Because of the potential spread of the coronavirus, the American Lung Association in Augusta has announced the 37th annual Trek Across Maine fundraising bike ride scheduled for June 18-20 will be held virtually. Effective immediately, participants around the world will be able to register, track their own progress and complete their mileage goals for Trek Across Maine by cycling 60, 120 or 180 miles at their own pace before June 30. Since 1985, the event has raised more than $29.5 million for lung health. This year, money from the event will go toward the American Lung Association’s efforts to end the coronavirus and other lung diseases.

“This was a really hard decision for us, but we feel it is the right thing to do. Based on the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and local government officials, we want to avoid creating large gatherings of people, which is a natural part of our fun and exciting cycling fundraiser. Our top priority is to protect the health of our participants, volunteers and staff. We are grateful for the many people who have already registered for the event. Together, our goal is to build on the momentum we have seen from our participants and supporters across the globe to help create a world in which we work together to improve lung health and end all lung disease, including COVID-19. Unlike last year, we’ve had a lot more time to plan for a virtual event and have created tons of fun ways for people to participate virtually. People will be able to enjoy a lot of exciting challenges, giveaways and surprises,” said Kim Chamard, senior manager of development for the Trek Across Maine, according to a news release from the association.

The 37th annual Trek Across Maine was originally scheduled for Father’s Day Weekend, June 18-20, as a three-day event for riders ages 7 and older, departing from Brunswick Landing in Brunswick. Organizers have developed new ways for people to participate virtually now through June 30, including using the association’s new app.

New for this year, trekkers can download the new Cycle for Air app or join the Trek Strava Club to ride virtually with friends. There will also be recommended ride routes, scavenger hunts, Trek Bingo and weekly giveaways on the trek website and social media pages. The yrek is also introducing a video series with healthy recipes related to classic Trek traditions.

Participants can track their miles using activity trackers (Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin devices, etc.). and share their personal achievements and fundraising efforts on social media. Trekkers, volunteers or the public can make a donation to the event to support a participant and raise funds for coronavirus research and other lung disease research. To make a donation to the event and support the work of the American Lung Association go to http://bit.ly/2021Trek.

Registration for the event is $25. Based on the current economic conditions around the world, the trek has reduced the fundraising minimum to $250. All registrants who raise $250 by June 30 will receive a 2021 Trek Across Maine event T-shirt, medal and sticker. Registrants who raise more than $750 will also receive an official Trek Across Maine cycling jersey.

Last year, more than 1,200 cyclists from across the country registered for the Trek Across Maine. The event raised $550,000 for health education, advocacy and lung research. The Trek Across Maine is the largest fundraiser in the country for the American Lung Association. Funds from the event will support programs such as research to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

The event supports the American Lung Association’s $25 million initiative to end the coronavirus and defend against future respiratory virus pandemics. The initiative includes allocating funds to provide free lung health education and masks to those in need. Advocacy efforts will focus on addressing racial health disparities and ensuring all Americans have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

“We recognize the coronavirus has impacted so many people in so many ways. Our staff is always inspired by the people who ride in memory of a friend or family member. Cycling and raising money for research to end lung diseases and lung-related viruses like COVID-19 is something we want to empower people to do. People stepped up big time last year. In 2021, we are confident the virtual event will be an incredible and rewarding experience for everyone involved,” said Jeff Seyler, chief division officer, Eastern Division, for the American Lung Association, according to the release.

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