NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)– There was lots of cheering at Harbor Park Stadium Saturday morning, but no baseball players in sight. These folks were hyping up people for the annual Step Up For the Up Center event in downtown Norfolk.

“Step Up for the Up Center is a stair-climbing event, now a stadium climbing event that was previously held at the West In in Virginia Beach Town Center. When Covid hit we had to look at a more outdoor spacious venue,” said Up Center Marketing Manager Katie McCarthy.

McCarthy says the race is a mile long, that’s 3 laps up and down the stairs.

Kenneth Dahm was the first stair stepper to cross the finish line.

“I have not missed a single stair climb for the up center since its inception. I got it done in a little over 12 minutes,” said Dahm.

All that sweat is for a good cause.

“It supports all of our programs that are 100 percent community funded,” explained McCarthy.

The Up Center provides more than 20 critical support services for children and families in our community, including mental health counseling, parenting education and support, youth mentoring, foster care and adoption, housing and financial counseling, and services for people with disabilities.

“They do it all. From cradle to grave basically as I’m getting older I might have to use their services some day,” said Dahm.

Nearly 460 thousand dollars have been raised for the Up Center’s Family Promise Fund. 

Organizers hope to continue to grow the event for years to come.