More than 200 injured veterans and their supporters will set off Monday, May 27, on the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge, a seven-day, 325-mile bicycle ride from Arlington to Virginia Beach.
The veterans have trained for this ride as a means to build strength and conditioning, and also help overcome the emotional challenges many veterans face when returning home from service.
Memorial Challenge cyclists will start their journey at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, 1800 Jefferson Davis Parkway, and ride south through eastern Virginia with overnight stops in Manassas, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Williamsburg and Norfolk. The ride will conclude in Virginia Beach on Saturday, June 1. To see daily stops and events along the route, or to sign up for the Memorial Challenge, click here for the online ride guide.
On Sunday, June 2, the one-day Honor Ride Virginia Beach will start and finish at the Cavalier Hotel. The general public can join the injured veterans from the Memorial Challenge to ride one of three distances – 23, 37 or 72 miles in this self-paced, noncompetitive ride.
The public is encouraged to gather along the daily ride routes or at the hotels to support the cyclists at any juncture along the route.
Ride 2 Recovery supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for injured veterans, featuring cycling as the core activity. From indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery helps injured veterans heal through the challenge of cycling long distances using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.
"We're honored to support the men and women who have proudly served our country with important programs like the Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge," said James P. Cronin Jr., president & CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual of the Mid-Atlantic. "Exercise and rehabilitation are key to helping injured veterans return to the health and well-being they so richly deserve."
This is the fourth year UnitedHealthcare is serving as Ride 2 Recovery's presenting sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to help America's injured veterans.
"The UnitedHealthcare Challenge Series offers our healing heroes involved in the Project HERO program a way to get back in the game of life," said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery. "We have established 37 Project HERO program locations on military installations and at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Participants are evaluated and coached by the R2R staff to rebuild strength and conditioning, while concurrently healing the effects of PTS (post traumatic stress), traumatic brain injuries and depression. Cycling is a powerful therapeutic exercise that they can do alone or in groups for the rest of their lives."
Ride 2 Recovery, a 501(c) 3, helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through individual and group cycling. Cycling has proven to be a catalyst in the recovery process by providing a new physical challenge while concurrently helping to cope with the psychological challenges.
Ride 2 Recovery has established Project HERO programs at 34 military installations and three VA sites. Through these on-site programs, R2R partners with the facility staff and cadre to create personalized and progressive programs to fit the needs of the individual patients and promote a fuller, quicker rehabilitation.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.