Friday, May 6, 2011

Hell-Walk 2011: Holy Crap

 The final lap count!

A little while back, I interviewed this awesome dude, Josh Tate, who is an employee of the greatest company EVAR, Bad Robot, and was prepping for his charity event, Hell-Walk, where he would walk in a 100 ft circle on a sound stage for 24 hours straight, in an effort to raise 25,000 for Children's Hope Chest.

A little while after that, I went to his pre-event fundraiser, held at Sonny McLean's in Santa Monica, where the fantastic Broken Numbers Band played, amazing prizes were being raffled off (I was hoping for the complete series of Lost, the limited edition Serenity statue or the framed Star Trek poster signed by JJ. Alas. But to no avail.), mini desserts by Jose Andres and a really great group of supportive people, including, much to my surprise, JJ Abrams himself, who it turns out might in fact be the coolest boss in the history of time. Details of the big day itself after the jump!

Last week, on April 30th/May 1st, Hell-Walk itself was held. It had begun at 8pm on Saturday night, with a kick off ceremony featuring free gourmet food and beer. Then the movies began, playing all night and morning in an effort to keep Josh awake with something fun to look at and the crowd entertained. The line up included Big River Man, This is Spinal Tap, Blazing Saddles, The Freshman, Amadeus, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Anchorman. Once the screenings stopped, at around 1:30pm Sunday, the live music started, playing on a platform in the center of the 100 ft circle Josh was walking in, and the tunes continued until the event ended at 8pm. Throughout the day Sunday, food trucks were parked outside, free beer was available inside and there was even a bouncy castle at some point!

I got there at around 7:30. I had hoped to be there earlier, but it proved impossible, so I opted for the final stretch. And I gotta say, it was pretty impressive inside. Tons of beer, plus goodies people brought throughout the day, including an entire watermelon, which I definitely partook in. There were couches a plenty for anyone who wanted to stay all night or sit and relax while watching a movie. And of course, there was Josh, walking in a giant circle. To the casual observer, watching on the U-Stream for example, he seemed totally fine, like it was no sweat, like this wasn't wrecking havoc on his body. But luckily, he trained so much leading up, that while this of course was taking a toll on him, it didn't show. He was prepared to do it and had a smile on his face the whole time.

For ten laps, I joined him on the walk, sporting my Hell-Walk shirt. Was hoping to go longer, but the person I was with requested that we go sit down - it was too much. Ten laps. Josh, my friend, I don't know how you did it.

During the last ten minutes, almost everyone in attendance, including Best Boss Ever JJ Abrams and his whole family, joined Josh as an awesome cover band rocked some Bon Jovi. For the final five minutes everyone left Josh to cross the proverbial finish line on his own and the band switched appropriately, to 500 Miles. We were screaming and cheering and when we hit ten seconds we counted down to 1 then cheered even louder. As soon as the 24 hours was up, rather than sit down right away, Josh took a few victory laps, running around the circle, emanating intense joy - it was almost as though you could see the endorphins swirling around inside him.

He soon took to the stage, teary eyed and exhausted, but still standing tall and proud, to talk about his experience and thank everyone for attending. He let us know that although we were just a tiny bit short of the 25,000 goal, JJ, once again proving his awesomeness as a Boss, offered to donate the remainder. Josh also announced to the crowd the news about Osama Bin Laden - Obama's speech had happened *right* as Josh was finishing up his 24 hours. There was definitely something in the air that night.

Finally Josh sat down and water was foisted upon him, as well as endless congrats, hugs, and handshakes. We finally left as he began participating in an intense post-event stretch out and we were relieved to hear he got the next two days of work off to recover.

Overall, the event was impressive, joyous, and a huge success. It's amazing what one person can do when he sticks his mind to it. Congrats Josh, congrats Hell-Walk, congrats Children's Hope Chest.


Ross said...

It was a fantastic event, the organization was pretty descent.