Park Games raise bar for fitness and fundraising

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Pushing it to the limit was no obstacle for corporate teams and individual competitors at last weekend’s Hudson River Park Games.

Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 in Tribeca was the place to be for athletic feats and doggie treats on Sat., May 21, as the second annual Hudson River Park Games brought adrenaline-pumping fun and fitness to the Lower West Side.

Thousands of New Yorkers and visitors flocked to the waterfront to test their strength, endurance, speed, skill and agility — while enjoying a beautiful day outdoors. The fitness and games were for a good cause — keeping recreational programs going strong in the 4.5-mile-long Hudson River Park.

Presented by the nonprofit Friends of Hudson River Park, the Games offer individuals and businesses an opportunity to support and drive awareness of Hudson River Park.

The day-long event started bright and early as master of ceremonies Alex Mednick and former New York Liberty basketball player Kym Hampton welcomed participants and spectators and kicked off a day of festivities, free yoga and fitness classes, food and beverages along the majestic Hudson River.

New Yorkers Christopher Knight and Lucy Clark claimed the men’s and women’s Master of the Pier titles after a ferocious fight to the finish in Fear the Pier, a timed obstacle course, including going through, up and over speed traps of tires, police sawhorse barrier hurdles, a school bus and a climbing wall, plus walking the plank, for a final “man overboard” finish. Both Knight and Clark conquered the course in less than one minute, Knight in 43 seconds and Clark in 59.9 seconds. Eli Guevara was close behind Knight at 45.7 seconds, while Laura Placentra finished in 100.3 seconds.

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In the team pentathlon competition, the Pink Shunami Saints won the 2016  Hudson River Park Cup, beating last year’s champs, Team Goldman Sachs. More than 25 teams, including ABNY, bari studio, BarkBox, Brookfield, Friends of Hudson  River Park Playground Committee, Goldman Sachs, GreenOak, Latham & Watkins, MediaCom, Morgan Stanley, New York Cruise Line, Oxeon Partners, Palantir, PwC, SoulCycle, Verizon and two teams each from CitiBank, Mercer, Moore Capital and RBC, competed in back-to-back games of beach volleyball, kayak races, flag football, dodge ball and an obstacle relay.

The top teams then summoned their strength for a grueling run on Fear the Pier.

“No other park in our city facilitates as much organized play in one place. From soccer to baseball, to volleyball, running, walking and fishing — Hudson River Park really is New York’s Park for Play,” said Gregory Boroff, executive director of Friends of Hudson River Park. “For us, the real goal is ensuring that our amazing park and its recreational, environmental and cultural programs are able to thrive and enrich the lives of New Yorkers and visitors to our city for years to come.”

“Hudson River Park is so accessible and inviting that most New Yorkers are totally unaware it receives no public funding for operations and maintenance,” said Mike Novogratz, Friends of Hudson River Park board chairperson, who greeted participants  and spectators at the team pentathlon closing ceremony.

“We keep recreational programs going strong all year-round through private donations and fundraising initiatives like the Hudson River Park Games.”

Sponsors for the 2016 Hudson River Park Games included BarkBox, NYC Social, glacéau vitaminwater and CitiBikeNYC.

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