We’re all invited to join dozens of retired and active members of the US Military this Sunday, including wounded veterans, four-star generals and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, as they run and ride their bikes in the first annual Barrington Honor Ride and Run. The event offers participants three choices, a 30 mile bike ride, 10k or 5k run. It starts with a race, ends with a concert and comes with the opportunity to shake hands and share the course with men and women who have fought to defend our country.
Earlier this year, a group of Barrington residents reached out to Ride 2 Recovery, a non-profit organization that plans races like these throughout the country. Ride 2 Recovery’s mission is to benefit mental and physical rehabilitation initiatives for the country’s wounded veterans through a series of cycling programs. They coordinated with the Barrington villages along with Operation Homefront, another non-profit group committed to serving the military, and planned this weekend’s event in just over two months. Today I asked one of the organizers, who is flying in from California to be here, how these rides help ….
The head of Ride 2 Recovery’s Cyclefest Program, Danny Lupold, says each year the organization plans a series of one-day rides, like the one coming up in Barrington, along with 7 and 8 day bike rides. They reach out to members of the military who are no longer in active duty, but may be in need of help. “What happens is a lot of these soldiers will be in combat, with friends or troops in Afghanistan for example, and they’ll get injured, taken out of the environment and taken to a rehab facility. They’re immobile, they’re away from family and friends and a lot of times they get very depressed, suicidal, hooked on meds and disconnected from everything. Part of our program is to help them get reconnected with their communities and other soldiers dealing with similar situations.”
Lupold says the rides are also a way to show members of the military that their sacrifices are appreciated. “What you’ll see during the ride is one of these injured veterans talking with a Vietnam veteran or somebody who is active military and you’ll see civilians riding along, chit chatting and learning a little bit more about these people. It gives communities a social way to get to know and thank veterans locally and from across the country.”
Medal of Honor Recipient, Sal Giunta, will be also be joining this weekend’s Honor Ride & Run.
Sal is a former staff sergeant in the United States Army. He was the first living person to receive the United States Armed Forces’ highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor, for actions that occurred after the Vietnam War. Giunta was cited for saving the lives of members of his squad on October 25, 2007 during the War in Afghanistan. On March 7, 2011, he announced plans to leave the Army in June 2011 to attend school. You can read more about Sal by clicking HERE and you can connect with him on Facebook by clicking HERE. But if you’d like to meet him, face to face, plan on coming out for the ride and run this weekend. If you can’t make it at the start, there’s a a party at the finish so here are the details.
You can register the day-of the races, from 10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. on Sunday, October 23rd. The cost is $40 to participate in any race and includes a t-shirt for the event and admission to the after-party. Admission for wounded veterans is free or half-price for active and inactive members of the military. Registration and staging will be at Barrington’s Metra Station on the north side of the tracks. The ride and races begin at noon and will have a dramatic start from the Veteran’s memorial in the center of town at Barrington’s Main and Cook Streets. The course for runners weaves through the streets and paths of Barrington’s neighborhoods and parks and you’ll find the route for the 30 mile bike ride by clicking HERE. The courses are designed for all ages and fitness levels, and fall’s colorful changing leaves will be in full bloom so the air should be brisk and the view spectacular. And as organizer, Danny Lupold puts it, “It’s not a race, it’s a ride” so you can pick your pace and enjoy the scenery.
The finale is a party at Wool Street Grill and Sports Bar at 128 Wool Street in Barrington where the band 7th Heaven will be performing LIVE in concert right at 2 p.m. Danny says they expect up to 600 race participants and 1,000 more people to show up for the 7th Heaven concert. If you can only make it for the concert, the cost is $15. It’ll be an all-star after party and, for a taste, here’s one of their hit songs Sing.