Testing His Limits: After Weight-Loss Journey, Plainfield Man Tackles Death Race

After a 65-pound weight loss, Jesus Chavez will take on the mentally and physically challenging Death Race in Vermont.

Plainfield resident Jesus Chavez before and after his weight-loss transformation. This month, he'll take on the Death Race in Vermont. Credit: Submitted photo
Plainfield resident Jesus Chavez before and after his weight-loss transformation. This month, he'll take on the Death Race in Vermont. Credit: Submitted photo
When he joined the C.W. Avery YMCA, Jesus Chavez was just looking to get in shape.

Since then, he has lost around 65 pounds and been inspired to push himself, taking on obstacle course races including the The Spartan Race, The Warrior Dash and The Legend of the Death Race.

This month, Chavez will head to Vermont to take on his biggest challenge yet: the Death Race. 

The race, which in the past has lasted well over 70 hours, takes participants through a series of physical and mental challenges — and more than 90 percent don't even finish, according to the event's ominous-sounding website, youmaydie.com.

Why take on something called a "Death Race"?

"I've just been inspired every since I started my weight-loss journey," said Chavez, who sports a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Test Your Limits" in his "after" weight-loss photo.

He'll do just that when the race starts June 27. Chavez has even recruited a friend, Anthony Lazo Monsalve of Corona, California, to join the race.

"Every year the Death Race has a theme," Chavez explained. "Last year was the 'Year of the Gambler' and this year it's the 'Year of the Explorer.' They sent out an email saying something about Lewis and Clark. So my buddy decided last minute to sign up for the race and he is my 'Clark.'"

Chavez said he began doing obstacle course races in an effort to keep pushing himself.

"I just want to show my wife and daughter, you can do anything," he said. 

Chavez said he has participated in workout camps and uses what he's learned in his training. "I take a little bit of what they do and incorporate it in my workout," he said.

On Memorial Day, Chavez said he loaded up a backpack with a 50-pound sandbag and made a five-mile trek around his neighborhood. He also recently participated in a challenge that had him carrying a five-gallon bucket of water nearly a mile over rough terrain, with the objective of making it to the finish line without spilling a drop.

"Whatever makes you feel uncomfortable, that's what you should do," Chavez said of his training. "I do burpees in the sauna, push-ups in the sauna."

Burpees are also the punishment for Death Race participants who fail to complete a pre-race "media challenge" by getting a local news outlet to report on the race.

Those who fail must do 2,500 burpees while wearing a weighted vest before the race even starts.

For more information on the Death Race, visit the website.

Trish Wallace June 04, 2014 at 01:07 PM
First obstacle down! Media article - check! Good luck!!!
Mike Tools June 04, 2014 at 04:22 PM
Good luck Jessie! Jessie is a super nice guy and a great athlete. Hope he does well!
tony211 June 05, 2014 at 08:47 AM
claudiagw June 08, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Good luck and congrats on your weight loss!


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