Santa Monica locals Eric Luoma and Ryan Clifford will be participating in the 38th annual Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) in Massachusetts to raise money for cancer research on August 5 and 6.
The PMC is the largest fundraiser of its type in the country. This year’s goal is to raise $48 million dollars for the Dana-Farber Institute. A total of 81 Californians will be participating in the bike-a-thon with 12 different routes to choose from and up to 192 miles depending on the route.
Many of the returning participants are surviving cancer patients or participate in memoriam of their lost loved ones.
“This is the largest a thon in the country – in the world raising money for anything as a single event and it’s a unique culture, very strong loyalty. 77% of the people are alumni riders and of those people their average years of riding is 8. That’s remarkable, it just doesn’t exist in other events or cultures.” says Founder and Executive Director of the PMC, Billy Starr.
Growing up as a Massachusetts native, Luoma recalls the excitement for the yearly fundraiser . “I’m from just south of Boston and have known about the PMC for as long as I’ve been alive and it’s a really big deal and it’s a really important thing and fundraising mechanism that people are very excited about every single year the first week of August,” he said. “You know I’ve always wanted to do it, and it got to the point where me and a few friends decided ‘hey lets take the plunge let’s train for this and let’s go raise some money for a great cause.’”
Now, as a Santa Monica resident and despite his busy schedule, Luoma describes the influence of the local cycling community has had on him in terms of participating in this bike-a-thon.
“I think it’s the cycling community here in Santa Monica is much stronger here than it is back in Boston I think mainly due to the fact that the weather here is a lot better you don’t have to deal with the snow and all that,” he said. “But you know with a crazy work schedule and also a few other things, I haven’t been able to get that much [training] but you know going up to Malibu and riding up the mountains and riding in Mandeville Canyon is a lot of fun to do after work, a weekday night, or weekend morning.”
Luoma encourages other local cyclists to participate in future PMC marathons and raise money for a great cause in a fun, active way.
“There’s a lot of fantastic cyclists that are here in California that are looking to ride and this is a really cool race in which you basically have middle of New England roads blocked off that you ride through and some of the best countryside you can imagine through Cape Cod,” he said. “So you know if people are interested and if any cyclists are interested in, it’s a good charitable cause. If you want to have a really fun time then I would encourage you to try to make the trip across the country.”
For more information about the PMC or to make a donation visit http://www.pmc.org/