Injured Veterans to Bicycle 350 Miles from Arlington to Virginia Beach, Va., for the 2014 UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge

May 26, 2014
  • Veterans to ride hand cycles, tandems and recumbents south through Virginia
  • Ride 2 Recovery provides cycling programs for America’s injured veterans
  • Communities encouraged to gather along the daily routes to support and cheer riders

More than 200 injured veterans and their supporters set off today on the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge, a week-long, 350-mile rehabilitative bicycle ride from Arlington to Virginia Beach, Va.

Memorial Challenge cyclists will start their journey at the Sheraton Pentagon City (900 South Orme St. in Arlington) and ride south through Virginia with overnight stops in Manassas, Fredericksburg, Glen Allen and Williamsburg. The ride will conclude in Virginia Beach Friday, May 30. On Saturday, May 31, Ride 2 Recovery will hold its first circuit race, the Liberty Tax Warrior Grand Prix at Fort Story in Virginia Beach. This will be a closed-course event allowing the injured veterans to race in a safe environment.

The USO will host the riders and supporters for dinner and concerts on Friday and Saturday nights at the Patriotic Festival in Virginia Beach. In addition, the USO Canteen will travel with the cyclists to provide lunch stops each day.

To see daily stops and events along the route, or to sign up for the Memorial Challenge, visit UnitedHealthcare Memorial Challenge.

“Ride 2 Recovery helps me heal both physically and mentally focusing on what I can do vs. what I can’t do,” said Nathan Green, U.S. Air Force (ret.), of Burke, Va. “Physical fitness post-military has been a challenge for me and through Ride 2 Recovery I can set realistic goals for myself. As a veteran who has been out of the military for three years, I have discovered the civilian world is a very different and somewhat confusing place. We miss the company of good friends, teammates who will do anything for us. In Ride 2 Recovery we get that back. We are like one big happy family pushing each other toward mutual success.”

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.  

“It’s an honor to support Ride 2 Recovery and its work for the physical, mental and emotional rehabilitation of the men and women who have sacrificed their health in service to our country,” said James P. Cronin, Jr., president and CEO, UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company. “Ride 2 Recovery is making a critical difference in helping these veterans in their journey to lifelong health and well-being.”

This is the fifth year that UnitedHealthcare will serve as Ride 2 Recovery's presenting sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to assist in the rehabilitation of America's injured veterans. This year, UnitedHealthcare is the presenting sponsor of six Ride 2 Recovery cycling challenges across the United States and in Normandy, France.

Ride 2 Recovery is one of many ways UnitedHealth Group supports veterans and their families. UnitedHealth Group is a member of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of major U.S. corporations that share the goal of hiring 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020, a goal that has already been exceeded. UnitedHealth Group partners with a variety of organizations to help source military and veteran candidates such as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, RecruitMilitary and the Wounded Warrior Project. 

Last year, UnitedHealthcare became the managed care support contractor for the West Region of the U.S. Defense Department’s TRICARE program, serving nearly 2.9 million military service members, retirees and their families in 21 states.

“In the UnitedHealthcare Challenge Series, about 60 percent of the participating injured veterans come through our feeder program, Project HERO,” said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery. “There are 43 Project HERO programs at military bases and VA facilities across the country. Our medical personnel and R2R onsite coordinators help prepare these healing heroes for the week-long challenge of riding a bike hundreds of miles. For these men and women, cycling becomes a life-changing addition to their physical and mental rehabilitation.”

About Ride 2 Recovery
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 mental challenges. Ride 2 Recovery benefits military mental and physical rehabilitation programs that feature cycling as the core activity. Bikes are often custom-fitted to the physical needs of each rider. There are 43 Ride 2 Recovery Project HERO programs at military installations and VA facilities that provide training, fitting and bikes to prepare riders for the long-distance Challenges.

About UnitedHealthcare
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 more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 45 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.

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