The sound of bicycle bells, cheering and the swoosh of air will ring through local neighborhoods this weekend in support of cancer research. Over 500 cyclists decked out in orange will zip through Covington, Maple Valley and Renton on Saturday, Aug. 10. as a part of the 2019 Fred Hutch Obliteride.
The seven-year-long tradition starts at the University of Washington Seattle campus and routes cyclists through 100 miles of riding to help raise money to find a cure for cancer by 2025.
“These cyclists include some survivors, but everyone has been affected by cancer in some form,” Obliteride Spokesperson Kerri Kazarba said.
The 100-mile route goes from north Seattle down to Renton, south to Soos Creek Park near Kent, east to Tiger Mountain State Forest up and around Lake Sammamish and then back north to Seattle. Cyclists can also choose to ride a 25 or 50-mile route. Obliteride also includes a 5K Fun Run at UW’s Seattle campus.
“This is a fun and meaningful event,” Kazarba said. “It’s also a celebration and a way for people to connect.”
While 500 riders have signed up for the longest route, there are 2,500 total participants for this year’s event.
It starts with a party at Gasworks on Friday night, Aug. 9, to help encourage riders before they begin their trek. During the day on Saturday the event will have activities, live music and more. The indie rock band Rainbow Kitten Surprise will headline later Saturday evening.
“A lot of survivors come out for the kick off party,” Kazarba said. “Obliteride has raised over $16 million in seven years for cancer research. And those funds have an immediate impact.”
Obliteride raises money for Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center. The center announced a goal to find a cure for cancer by 2025, which is why every dollar spent or raised by Obliteride participants goes to the research, not to the event itself. Kazarba said the event has generous sponsors who make sure none of the funds raised is used for planning or staffing.
Fred Hutch does more than cancer research. A large conglomeration of science researchers work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. In the 40 years since Fred Hutch first began its research, its scientists have studied blood and stem cell transplantation; immunotherapy; cancer risk factors, causes, preventions and outcomes; vaccine development and virus-associated cancers; molecular underpinnings of cancer; and tumor-specific translational research.
“Everyone has a story about someone they know or a personal story about cancer,” Kazarba said. “This can be an emotional event because its were we can connect about how cancer has affected out lives.”
Kazarba said those who can’t participate in the cycling or the 5K are encouraged to place signs and watch for and cheer on cyclists in their neighborhood.
“They are working hard to raise money,” Kazarba said. “Cars will need to watch out for cyclists. We make safety our number one priority.”
Cyclists will come down south from 132nd Avenue Southeast before heading east on Southeast 240th Street. Riders will then head all the way past the Tahoma National Cemetery before heading back north on 196th Avenue Southeast before heading southeast on State Route 169.
How Obliteride raises funds
•Participants can be part of a team or they can join up on their own.
•Each rider, walker, or runner commits to a fundraising goal and then receives support from friends, family, coworkers, and others to reach that goal.
•In 2018, 2,288 participants on 198 teams raised $2,588,675.
•The untimed walk/run is 5 kilometers long.
•Bicycle riders can choose a route: 25, 50, or 100 miles.
•Before the event, Obliteriders get tons of support for training and fundraising from resources on the Fred Hutch website, in emails, at events and from the staff.
•On Obliteride weekend, participants are surrounded by amazing people, incredible food and entertainment, and an uplifting and inspiring atmosphere.
•Obliteride is more than the ride. There’s a big kickoff party on Friday night. The day of the event is filled with speakers, energy and support. An after-party is a great chance to reconnect and see how much was raised. And to keep the community informed throughout the year with updates and information
Where to join the fun
•Friday, Aug. 9 — The Kick Off Party beings at Gas Works Park. From 3 – 8 p.m. is registration and packet pickup. From 4 – 9:30 p.m. is the Kickoff Celebration.