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Concrete Hero kicks a$$, raises over $400k for AIDS Project Los Angeles

Concrete Hero Team Kick A$$

Photos and videos from the event below.

When my friends Jason Duguay and Fred Arens asked me to join Team Kick A$$ for the first-ever Concrete Hero obstacle course raising money for AIDS Project Los Angeles, I didn't know what to expect. "Oh it'll be fun," they said, "you'll just run through the streets and they'll throw a couple cool obstacles at you." Having run cross-country in high school, I knew I could handle a 5k. And if they tossed a couple hurdles in the way...well, I was a hurdler too. No problem.

What I experienced Sunday morning, along with almost 1,000 other runners, was an incredible urban obstacle course with bigger-than-life challenges that left everyone out of breath, grabbing their quads...and begging for more. While it was hard, it was also incredibly fun...in large part because it was tough. And I already can't wait to do it again next year, a theme I heard from every participant I talked to.

The event was hosted by CauseForce and was the brain child of Chad Goldman, Brian Pendleton, Tom Whitman and others. It was designed to experience many of Los Angeles' iconic elements, all within a few blocks of Downtown L.A.

Starting at the Staples Center, runners only ran a couple hundred yards before they confronted a make-shift construction zone complete with barriers and fences to climb over or crawl under. There was a simulated wind storm, tar pits to swing over, a "forest fire," a traffic jam...and the West Hollywood Dodgeball League showed up to bean runners as they passed by. There was even a simulated earthquake as runners sped across several bounce houses. And just as runners approached the finish line a mere 30 yards away, they were forced to scale a mountain of giant shipping containers 30 feet high (acting as the Hollywood Hills) with the Hollywood sign atop it.

Having not competed in a 5k since I was in high school, I wasn't sure what to expect. My partner, Dan, and I started out slowly knowing people would fade with each quad-splitting obstacle. We were right. Ultimately I somehow managed to finish 16th and Dan 33rd out of the hundreds of runners. We might not have the huge muscles, but I guess we can run.

And yeah, I can't wait for next year's race! Registration for next year's event, on July 14, 2013, is already open.

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Photos taken from Facebook and Concrete Hero media photos.