Obstacles await concrete hero

Cancer survivor trains for Concrete Hero challenge.

Denise Richardson works on her upper body strength in preparation for the Concrete Hero Ultimate Urban Obstacle Challenge later this month.

Denise Richardson was in her early 20s when she was first diagnosed with cancer.

When a routine physical resulted in a biopsy, Richardson found out she had early stages of cervical cancer.

The Maple Ridge resident had to undergo cryosurgery, a treatment where extreme cold is used to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue.

Today, Richardson remains cancer-free. But she still knows people living with the disease.

Just two weeks ago, one of her friends passed away.

On Sept. 29, Richardson will be taking part in the first Concrete Hero Ultimate Urban Obstacle Challenge in  downtown Vancouver with five of her co-workers from Dundee Realty Management in Surrey. Their team is called the Dundee Divas and Dudes.

The nine-kilometre course will begin and end at the Strathcona Park Oval Track at Raymur Avenue and William Street.

Beginning at 10 a.m., competitors will race through streets and alleyways, tackling more than 10 obstacles modeled on iconic British Columbian landmarks along the way.

Richardson, who gets up every morning at 5:30 a.m. to work out at the gym before heading to the office, is a little nervous.

“I’m trying to work my upper body to do the monkey bars,” she said, referring to the obstacle known as the muddy waters of Lost Lagoon that she will have to swing over.

Competitors will also have to leap over dozens of cars and climb several busses in what is called the Lions Gate Lockdown, crawl through the Second Beach Dash and climb two stories over the Chief.

At noon, the race will culminate in an urban-style block party.

Richardson will be cheered on by her husband, two teenage sons and her mother and sister, who are traveling from Powell River to watch her race.

“They figure if I’m going to put myself through this, they’d better be there,” said Richardson.

So far her team has raised $3,355, with $1,200 raised by Richardson herself.

All money raised will be donated to the B.C. Cancer Foundation and cancer research in British Columbia.

President and CEO Douglas Nelson expects 24,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in B.C. this year.

The B.C. Cancer Foundation is a fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable fundraiser for cancer research in the province.

• For more information go to www.concretehero.ca or call 604-488-4376.

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