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Hike/Bike/Run exceeds $112,000 in pledges

VALLEY — The 2018 Hike/Bike/Run fundraiser for Valley Haven School once again topped the $100,000 mark on Saturday. All the pledges have yet to be counted, but by late Saturday afternoon the total had exceeded $112,000.

What’s been raised locally will be matched with state and federal funding on a 4-t0-1 ratio.

Saturday’s weather was almost perfect. It was a cloudless sunshiny day with a cool morning breeze that felt good to the hikers, bikers and runners.

There were more than 30 runners in this year’s 5k and 10.5k runs, and there was a larger group of bike riders than last year. Among the bicyclists was 71-year-old Ronald Bolton of Valley. Going 22 miles on a bike is pretty much an everyday thing for him. He rode for more than 4,600 miles last year and has a goal of 5.500 this year. “I love to go bicycle riding,” he said. “It keeps me away from the doctor.”

Perhaps the happiest person competing in Saturday’s event was 16-year-old Mary Claire Kinsman of Smiths Station. She’s been afflicted with cerebral palsy since she was an infant, but can enjoy being in Hike/Bike/Run events thanks to the support she receives through myTEAM TRIUMPH. Danny Lockhart was her hero for the day. He pushed her in a specially-designed racing chair in the 5k race and then pulled her along the 22-mile bicycle course on his bike. Mary Claire was all smiles at the end of each race. At the end of the 5k race, she got out of her chair near the finish line and walked across the line, smiling from ear to ear.

Mercer University medical students started the Columbus chapter of myTEAM TRIUMPH-Georgia.org.

Through myTEAM TRIUMPH, participants with disabilities captain a team of “angels,” who guide them through an entire race, ensuring that they have that moment of glory by crossing a finish line so many of us take for granted.

myTEAM TRIUMPH is a 501(c) 3 non-profit athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience events such as triathlons and road races.

Another unusual entry in Saturday’s Hike/Bike/Run biking event was a bicycle built for two. It was ridden by Rev. Kent and Kathleen Pelton of Lanett. “We’ve been doing this for 25 years,” Rev. Pelton said, adding a bit jokingly that “It keeps us together.”

Rev. Pelton is the minister at the Lanett Church of the Nazarene. They were long-time missionaries before coming to Lanett. They were in Thailand between 2000 and 2016, and they rode their tandem bike there.