Fate keeps throwing these roadblocks every so often at Joe Boyce and his quest to complete the annual 500-mile “Ride for Runaways,’’ but this year he’s not about to be stopped.
There was that horrific crash in Winchester, Va. back in 2010 which left him in a wheelchair for two months. Mission not accomplished.
Then along came 2020 and the pandemic. Ride canceled.
But wait! Thanks to a little creativity and the magic of virtual riding, the 59-year-old Levittown native plans to complete his own five-century ride through the hills of Bucks County and western New Jersey in one week to continue to raise money for the good cause, namely Anchor House, a home for at-risk youth.
Boyce has been part of a dedicated group of about 150 cyclists which has raised approximately $5 million over the past decade.
“We keep coming back for many reasons: The love of riding, the camaraderie of Anchor House riders and support people, and most importantly the opportunity to help kids who really need it,’’ Boyce said.
“This year’s ride will be different. I’ll enjoy the riding in my own backyard here in Bucks County and over the bridge in New Jersey, but I’ll miss the Anchor House team, all the fun we have in our travels, the SAG stops of food and water where you joke around with people and discuss the peaks and valleys, and the mini-motivations each day biking with over 150 riders.
“But at the end of the day, the goal remains the same. It’s all about the kids. The kids need our help and our fundraising efforts.
This year’s ride motto is: Every mile counts. Every dollar counts. Every kid counts.’’
Normally, the route for the Ride for Runaways encompasses states such as New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and, of course, Pennsylvania.
The terrain in these parts (Bucks County) might be a tad easier but 70 miles a day is 70 miles a day. Safe to say, these rides are labors of love and that’s why Boyce chose this alternative. He will start on Saturday, July 11 and finish on July 18.
Want to help the cause? Here’s how:
The link to Joe’s donation page is https://anchorhouseride.rallybound.org/JoeBoyce. Or make payable a check to Anchor House Foundation and mail to Joe Boyce, 74 Juniper Drive, Levittown, Pa. 19056.
As Boyce puts it, the mission remains: Shelter, feed, and educate homeless, abused, and forgotten children.
“The Anchor House Ride is the main source of revenue for the foundation,’’ he said. “I ride for the kids. You give to the kids.
This is a tough year, understandably. Please give if you’re able.’’
>McCloskey looks to bring back live racing
While many races have fallen by the wayside for the remainder of 2020, local race entrepreneur Pat McCloskey continues to hold out hope he can conduct a live race or two this fall.
According to McCloskey, the Delaware Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has given the green light for races to be held, so long as the field is less than 220 entrants (plus 30 support staffers).
So the Chasing the Unicorn Marathon and Alternative Half Marathon, scheduled for Sept. 13, is now a go. Registration is open at runBUCKS.com.
Also, November’s 10th annual Bucks County Marathon is set to reopen soon but that, says McCloskey, is not official yet.
If things should start to take a left turn because of the pandemic, McCloskey plans to be ready.
“We’re going to offer a two-year credit,’’ McCloskey said in a phone conversation. “It’s the nature of the beast for the industry, basically that your entry fee pays for the expenses as we go along the way.’’
With Boston (which was rescheduled from April, then canceled) and New York gone, along with so many mid-size 26.2-milers, you would be hard pressed to find one marathon, let alone two, operating this fall.
“We position ourselves as the not ‘big city’ race,’’ McCloskey said. “The original slogan was ‘size matters.’ Trying to give people as much personal attention as we could.’’
Going along with social distancing guidelines, entrants are requested not to bring family members, friends, etc. to watch, similar to what professional sports are doing right now.
There are still about 70 spots left for the Sept. 13 events.
“Hopefully we’re getting closer to the ‘next normal’, not the ‘new normal,’+” McCloskey said.
>Bucks 5K Series update
The popular Bucks 5K Series was all set to celebrate its 25th anniversary when the pandemic hit. So the big party will have to wait until next year.
In the meantime, runners showed their generosity, with 60 percent of pre-registered striders either donating their entry fee or rolling it over to next year.
Therefore, the Series was able to make donations to its non-profit organizations. Since 2002, $1.83 million has been generated for worthy causes.
The list of beneficiaries includes:
>Plumsteadville Fire Company,
>Bucks County Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired,
>Doylestown Health’s Friends of the Heart Institute,
>YMCA of Bucks County for Operation Compassion to meet the emergency and basic needs of our community,
>Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Elementary School,
>Chalfont’s Parks and Trails,
Look for more information about the Series races at the end of 2020. Visit the website www.bucks5Kseries.
We’re off next week for vacation. Column returns in two weeks. Have a safe and happy July 4th holiday!