills, it does have a deep history. It serves as a continuation of the popular High Rock Challenge, a Staten Island tradition that started in 2001. The last time the race was held was in 2019, so it’s also celebrating a post-pandemic return.
As a unique teamwork-driven challenge race, the Freshkills Challenge is being rebooted in a new park with a new course and new challenges. As with the High Rock Challenge, it will continue to honor NYPD Officer John Kelly, who was killed in the line of duty in 2000. Officer Kelly’s family remains heavily involved with the race every year.
For the first time, the Freshkills Challenge will feature the Borough President’s Cup. This new feature will pit members of the NYPD, FDNY, DSNY and Parks Department against each other to vie for the title of the fastest team among the city’s uniformed employees.
“We’re very lucky here on Staten Island,” Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella said. “We have the best borough parks commissioner, we have the greatest police department, the fire department is unmatched, and the sanitation department is very strong.”
What to Expect at the Freshkills Challenge on Staten Island
The goal of the race is to push partners to work as a team to complete a 10K course filled with obstacles.
Event organizers are keeping the obstacles a surprise for now. “Mystery events” will be located throughout the course, designed to encourage teamwork as well as mental and physical strength. Previous years’ challenges brought competitors face-to-face with a sandbag carry, pond-crossings, climbing, crawling, kayak racing and more.
Matt LeBow is the course director for King of the Mountain Events and a leader in the obstacle-racing community in Staten Island.
“This race is introducing people to an up-and-coming new park, showing them that it’s safe, fun and beautiful,” LeBow said. “The course will challenge them physically, emotionally and intellectually, all in memory of a great guy, NYPD Officer John Kelly. It’s a win-win for Staten Island.”
What You Need to Know About Participating in the Freshkills Challenge on Staten Island
Where is the Freshkills Challenge?
The race is at Freshkills Park, 290 Wild Ave., Staten Island. The start and finish area is inside the park adjacent to 145 E. Service Rd.
When is it?
The race is on Sunday, April 30. Registration begins at 8am. The race starts at 9am and lasts approximately six hours.
Is parking available?
Yes. Parking is located at 145 E. Service Rd.
How much does it cost to participate?
Online registration is $130 per team and open until April 28. Day-of registration is $160 per team. (There is a 15% off code “15off” for students, active military and NYC employees.)
Can people attend the race as spectators?
No. Due to limited access to parts of the park, only staff, volunteers and participants can attend.
A portion of the net proceeds will benefit the Freshkills Park Alliance. For more information about the race, visit the event’s registration page.