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May 31, 2007

Social Security sponsors Ride Across Belize

Story PictureCycling is among the most popular competitive sports in Belize, but as Janelle Chanona reports, the riders in this next story are peddling for neither fame nor fortune.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Around eleven-thirty this morning more than fifty cyclists rode into the Social Security Board compound after completing the eighty mile journey from Corozal to Belize City.

Chandra Cansino, Organiser/Rider
“We were very, very happy this morning because we had the highest beginning registration. We had about forty-eight people starting at Corozal; we had a group that joined us at Orange Walk and all along the way.”

The trip was day one of S.S.B.’s fourth annual Ride Across Belize. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit the women’s shelter Haven House and Helpage Dangriga. Participants solicit sponsorship and Social Security matches the funds raised. But the event is no walk in the park as the cyclists have to do their best to ride from Corozal all the way to Punta Gorda on bikes fuelled only by adrenaline and determination.

Janelle Chanona
“When things get tough out there what do you tell yourself to keep going?”

Chandra Cansino
“Huh! That it’s almost over, you have two more miles to go, you try to look at the mileposts and the guys out there are really, really motivating, they are really, really helpful. I mean when you have a crowd like that, it’s the crowd motivation that gets you going and the cause, don’t forget the cause.”

Sidney Turton, Rider
“It’s something I wanted to do, it’s a good cause, the donations are always good, and to show the support for the ride and for the cause.”

Janelle Chanona
“This is not a race, but it is tough. How do you keep yourself rolling on the road?”

Sidney Turton
“Riding every morning. You train and train and everything you will get to that goal that you can make the ride.”

Janelle Chanona
“How when the muscles start to burn?”

Sidney Turton
“Well that’s when you raise your hand and call the vehicle in and she, bring in the in the cavalries.”

Gina Lovell, Rider
“It’s just for the cause. I like to support because for the Female Cross Country, a lot of people come out to support so why not support something else.”

Janelle Chanona
“Are you out there helping some of the more amateur riders?”

Gina Lovell
“Exactly, motivate them, tell them they can do it and just push them.”

The youngest participant in this year’s ride is fifteen year old Amed Figueroa.

Amed Figueroa, Youngest Rider
“It was good but hard in the bike for three hours or more. It gets you tired and you want to get off the bike.”

Janelle Chanona
“Your fifteen years old, why decide the take the time out and do this?”

Amed Figueroa
“Well cause I like the sport and it’s for a good cause.”

Janelle Chanona
“What dah the plan fu tonight? Put you foot up and get a massage?”

Amed Figueroa
“Yeah, go sleep as I reach me house.”

Amed’s uncle, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, is just one of the S.S.B. staff members who have pedalled across Belize for the last four years.

Dr. Ramon Figueroa, Organiser/Rider
“It feels good to work for something positive in this country.”

And if you can’t donate sweat equity to the fundraising ride, the event has alternatives.

Ramon Figueroa
“They can participate in two ways, one by being part of the ride, it’s fun, enjoyable and second way that people can participate is by contributing to the causes. We have a bank account that we are advertising on the radio and on TV and people can contribute anything. All that money is going to be put towards two beneficiaries this year.”

The Ride Across Belize Account is with the Belize Bank, number 20012449. The monies for Haven House and Helpage Dangriga have been slated for infrastructural projects. Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

Day two of the Ride Across Belize will take cyclists from Belize City to Benque Viejo. On Saturday they’ll go from Benque to Dangriga, and finally, Dangriga to Punta Gorda on Sunday.

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