If there was ever any question as to whether a skateboard could be used for more than just shredding, local punk rocker John Eppard (better known as John the Baker) has the answer. In 2009, the stalwart skater — no stranger to traveling long distances by bike and board — started Skate Til U Die, an annual three-day skateboard trek from Richmond to San Jose to raise funds for various good causes. Each May, brave participants in the four-wheeled fundraiser propel themselves, largely by way of the Bay Trail, across some twelve cities and sixty miles, ending each night with a punk show and much-deserved rest. Sixty skaters attempted — and sixteen completed — this year's event, raising approximately $2,500 for MusiCares, a nonprofit that helps musicians in times of need. Skate Til U Die is no doubt one of the most hard-won and offbeat athletic fundraisers in the East Bay, and participants can take comfort in knowing that not only are they raising much-needed money for nonprofits, but if exhaustion overtakes them on their arduous adventure there's no shame in hopping on a BART train to give their tired feet a rest.
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