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More than a quick jaunt on the trail

The pandemic has prompted more of us to venture outdoors to counteract long periods of being stuck at home. Hitting the trails has been a particularly popular pastime.

That’s certainly the case for a Waterloo Region couple – Ankur Gupta and Garima Verma – who are turning their enjoyment of cycling into a fundraiser for the Goderich to Guelph (G2G) Rail Trail that they frequently use.

What initially started as a challenge for the couple quickly turned into a fundraiser for G2G and the SickKids Foundation’s Tech4SickKids initiative, with a goal of raising $2,000 for each cause.

“We wanted to sort of do a challenge for ourselves, so we planned a 200-kilometre bike ride just for a challenge or an adventure. Then we just realized that it might make more sense to do it as a fundraiser, because I have been sort of involved with Kawasaki disease, I was on the board for them so I have done a bunch of fundraising in the past, but I haven’t done anything just by doing an event on my own,” said Gupta.

The ride will start in Elmira on April 24, and take them 100 kilometres out towards Goderich, before bringing them back and ending the next day. Gupta estimates it will take about 20 hours to complete as the couple has been training recently for their trip.

“Last weekend we did a 36-kilometre bike ride… in the evening we are either running or we are sort of doing like 10 to 12 (kilometres), and then on the weekends we would sort of do a big one like last weekend we did 36 [kilometres]. This weekend we might try 50 [kilometres], so we sort of want to continue on that path, just sort of continue training until obviously [we] reach [April 24].”

With the event still a few weeks away and training well under way, Gupta says he and Garima are discussing what will happen if the weather does not cooperate on the weekend the trip is supposed to take place.

“We have discussed that, my wife and I. I’m generally a very optimistic person, so I am thinking that we will be OK weather-wise. But let’s suppose, if it just doesn’t make sense or if it’s supposed to rain for eight hours, then we might have to push it like one week further. But so far, we still plan to do it those days only,” he added.

The fundraising ride will only see Gupta and his wife take part in the ride; however, he knows that many people use the G2G trail and some may want to safely join in parts of their ride. He says they are not openly inviting people to join them, but if those looking to get out the weekend of April 24 happen to be on the trail, they would be welcome to safely join in.

Chloe Klopp, executive coordinator with G2G, says they are very eager to host the couple along the trail for their ride and are extremely happy that they will receive funding from the event.

“It’s absolutely incredible. These are the kinds of activities that we are obviously so happy to host and be a part of. We want to help individuals accomplish their goals because the G2G really is a place where you can set goals and you can complete them,” said Klopp. “To be included in this fundraiser goal is definitely something that we haven’t been a part of before, which is why we were extra eager to kind of help them as much as we can to really gain that momentum and get our users as well to help support their ambitions. So, it’s definitely a first that the funds are going in part towards G2G.”

Donations to either cause can be made online. Those wishing to donate to G2G can do so here, while those wanting to donate to SickKids can do so here.

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