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2017 Empire State Rider: Alan Kurtz

From Running to Cycling: Meet 2017 Rider Alan Kurtz

Alan is coming all the way from his hometown in Florida to take part in the Empire State Ride. Learn why he decided to make the trip north — and what he’s most looking forward to about the seven-day adventure.

How did you find out about the Empire State Ride?

I saw a “suggested page” show up on Facebook. I’m not sure why, but I am so glad it did!

What inspired you to sign up?

I finally found a challenging ride that supports cancer research. I lost my father to cancer 33 years ago, and just lost my mother-in-law in April 2016. I am doing this to honor both of their legacies.

What is your history as a cyclist?

I completed eight marathons, including the Boston Marathon, and was training for my ninth when I blew out my hip during a training run. After having arthroscopic surgery in 2002 to correct the torn labrum and cartilage damage, I took up cycling as a form of physical therapy. I could never get back to the level of running I was accustomed to, but I got hooked on cycling.

Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?

I am a 13-year veteran of the Bike MS: Breakaway to Key Largo, a two-day, 150-mile ride. I have not done anything to the extent of a seven-day ride of this distance and with these hills! South Florida is too flat!

How are you fundraising for the ride?

I will be sending emails and letters to prior supporters of my MS rides. I will also be supported by my own personal donations and company matching of my donations.

What do you hope to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ride?

First and foremost, I hope to raise much needed funds to help push cancer research further! Secondly, I hope to just be able to complete the ride and at the end, look upwards and say to my dad and mother-in-law, “thank you for pulling me to the finish!”

What are you most looking forward to about the ride?

From what I have read on Facebook and on the Empire State Ride website, the ride is not only about beautiful scenery and a great challenge, but it is about becoming family with my fellow riders who have the same hope and goal in mind — to help put an end to this terrible disease. I am looking forward to meeting new friends and knowing that I have helped make a difference in the lives of those suffering from cancer.

2017 Empire State Rider: Janice Hetrick

“Cancer will never control me!”

Janice is a registered nurse from Lancaster, New York who has a very personal connection to cancer. Learn how she found out about the Empire State Ride and why she made the decision to join this summer’s seven-day adventure across New York State.

How did you find out about the Empire State Ride?

I found out about the Empire State Ride last year when my trainer was talking about it. My girlfriend, Stephanie, and I were talking about our bucket lists for this year. When she said, “why not?” I didn’t have an excuse for not doing it.

What inspired you to sign up?

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2012. At the time, my relatives and I decided to run the Dirty Girl Mud Run. She cheered for us under her umbrella, surrounded by rain, wind and thunder. Her smile and tears at the finish line were enough for me. I did over 44 events in her honor.
In June 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The night before my double mastectomy, I rappelled the Niagara Casino. One week after surgery, I completed the Tough Mudder Mud Run. Five days after 33 radiation treatments, I completed a marathon. To date, I have completed over 150 events, including include 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, a marathon, and mud runs.

What is your history as a cyclist? Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?

This will be the first week-long ride I have done, but I have done other shorter rides.
I belong to the Slow Roll of Buffalo. We do a 10-13 mile bike ride every Monday. I did a triathlon last year in which we kayaked, biked, and ran. I practiced 15-20 miles daily preparing for it. This past year, I also did a fun 40-mile “Fire & Ice Cream Ride” through Buffalo, where we stopped at fire stations for ice cream breaks.

How are you fundraising for the ride?

My main fundraiser is a Chinese auction on April 29 from 2-5 p.m. at Fit Method Studio, located at 172 Robinson Street in North Tonawanda. I’ve mailed flyers to hundreds of companies for the event and am hanging them up at work, my gym, and local businesses, and am sharing the event on Facebook.

What do you hope to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ride?

I am dedicating the Empire State Ride to three of my friends still fighting from cancer. I have met them along my journey. In November, after 17 months of fighting, I am cancer free. The only thing I know to do is pay it forward. So I am paying it forward by raising funds for cancer research and dedicating the ride to my friends.

What are you most looking forward to most on the ride?

I am looking forward to meeting new friends, gaining friendships, and completing the ride. When I was doing the Tough Mudder after surgery, I was determined to complete it, no matter what it took. The same goes for this event. Cancer will never control me!

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