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Romney and Obama Supporters Bring Presidential Race to the Gym

LOWER MANHATTAN — Obama and Romney are running for president — at the gym.

Fitness trainers donning rubber masks resembling President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney clocked several miles Tuesday to kick off the Run Up to the Election event at the New York Sports Clubs' Wall Street location.

The gym is inviting patrons as well as non-members to cast their vote by running on one of two treadmills — red for Romney supporters, blue for those who back Obama — and logging miles for the candidate of their choice, said Prince Brathwaite, a trainer at the health club.

“We’re taking something that might be stressful for some people to watch and bringing it together with exercise,” said Brathwaite, noting that the gym will add up the miles clocked on each machine to determine the winning candidate after the event ends Oct. 23.

“There’s a lot of attention right now around the debates, and there’s a competitive nature to them," Brathwaite added. "This is a way for people to show support while [letting off] some steam.”

Rafique Cabral, 26, of Long Island City, said he did not mind running while wearing a blazer, dress shoes, slacks and the rubber Obama mask as long as it got people pumped up for the election.

“It literally feels like running with a gas mask on,” said Cabral, a fitness trainer at NYSC, noting that the last time he wore a mask while running was during his military days. “But it’s for the campaign so I gotta show my support.”