Ohio State’s Pelotonia team is gliding toward the August race faster than it has in past years.
Team Buckeye for Pelotonia has raised about $111,900 of its $2.5 million goal so far, which is 102 percent ahead of what it had raised at this time last year. There are currently 44 pelotons – groups of five or more people – registered to ride with Team Buckeye, 10 of which are student peletons, said Karl Koon, director of development for Pelotonia at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center James Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“It’s still really early in the registration process at this point, but we are ahead of the game and we want to continue to maintain that momentum and stay on the positive side,” Koon said.
Koon said the goal this year is to have 1,350 riders on Team Buckeye: 350 students and 1,000 non-student riders.
Pelotonia is an annual three-day bike ride based in Columbus to raise money for cancer research, which is set to take place Aug. 8 to 10 this year. Registration began in early January.
OSU’s team, Team Buckeye, competes each year and is comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni and others.
There were 2,462 riders registered in Pelotonia as a whole as of Tuesday, according to the Pelotonia website, with more than $646,000 raised so far.
Koon said there are several routes riders can choose from.
“There are six different rides to participate in, ranging from a minimum of 25 miles to a maximum of 180 miles and each ride has a unique fundraising level attached to it,” Koon said.
OSU students who are new Team Buckeye participants are required to pay $25 to register. Non-students are required to pay $100 for registration until July 9, when the fee is raised to $150.
The lowest minimum fundraising goal for students is $650 for a route and the highest minimum goal is set at $975. Non-students have a minimum fundraising goal of $1,200 for a route while the highest minimum goal is $2,220, depending on the route chosen. Those who want to participate but not ride can also contribute $10 to register as a virtual rider.
“The average student last year raised $1,038, which exceeded the maximum goal of $975, so those students who participated raised more money than they needed to on an average basis,” Koon said.
Koon said all of the money Team Buckeye raises for Pelotonia stays at OSU for cancer research.
Last year, 1,178 people rode on Team Buckeye. Only a small number of them failed to meet their minimum fundraising goals and were charged the amount they had not raised, Koon said.
“We’re talking six or seven people who actually were charged, and there are many ways that we as Team Buckeye support our riders to help make sure that they reach their financial goal,” Koon said.
About 6,700 people rode in Pelotonia last year, raising more than $11.2 million.
David Winterstein, a fourth-year in industrial and systems engineering and captain of Team Buckeye student riders, said this is his fifth year participating in Pelotonia.
“After I learned that one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life, I figured I should do something about it,” Winterstein said. “What kept me doing it was seeing the support from the Columbus community and how cool that OSU plays a huge part in that.”
Winterstein said he plans to ride a 180-mile route this year.
Katie Tomaszewski, a second-year in international development studies and the Team Buckeye partnerships chair, said she rides for her dad who died from colorectal cancer. She rode a 180-mile route last year and plans to ride a 100-mile route this fall.
“The money raised in Pelotonia goes to the James toward clinical trials and research and that’s where my dad was receiving treatment,” Tomaszewski said. “It’s one of the most impactful things you could do as a student to save lives.”