GAMBIER — Kenyon will gear up to welcome about 2,000 bicycle riders on Aug. 11, with many of the riders accompanied and cheered on by family and friends. About 700 riders will spend a night in north campus residential halls. Many of the riders are cancer survivors or have lost loved ones to the disease. As part of the partnership with Pelotonia, six Kenyon students will take advantage of medical-research internships this year at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Pelotonia is a nonprofit, Columbus-based organization that is fully-funded by corporate partners and generates money through donations to riders for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and the Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Riders raise money through sponsors and ride one of six routes, covering one or two days — this year Aug. 11-12. Pelotonia’s opening ceremony takes place in Columbus on Aug. 10. About 1,300 riders will conclude their ride in Gambier on Aug. 11. Another 700 will overnight in Gambier and make the return ride to Columbus on Aug. 12.
“We at Kenyon are both honored and pleased to partner with Pelotonia,” Kenyon President S. Georgia Nugent said. “We feel partnership between Pelotonia and Kenyon College is a terrific match. Both organizations aim for the highest standards of quality, have a remarkable track record of success, and seek to improve lives — through research, teaching and outreach in the community. It has been exciting to envision the mutual benefits of this association.
“The success Pelotonia has realized in a very brief period of time is extraordinary; we are proud to join with them to advance that success, in such an important cause.”
David R. Meuse, a member of the College Board of Trustees and principal of the Columbus-based Stonehenge Financial Holdings, has participated twice in Pelotonia and believes the event continues to improve. “This is one of the major events in the city of Columbus,” Meuse said. “It’s very exciting for Kenyon to be a part of a real success here. It’s been great for the cancer hospital.”
Dr. Michael A. Caligiuri, director of the comprehensive cancer center and chief executive officer of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, welcomed Kenyon to the cause. “The partnership and hospitality of President Nugent and the entire Kenyon family are truly inspiring and make it possible for thousands of riders to continue to raise money for cancer research,” Caligiuri said. “I look forward to riding into Gambier next August and spending time with Kenyon faculty, staff and students — the newest members of the Pelotonia family.”
Kenyon was selected as a possible destination as Pelotonia sought to explore new routes and aimed for the northeastern part of central Ohio. Pelotonia Executive Director Tom Lennox found an ideal partner in Kenyon. “After meeting with its representatives, it quickly became apparent that Kenyon was more than just a venue,” Lennox said. “Its attributes are far greater than just a pretty place or even a rigorous academic environment. Kenyon’s ultimate strength is its ability to offer these attributes in a diverse, nurturing and kind environment with an intent to develop great minds and people.”
Kenyon can expect to see riders roll in as early as noon on Aug. 11 and continue into the evening. The lawn area across from the Kenyon Athletic Center will be fenced to admit only Pelotonia riders and their families to a stage area with live entertainment, food, and vendors’ booths.
“It’s a huge event,” said Fred Linger, manager of business services. “A lot of emotion is involved, when you see these (cancer) survivors show up with their signs.”
The exact route and stopping points are still in the planning stage, as Pelotonia shifts to Kenyon after previous rides to Ohio University. Linger was on hand for the event last year in Athens, and believes Kenyon can handle the challenge. “The first year will give us a lot to evaluate,” Linger said “It will be a different kind of August for us.” Pelotonia will cover Kenyon’s maintenance costs during the event.
Meuse predicted that Pelotonia riders will embrace the Kenyon experience. “It’s hard to find a more beautiful campus. It’s going to be exciting for the riders,” Meuse said, “just walking around and feeling the presence of people who have been at Kenyon and have made contributions to the world.
“And it’s nice to support the tremendous research at that hospital, the cutting-edge of cancer research.”
To learn more about Pelotonia and to register for the race, visit pelotonia.org.