Since 2008, thousands of riders have come together each year for a bike race known as the Pelotonia with one goal in mind: ending cancer.
Jennifer Danner, a Jonathan Alder High School teacher and mother of two, is one of those riders.
The bike ride raises funds for the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus. In its first seven rides, the event raised more than $106 million for cancer research.
“Every single penny (raised),” goes to that research, Danner said this week.
This year, the Pelotonia will be held Friday, Aug. 5, Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7. It will be Danner’s second ride.
Danner said she was inspired to participate in the Pelotonia by her friend Shannon Rece — a two-time cancer survivor who previously participated in the ride.
Last year, when Rece did not have someone to ride with her, Danner volunteered to be her partner.
“Before I realized what I’d done, I said, ‘I’ll ride with you,’” Danner said, adding that it was not until later that she thought about all that would go into completing the Pelotonia.
She said she had not been on a bike in about 20 years, and that her training for the ride was “a long road, but a fun road.”
“The first thing I had to do was get a working bike,” Danner said. After that, she and Rece practiced on the many trails around central Ohio. They began with shorter distances. From there, Danner said, “(We) work(ed) up until we were prepared.”
Another part of preparation is fundraising. Danner said that donations can be made at www.pelotonia.org. Donations can be made to the Pelotonia in general or to a specific rider. Information on volunteering can also be found on the website.
On the day of the ride, Danner said the best part is seeing the cancer survivors, who line the raceway, hold up signs, and share their stories.
Permeating the event, she added, is “the passion everyone has to make this go away, to get rid of cancer.
“It is one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine not being a part of it.”