It's a race for anyone who's ever looked longingly to the North Shore's mountains through the haze of exhaust that envelops the Lions Gate Bridge gridlock.
It's for those souls who have been trapped on that bridge and dreamed of bolting from the driver's seat and breaking into a run; hurdling over the endless line of Lincolns and Land Cruisers.
It's the Concrete Hero.
The Vancouver obstacle course guides participants through downtown streets and alleys, forcing them to crawl, climb, pull, push and run past a variety of obstructions, all while raising money for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
For North Shore resident James Flewelling, it's a socially conscious way to have a good time.
"My focus started to shift and I realized it would not only be fun, it would be a good cause to support," he says.
The Vancouver Police Department sergeant has run a variety of endurance races ranging from the Spartan Race to Tough Mudder.
"They're fun. Who doesn't want to run and jump in the mud and climb over stuff? You get to be a bit of a big kid again," he says.
Flewelling was looking for a new challenge when he heard about Concrete Hero. "That's how I stumbled on this, I was just looking for another race in the area to do," he says.
While he appreciated the notion of clambering over cars, climbing up scaffolding and taking a Tarzan-like swing overtop a lagoon, he also appreciated the cause.
"Everybody has a relative or friend that's had cancer," he says. "I lost a relative to cancer a year ago. Definitely there's some added incentive there."
Flewelling planned to raise $400 online, but he exceeded that goal more than one month before he was due to toe the starting line.
"It was a modest goal because I'd never done this before," he says.
His new goal is $800. "I'm not even social media savvy, so there's tons of people capitalizing on the social media aspect of it, which really drives up donations," he says. "The fundraising is actually one of the easiest parts of it."
For someone thinking of entering the race for the first time, Flewelling said their decision should be a no-brainer.
"B.C. Cancer Foundation does a lot of great work in the area of their ongoing research," he says. "It's hard to think of many better causes to support while you're out having fun and working up a sweat."
The seven-kilometre trek through Vancouver requires strength, speed, and co-ordination, Flewelling explains.
"It does force you to vary up your fitness goals and your fitness routines so that you're not just becoming one dimensional."
The variety of the course is a good fit with Flewelling's personality.
"I get bored very quickly so I try to mix a lot of cardio with intervaltype training," he says. "Just having a good, wellrounded fitness routine is probably the key to succeeding in something like this."
Flewelling encourages others to jump in the mud and the fun with him.
"You don't have to be an elite athlete to do these things, I'm certainly not," he says. "For people who are thinking about getting involved in this, I'd say just do it."
The race is scheduled for Sept. 29.
People looking to register for the race or to donate can visit va13. concretehero.ca.
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