BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - As an instructor of "boot camp-style" fitness classes at Bronxville Fitness Center, Evelyn Riccobono teaches her clients how to build strength and endurance. But this September, she will put her own training to the test by getting out of the gym and onto a real-life obstacle course as a participant in this year’s Merrell Down & Dirty National Mud and Obstacle Series.
It will certainly not be a clean fight to the finish, said Riccobono, who completed the 5-kilometer course last year.
“You start out nicely and then increase your endurance by climbing up hills and over fences, traveling through the mud on your hands and knees and jogging through the water,” she said.
The Down & Dirty National Mud and Obstacle Series kicked off this past May and has already made stops in cities including Atlanta and Chicago. The race, which is slated to touch down in New York’s Pelham Bay Park at Orchard Beach on Sept. 30, supports Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages filled with snacks, entertainment and personal letters of appreciation to military soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Riccobono won't be the only member of her family participating in the Down & Dirty National Mud and Obstacle Series. Her husband Anthony's company, Authentic Window Design in White Plains, is signed up as a booth sponsor, and its affiliates will be handing out water bottles and pamphlets. The company has also invited its clients to privately support Operation Gratitude by making a donation to “Team Authentic Window Design.” For every $15, a care package will be sent overseas to a serviceman or woman. Click here for its donation site.
When she isn’t shaping up her own body, Riccobono is helping local seniors do the same. She routinely leads functional training classes at the Bronxville Senior Center, Tuckahoe Senior Center and the Senior Center at Lake Isle in Eastchester. She said that even though she is teaching them exercises, it’s the seniors who have inspired her to succeed.
“My goal is to get everybody in the best shape of their lives,” said the Ossining resident. “I love working with the seniors because they’re so sweet, and they’ve been able to build confidence, balance and endurance, too.”