Pedal for the Planet brings students, community to Presque Isle

While some Mercyhurst students still slept in their beds on Saturday, others were lined up at Presque Isle waiting for the beginning of the Pedal for the Planet Duathlon.

The duathlon began at 9 a.m. near Beach 11 at Presque Isle. The race included a 5K run followed by a 20K bike and then another 5K run. It lasted for several hours as individual racers or teams of two or three performed each leg of the race.

A group of Mercyhurst students organized the event. Sophomore Hannah Beck and senior Emily Monahan came up with the idea earlier this year.

“I used to do triathlons, and I thought it’d be great to bring it here. I met up with Hannah and the green team, and then we met up with community members,” Monahan said.

The profits from the event were donated to an Erie Art Museum project to put bike racks made from recycled materials around Erie. The increase in places to safely place bikes could help encourage residents to exercise as well as to get around using something other than vehicle transportation.

“We had about 100 people that registered before the race, and then about 50 more showed up the day of the race,” Beck said. “We figured, the more the merrier.”

The event was not easy to organize.

“It was very stressful at times, and there were times when school work ended up being put second to the duathlon. It was all worth it though. Everyone came up to me afterwards to tell me how great it was,” Beck said.

Larae Tymochko was one of the community members that raced at Presque Isle on Saturday. “I did it with two of my friends. It was a lot of fun. I did some training, and I’m always at the gym. It was a good way to support a good cause,” Tymochko said.

Monahan was happy to be able to do something to help the Erie community.

“We run, we breathe the air, we drink the water so we’re all connected in some way,” Monahan said.

Plans for a duathlon next year are already being discussed, and both Monahan and Beck are excited to be a part of it again.