COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In honor of Memorial Day, hundreds of runners are back in Columbus Sunday after this year's Ride and Run Across Georgia. The event is to help raise funds for the House of Heroes Chattahoochee Valley Chapter based here in Columbus.
Some of the participants returned home to Uptown Columbus from the grueling trip. John Teeples. the director of the race, was the first to return Saturday from the run.
"This is a big deal but compared to what our guys and girls do serving in the military, that's nothing," Teeples said.
This year marks the 7th annual Run for Heroes, which happens every Memorial Day Weekend. Whether they were riding or running alone or in teams, over 200 people left early Wednesday from Fort Stewart in Savannah to cross the finish line on Broadway and 11th Street in Columbus.
"You don't block off the streets and run down the road, you just run to Point A to Point B on wide open roads," Teeples said.
Runners and riders were congratulated with a big street party with music and food. Lori Hunter traveled from Birmingham, AL to participate in the run for Heroes for the first time with her relay team, Rag Dolls.
The team is made up of military spouses and this four day trip was their way of saying thank you to veterans.
"So there's eight girls on the team. Each leg was a little different and each runner had different mileage ranging from 27 to 37 miles," Hunter said.
The money raised from House of Heroes will help to provide home repairs and improvements to military and public service veterans.
"Basically we can work on 20 extra houses each year, or spend a little more money on one project," said Susan Wood, House of Heroes Executive director.
"Simple things like building a handicapped ramp, fixing the roof for leaks, getting the door to close, just those kinds of things," Teeples said.
And to continue there mission of helping others, House of Heroes hopes to reach the targeted goal of $150,000.
The first-place finishers are as follows:
- First place individual runner: John Teeples
- First place individual biker: Jean Pierre Simoneau
- First place overall relay team: RAGS
- First place military/public safety relay team: 198th Infantry Brigade
- First place women's relay: Stroller Strong Moms
- First place civilian team: Stroller Strong Moms
- First place overall bike relay: Team Backbone
- First place women's bike team: Sassy Peddlers
So far, $120,000 has been raised, and its not too late to donate. You can go to Run for the Heroes to make a donation to the organization.