From Concrete Hero organizers:
Concrete Hero Ultimate Urban Obstacle Challenge announced nearly 1,000 participants raised over $400,000 as the start of its first annual race in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday. The innovative fundraising concept that benefits AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) featured a chip-timed 5K race and 10 obstacles throughout streets and alleys in downtown before concluding with an urban-themed block party at L.A. LIVE.
“We are grateful for every participant, donor, sponsor, volunteer and everyone that helped make our Concrete Hero Urban Obstacle Challenge an incredible success in its first year,” said Craig E. Thompson, Executive Director at APLA.
“APLA works to improve the lives of many thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles. These funds raised help support vital APLA programs such as the Vance North Necessities of Life Program, which distributes more than 150,000 bags of groceries in Los Angeles to those facing HIV and hunger; APLA Dental Services, which offers over 12,000 low- and no-cost dental procedures to people who are HIV-positive but cannot afford critical dental care; and other programs that offer life-sustaining care and support here in LA,” Thompson added.
A first of its kind in fundraising initiatives and obstacle challenges alike, Concrete Hero incorporates a mix of iconic LA landmarks as obstacles along the route. Participants climbed over 26 parked cars and two buses in the “Carmageddon” obstacle, scaled a 16 foot “Hollywood Sign,” swung across two massive mud pits called “Tar Pit Traverse” and cleared seven other obstacles before finishing at L.A. LIVE with an urban-themed block party.
“I lost two of my brothers within nine months of each other to AIDS,” said Angelita De Leon, a 51-year-old resident of Los Angeles.
“Ruben and Dimas didn’t have access to critical resources and support programs like those offered today by AIDS Project Los Angeles. Today, I am honoring my brothers by taking on Concrete Hero. I know they would be so proud of me, so I will continue this challenge every year to help those who have to deal with this disease,” De Leon added. She has already registered for the 2013 event.
APLA’s Chief Development Officer Bart Verry says APLA specifically designed Concrete Hero to be mass-appealing to engage new demographics in supporting the range of services that APLA provides.
“Often, younger generations no longer view HIV or AIDS as a problem, yet levels of infection are on the rise among this demographic,” says Verry.
“Obstacle course competitions are being held outside the city nearly every weekend it seems, so we thought it made sense to introduce a fun, but not too serious concept right here in the heart of our city where more people could participate. By raising funds to ensure continuity of vital, APLA-powered programs, our participants are heroes in their home town,” Verry added.
Event organizers announced the details of next year’s Concrete Hero event, which will be held on July 14, 2013 in Los Angeles.
“We invite everyone to join us next year for the second annual Concrete Hero. Rally your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues now and register at www.concretehero.org or call 323-462-HERO (4376),” said Thompson moments before the race started.
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AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. With more than 25 years of service, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach. For more information, visit apla.org.