Boyce set to cycle another 500-mile Anchor House ‘Ride for Runaways’

Joe Boyce waves after completing a previous year's 'Ride for Runaways.'

      Having completed the annual 500-mile Anchor House “Ride for Runaways” for 15 years, Joe Boyce had his pre-journey training schedule pretty much down to memory.

      And then, at the tender age of 63, along came the triathlon.

      Up until this past year or so, Boyce spent nearly all of his time either running or riding. Swimming was not on his radar.

      But one of his training partners, triathlete Natacha Smith, mentioned that because he was performing so well in competition on land, maybe he ought to stick his toe in the multi-sport water.

      Which he did. He found it to be a refreshing change of competition. And now the only complication is finding enough time off his bicycle during the Ride for Runaways buildup to satisfy running and swimming training needs for the triathlon.

      The Levittown native sounds determined to make this juggling act happen. He’ll find out if it all works when he begins his two-wheel, eight-day trek from Harrisonburg, Virginia to Lawrence Township, New Jersey on July 3.

      Make no mistake, there were some moments of doubt about whether he could pull this off.

      “I didn’t think I was going to do it this year,” he said with a smile. “I had a lot of traveling going on. . .I knew I was running really well, training for Broad Street. And I knew triathlon training would help, which is what I’m concentrating on now.

      “I didn’t want to lose my running and triathlon shape. But what really pushed me was the people that I biked with last year. Just the group of people that I biked with last year are phenomenal. I really wanted to do it with them again.”

      Boyce puts in a staggering 2,000 training miles of riding in and around Bucks County in the months leading up to the RFR event.

      Legal drafting and steady pacing are a big part of the ride, especially on windy days or when the course hits a hilly area. Trying to do 60-plus miles a day on your own can make things a lot tougher.

      Then there was the cause. Over the past decade and a half, Boyce has raised an estimated $100,000 or more for the Trenton, New Jersey facility. That’s not something you walk away from without having second thoughts.

      “It was hard for me to give up the money,” Boyce said. “Not to be able to give the donation – I got close to $12,000 last year – so it was really a difficult thing for me to say no. It’s the kids, the donations. It’s something I really want to contribute to.”

      The cause itself is what really keeps hundreds of these riders coming back year after year.

      “I think people really get behind the idea because they’re really motivated and inspired by helping other people,” Boyce said. “Especially kids, the homeless, abused kids. These are kids who run away from their homes because they can’t live there.

      “So I think people love the charity and seeing the kids there at the end at Quaker Bridge Mall. The kids make posters that they post on the yellow truck which is carrier for bags and our meeting place. They send letters and so forth. It really is inspiring.”

      This level of riders loves the challenge and some of those up-and-downs in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania will provide just that.

      “It’s a great course,” said Boyce, whose past journeys for RFR have included many of the highways and biways of the U.S. Northeast. “Some of the places are a little different this year – there are some parts of the course that are always the same – but there are some new stops this year.”

      There may be moments when Boyce could second-guess himself about taking on this venture again. But those will be fleeting.

      “It’s hard to give up when you know you’re helping those kids every year,” he said. “So to not do it, to not give $12,000, it’s not something I want to consider.”

      If you wish to donate to the cause, visit https://anchorhouseride.rallybound.org/classic/JoeBoyce?tab=MyPage

      >Keep your cool

      The first nasty heat wave is upon us and the worst of it could be Friday and Saturday when local temperatures are supposed to hit the high 90s.

      Needless to say, runners should take proper precautions, such as:

      >1. Run early in the morning or early evening to avoid the peak sun hours.

      >2. Start drinking extra water the night before so that you have a surplus in your system.

      >3. Light-colored, synthetic clothing, including a hat: Remember, dark colors absorb heat.

      >4. Plan a shaded course, like the Delaware Canal towpath. There are plenty of trees. Plus, it’s a softer surface, be it the Pennsylvania or New Jersey side.

      >5. Slow it down. No need to try for a personal record in these sorts of conditions.

      >6. Hit the basement treadmill. If you’re susceptible to very warm conditions, take the easy road and run a few days indoors.

      >7. Cross-training: A bike is much easier on the body in these tough conditions. Bring along a water bottle filled with ice.

      >8. Sun screen and lip balm. The sun will hit its zenith in a few days. Prepare accordingly.

      >9. Carry ID and tell someone where you’re going. Just in case.

      >10. IF that thermometer hits triple digits on Friday, try taking a day off. Your body will thank you.

      >Race calendar

      Saturday

      Run for Ukraine 5K, 9 a.m., Richboro. Contact www.runsignup.com

Avatar photo
About Wayne Fish 2473 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.