Kenyon President Sean M. Decatur will join more than 6,000 bicyclists in Pelotonia’s fifth-annual ride to raise money for cancer research.
Pelotonia, a nonprofit organization based in Columbus, Ohio, channels every cent of donated money to the funding of cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Pelotonia partnership with Kenyon makes the campus the overnight destination for many of the riders for the second consecutive year and also provides Kenyon students with a summer research internships at the Ohio State University.
“We’re thrilled to be heading back to Kenyon,” Pelotonia Chief Executive Officer Tom Lennox said. In the spring, Kenyon and Pelotonia agreed to continue the relationship through 2015. “Not only is the ride to Kenyon beautiful,” Lennox said, “but once we get there we’re spoiled by the kindness and generosity of the Kenyon family.”
Riders, who draw donations by soliciting sponsors, have a range of distance options, including 25, 50, 75, and 100 miles on Saturday, August 10, and 155 and 180 miles for riders who stay overnight at Kenyon and continue the second portion of their ride on Sunday, August 11. Many riders will still finish at the Kenyon Athletic Center, but this year’s route won’t be exactly the same as the 2012 version. The route this year passes through Granville and sticks to roads instead of jumping on the Kokosing Gap Trail bike path.
Decatur will test his fitness with a 75-mile ride. “I am proud that our community is hosting … an event that brings together volunteers from around the region – and around the world – to raise funds for cancer research while also engaging in an activity that encourages health and wellness,” Decatur said.
Kenyon’s food-service provider, AVI Foodsystems, will cater the weekend, starting with the opening ceremony in downtown Columbus that will draw about 14,000 people on Friday, August 9, and concluding with meals on campus on August 10 and August 11. AVI Resident Director Damon Remillard isn’t fazed. “I’m honored to be in charge of it,” Remillard said. “We had a very successful event last year.”
Pelotonia is a little less than $4 million away from its goal of pulling in $50 million in five years. “It was by no means a $50 million-and-done kind of thing,” said Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman, who is in charge of Kenyon’s peloton or team. “I’m sure they’re already planning and rethinking what the next goal is going to be.”
Kohlman rode in the event last year for the first time and this year has added motivation. “Last year I was just excited for the opportunity for Kenyon to be a part of it,” he said. His wife, Professor of Sociology Marla Kohlman, was diagnosed with cancer last year, he said. “She’s being treated at OSU, so this year it’s more about her … and supporting the organization in any way I can because we’ve gotten such great support from OSU and from the Pelotonia people.” Many other Knox County residents also make the trip to OSU for treatment. “It’s good to support those efforts, to keep that a viable option for those of us in the community,” Kohlman said.
Pelotonia is still in need of volunteers, particularly in Knox County. To learn more about Pelotonia and about volunteering, please visit www.pelotonia.org.
Watch Pelotonia Chief Executive Officer Tom Lennox talk about his vision for cancer research and how riding plays a pivotal role at last year’s TEDx Kenyon College.
By Madeleine Thompson ’15