Hundreds of people will hit the ground running – and walking – at Leadbetter Beach tomorrow to support AIDS education and treatment in Santa Barbara County.

The 13th annual Santa Barbara Heart & Sole AIDS Walk/Run is expected to attract hundreds of participants, organizers say. The event is organized by Pacific Pride Foundation’s AIDS Project Central Coast, an agency that provides a variety of services to people in Santa Barbara County whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS. All proceeds from the event go directly to the APCC.

The Walk/Run has been successful in the past and organizers are optimistic about this year. Pacific Pride Foundation’s volunteer coordinator JB Bowlin said he hopes to have between 800-1,000 participants and raise over $100,000 this year.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community, whether they walk or volunteer,” Bowlin said.

The event consists of a 10-kilometer walk and run along the beach and will also feature several booths with information about HIV and AIDS. The Walk/Run will begin at 9 a.m., and at the end of the course there will be a beachside celebration featuring snacks, massages, live music and an awards ceremony.

The APCC offers HIV education and prevention services as well as direct client services that provide transportation, housing assistance, legal services and other benefits to those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The agency was founded in 1984 and has offices in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

Roughly 42 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year in the United States, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Half of these new infections in the U.S. afflict people under the age of 25.

Longtime Santa Barbara resident Simon Taylor-Cox has participated in the Walk/Run since its inception in 1990.

“It’s very close to my heart; I’ve lost quite a few friends to AIDS,” Taylor-Cox said. “I feel passionate because there’s no cure. Until there’s a cure that’s found I think it’s a really good cause.”

More information about the walk can be found online at