This weekend, more than 2,000 runners converged on Hollywood & Highland to run the 2015 Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood 5K/10K. The event raised money for My Friend’s Place, which was founded in 1988 to assist and motivate homeless youth while helping them build self-sufficient lives. Over the past 25 years, the organization has blossomed from a small group of volunteers to a thriving social service agency helping many homeless youth each year.
“Hard Rock Cafe has become a tremendous partner in our mission to serve our homeless youth community and we are honored to be a part of Run Hard Rock Cafe for the third year in a row,” said Heather Carmichael, Executive Director of My Friend’s Place. “We hope the race will continue to bring awareness to the homeless youth crisis that exists in Hollywood, and help us continue to serve the nearly 1,500 youth experiencing homeless per year from our Hollywood facility.”
The race wasn’t just for visiting runners. The event also gave youth from My Friend’s Place the opportunity to participate alongside more than 2,000 runners who signed up.
“My Friend’s Place has given me everything – shoes, clothes, bus tokens and now a 10K,” said Andre Steen, a regular participant in My Friend’s Place weekly Run Club and a first-time participant in the 5K/10K. “That’s all because of My Friend’s Place.”
Participants in the Run Hard Rock Cafe race came from all walks of life including youth running their first race, like Andre, as well entire families, groups of friends, and participants from running organizations.
“This is my first race. I thought about running the 5K but I would’ve been short changing myself so I’m glad I did the 10K,” said Andre.
In his first race, Andre finished with an impressive 59:50.
2015 marked the third time runners came to Hollywood & Highland to run the Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, and the race course featured a straight shot out and back along Hollywood Boulevard from the Hard Rock Cafe. Running is a popular activity for hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles residents, but it isn’t every day runners get to pound the pavement at top speed along a major Hollywood street that’s cleared of cars, tourists, and photographers.
2015 is also the first year organizers offered the option of a 10K race, which is 6.2 miles (the 5K race is 3.1 miles).
“We are excited to expand the 5K race to include a 10K this year to bring out more members of the community to benefit My Friend’s Place and make the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5/10K even bigger and better,” said Selin Demren, Senior Sales & Marketing Manager of Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, Calif. locations. “We love seeing all the race participants lace up for a cause and give back to the local community, and are honored to once again be able to crown the winners right here at Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd.”
In the 5K race, 20-year-old Marc Marcano came in first place with a time of 15:47. The first female to cross the line was thirteen-year-old Anna Payton who crossed the finish line with a time of 19.16. For the 10K race, 16-year-old runner Ezra Sotelo came in first with a time of 34:30, and the first woman to cross the line was 34-year-old Gabriela Gamez Martinez, who finished with a time of 42:46.
“As part of our ‘Love All- Serve All’ guiding principle, Hard Rock has always been committed to philanthropy and make it a priority to serve the local community,” Selin shared further. “We couldn’t be more pleased to support My Friend’s Place and their mission of inspiring homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives through today’s race.”
Will you sign up for next year’s race at Hollywood Hard Rock? Keep an eye out on the official website for details about next year’s event.
Want to know more about My Friend’s Place? Head over to the official website, and learn more about how volunteers and homeless youth come together to meet the challenges facing so many kids in Los Angeles today. Get involved with this exceptional organization, and see the impact your time can have on a young person’s future.