On Saturday, August 23 nearly 500 people gathered in Culver City to see if they had what it takes to conquer the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Aztlan Athletics Foundation (AAF) welcomed new and returning health enthusiasts to their 2nd Annual Conquer The Overlook climb.
The event was complete with medals, refreshments and music. Fitness enthusiasts of all ages, races and fitness levels showed up with friends and family to give their cardiovascular system a healthy challenge.
“[AAF] was created in 1974,” said Martha Forbes, Vice President of AAF. “It was founded doing 5k runs throughout Los Angeles and is basically a foundation that’s here to help community organizations do fundraisers but at the same time, to educate people on health and wellness.”
AAF provides outreach to address various social and environmental issues impacting the community, while raising proceeds to support the respective beneficiaries programming. The organization also wants to increase community participation in healthy activities from youth, adult, and seniors. AAF also provides the proceeds to select non-profit agencies that are involved in strengthening communities.
The event featured two kinds of challenges for participants, the 282 stair climb which started at 6:00 p.m. and 5K & Stair Climb, which started at 7:00 p.m. Participants were welcomed to do both challenges but the 282 stair climb was enough for some.
Through labored breathing and a light smile Gideon Toi, who came with co-workers mentioned that he had never participated in an event like this.
“This is my very first time, my very first race,” Toi said.
“I think I did ok—it’s a lot of cardio.”
“I enjoy doing runs and I live very close—why not do it, I’ve never done it here,” said a participant at the event.
“I do a lot of runs; I’m a part of a lot of email listings, so I’m always getting emails about different runs across the city.”
Leony Mendez participated in both challenges and bested his time last year on the stair climb challenge. A local of the area, he returned to challenge the overlook once again.
“It’s a whole different experience rather than flat running—you have to push,” said Mendez. “You got to find that inner strength so you can muscle through this.
“This is no joke.”
Ian Williams was one of many volunteers at the event and spoke about the event.
“I was volunteering here last week at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and I met Jose Luis Zavala [President & CEO of AAF],” said Williams. “I’m pretty nosy, I saw the signs up, so I wanted to know how I could help.
“I feel like I’m contributing to my community.”
She plans to participate in next year’s overlook challenge.
After completing the course, participators were able to engage with each other with refreshments. A live DJ, music, entertainment and dancing complete with a gorgeous view of the Los Angeles skyline was one of many priceless awards. All participants will be able to access resource agencies, health & wellness, and specialty booths. All participants received a finisher’s medal and t-shirts.
AAF will have more events taking place including a run in Pasadena in September, Long Beach in October and a 5k Classic, which is a collaboration with Charles Drew University at East L.A. College.
Aztlan Athletics Foundation is located at 1000 Fremont Ave. Suite #218 in South Pasadena, CA 91030. For more information you can all at (626) 765-1312 or visit their website at www.aztlanathleticsfoundation.org/
All Photos by Brian W. Carter