Crawling on your belly through mud, squirming through a dark underground trench, jumping into a pool of icy water, climbing a 14-foot rope and running nearly four miles is how Dan “Nitro” Clark wants you to spend your Saturday.

Best known from the television show “American Gladiator,” Clark is bringing his intense Gladiator Rock ’N’ Run event to Stony Creek Metropark this Saturday. The fitness challenge includes a 6K and an obstacle course that sends participants through mud, ice and fire.

“It will challenge every part of your physical capability,” Clark says. “I think anybody who can effectively go out and jog a 5K can do this event. We want it to be challenging, but we also want you to have a great time.”

Maybe extreme fitness challenges aren’t your thing. The success of programs such as “Gladiator” — and more recently “American Ninja Warrior” — show that we love to watch other people go through tests of strength. That’s why Clark made the Rock ’N’ Run a party as well as a challenge, and it’s free for spectators. Local pop/rock cover band XOXO will perform, and food and beer will be on hand, all near the banks of Stony Creek Lake.

“For us, it’s more than just a race,” says Clark, who will be on site all day encouraging participants and giving out high fives at the finish line. “We want it to be an experience from the minute you walk in to the minute you leave. With a typical 5K, you get your orange juice after, and you leave. Here, people are rocking out and eating food; it’s almost like a concert and a sporting event.”

The Gladiator Rock ’N’ Run, which is held in cities across the country, is also a fundraiser for Talk About Curing Autism, a nationwide nonprofit that provides resources and support to families affected by autism. Clark, whose best friends have children with autism, says the event has raised around $250,000 for the cause so far.

Gladiator Rock ’N’ Run

with Dan “Nitro” Clark


First wave at 8 a.m.

Stony Creek Metropark

4200 Main Park, Shelby Township

Registration $90, free admission for spectators, parking $10

Get $15 off registration fee with the code DETROITNEWS15

Read or Share this story: