Muscles ache. Rear ends are sore. It’s harder to get up in the morning. The thought of eating one more banana or peanut butter sandwich makes some cyclists vow that once the week is over, they will never eat them again.
It’s day five of the Anchor House Ride for Runaways, and home is still more than 200 miles away. So close, yet still so far.
But the thought of all those muscle aches and pains disappeared Thursday night as the cyclists celebrated their achievements at the Ride for Runaways annual banquet, and found out they have raised $482,000 so far to support Anchor House, the Trenton-based shelter for runaway, abused and neglected children and teens in Trenton.
“Thank you for all your dedication to the kids,” Anchor House Foundation President John Murray told the riders and support crew. “All the years people have been coming back — it’s indicative of how dedicated you are to the kids. We appreciate your efforts.”
Cyclists and support crew members collect donations for the ride from friends, family, colleagues and area businesses. Donations will still keep coming in over the next few weeks. Each participant has an online donation page on the Ride for Runaways website.
More than 80 percent of the participants in the annual event are Ride for Runaways veterans. Cyclists were honored with five-year, 10-year, 15-year, 20-year, and 25-year participation awards. The two participants receiving 25-year awards were Debbie “Hutch” Hutchinson and Tom Csapo.
The cyclists pedaled 69.8 miles from Kingston, New York to Matamoras, Pa. on Thursday. Many got an early start to beat the rain.
Friday the cyclists will face the longest and toughest day of the ride yet, biking 84 miles to Bridgewater, New Jersey. The cyclists will climb 4,208 feet, with four steep climbs. Temperatures are expected to soar into the mid 90s.
On Saturday, the cyclists will arrive at the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence at 3 p.m. and pedal in to the center court for a welcome home celebration. The event is open to the public.
Photos by Jeanne Imbrigiotta.