SAN RAMON, Calif.--Sponsored by 24 Hour Fitness, the Fitness Challenge is a nationwide event, designed to raise money for Special Olympics while encouraging 24 Hour Fitness members, employees and non-members to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. To date, 24 Hour Fitness employees, members and supporters have raised more than $450,000 for Special Olympics.

Convening this past Saturday, June 9 at the San Ramon Sporting Club, the Challenge was designed to test participant's ability in five events measuring cardiovascular endurance, agility, upper/lower body strength and 24 Hour Fitness trivia knowledge.

``24 Hour Fitness is thrilled to support Special Olympics with our third annual Fitness Challenge,'' said Mark Mastrov, CEO and founder of 24 Hour Fitness. ``It's inspiring to work with all the loyal and committed Special Olympic athletes and participants. Their dedication encourages us to improve our lives through healthy living and fitness.''

Across the country, over 1,600 participants contributed to this great cause by taking part in similar regional qualifying events. From these contestants, 24 Hour Fitness awarded 96 regional champions, both male and female, round trip airfare to the Bay Area to take part in the national championships.

``Special Olympics is honored to partner with 24 Hour Fitness,'' said Rick Collett, president and CEO of Special Olympics Northern California. ``Events like these help motivate Special Olympic athletes and supporters. This event has instilled great values -- as well as help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for our 15 Special Olympic Chapters.''

The Fitness Challenge national championship and day-long celebration featured the 24 Hour Fitness NASCAR racing team including two-time Winston West champion, Bill Sedgwick; Bay Area pro-sports mascots such as the San Francisco Giants ``Lou Seal,'' San Jose Sharks ``Sharkey'' and Golden State Warriors ``Thunder''; a custom motorcycle show featuring bikes by Harley Davidson; and a Kids' Fair which included carnival games and booths sponsored by Bay Area businesses. All proceeds from the Fitness Challenge celebration were donated to Special Olympics Northern California.