The Ride Across Belize started its ninth annual ride this morning at 7:00 in Corozal Town in front of the Social Security Office.
80 plus miles later - the first leg of the four day event ended five hours later in Belize City - again at the social Security Office.
It was an easy ride for some and a mighty struggle for other - but all for a good cause.
We found out more from the organizer:
Chandra Cansino - Organizer/Participant, Ride Across Belize
"This year we know that the big issue in the news is crime, and we try to align ourselves with what is happening in the country of Belize. So this year, we decided to ride for 2 organizations that are trying to assist with that problem. There is no shortage of nay-sayers and critics, but we decided that perhaps, the way to address it right now - because everybody wants to improve the situation - is to help an organization that is already making the effort themselves. So, we chose Crimestoppers and Belize Emergency Child Response."
Janelle Chanona - Participant/Crimestoppers
"Every year, there is a worthy cause that motivates a lot of us to do this event, and this year was no different. One of the charities being supported is an association which I work with, Crimestoppers Belize, so that was extra fuel for me on the road this year. But certainly the Belize Missing Child Response team, I think that is an initative that definitely requires everybody's support."
"It's not only about the ride, Jules. It's about the awareness of the different causes that we support. So, our ride, going from one point to the other, is also spreading awareness of the different causes. And this year, again, as with every year, we have people that practice to do the ride across Belize, and that encourages exercise and good eating habits. And so, that's the area where we address the healthy lifestyles."
Jerome Flores - Participant
"I've always wanted to ride, and I love supporting things like this. I've been training for a month and a half, so I said that I would just join in with the guys from Orange Walk. Everyone was asking me if I would ride the whole way. I told them that I was sure I would. As usual, when I made up my mind, I had that strong courage to finish. It was very good, but getting into town, the guys picked up a pace, and then there was the heat, so I was getting cramps. But, I feel much better right now, relaxing in the shade."
"Mrs. Finnegan, you made it."
Dianne Finnegan- Participant
"I did it. Between the guidance of the Father, and of course, young people, who I have to constantly 'big up' because if it wasn't for Wasani, I wouldn't have made it this far. I had a fall earlier in Orange Walk as we were leaving Orange Walk. So, my hands and knees are kind of torn up, but every single thing that I've said to my youths about the temptations, the obstacles, about falling and rising, I've experienced it on this ride."
"I swear, sometimes I tell people that you don't even realize how many miles are going by because everybody is telling stories, making you laugh, teasing each other. And, at the same time, if anybody runs out of water, everybody helps out. And if somebody has trouble, you're pushing them along the road. So, definitely, there is a lot of camaraderie."
"I did it at 51, which I just completed yesterday. I feel like this is the greatest achievement I've ever made."
The second stage is tomorrow from the city to San Ignacio, then on Friday from Cayo to Dangriga and then on Saturday from Dangriga to Placencia.
The Ride raises money through the branch offices which send out letters to ask for funds and also hold fundraisers. You can contribute by going to Scotiaibank and making your contribution to the Ride Across Belize account.